W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-sgml-wg@w3.org > November 1996

CSS vs. DSSSL-O

From: <papresco@calum.csclub.uwaterloo.ca>
Date: Sat, 23 Nov 1996 17:23:29 -0500
Message-Id: <1.5.4.32.19961123222329.00a3fd80@csclub.uwaterloo.ca>
To: Tim Bray <tbray@textuality.com>, w3c-sgml-wg@w3.org
At 09:51 PM 11/22/96 -0800, Tim Bray wrote:
>Reasons: CSS is awfully hard to fight at the moment, since
>both Netscape and Microsoft are working on it like mad, and potentially
>very vulnerable in a few months time if the design fails under pressure,
>as some of us suspect it will.  

Is there a way to avoid these notation wars? I'm wondering if, at the very
least, we can sufficiently influence the concepts in the CSS-layout
specification (which is still very much under development) so that they
"align" with those of DSSSL-O.

Perhaps we could attack through Java. It sounds bizarre, but right now Java
is so heavily hyped that Java-anything is considered good. Ergo Netscape has
declared "JavaScript Stylesheets". JavaScript is evil voodoo, but Java is
actually not half bad. I am envisioning something we could call "Java
stylesheets". It would be a DSSSL-like transformation that works on the
source object and builds a screen display. The style sheet would be
delivered as Java byte codes. The byte codes would have to have access to a
much more powerful display layout API than they do now (fonts, layout,
etc...much like DSSSL flow objects).

Now there are a few different groups working on Scheme->Java, so we could
deliver our DSSSL script as Java bytecodes and nobody would be the wiser. A
war would have been averted.

Principles:

 a) Scheme has a stigma (though I *really* like it, I can imagine Marc
Andreesen snickering)
 b) DSSSL will have a scheme-stigma.
 c) DSSSL without scheme is, in my opinion, underpowered, just as CSS is
underpowered.
 d) Java bytecodes put everyone on fairly level ground.
 e) Java interpreters are already widely deployed and getting more and more
efficient.
 e) maybe once the document UI is controlled in Java there are some
interesting interactive things we can do (expandable table of contents, for
instance)

Once Java-style sheets are implemented, CSS, DSSSL-O and full DSSSL could
all be built on top of them, either by compilation *to* Java byte codes, or
by interpretation *by* Java bytecodes.

<META-COMMENT>Perhaps it is too early in our understanding of online style
sheets to choose *any* standardized style sheet syntax. Look at the
complexity of DSSSL-Print. It is only after *centuries* of typographic
development that we knew what the right flow objects and characteristics to
provide were.</>

 Paul Prescod
---
Boycott Shell Oil worldwide!  http://www.web.apc.org/embargo/shell.htm    

"Shell is here on trial and it is as well that it is represented by counsel
said to be holding a watching brief."..."The ecological war that the Company
has waged in the Delta will be called to question sooner than later." -Ken
Saro-Wiwa to the tribunal that later executed him.
http://www.gem.co.za/ELA/ken.html
Received on Saturday, 23 November 1996 17:21:30 EST

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