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

Re: CSS vs. DSSSL-O

From: Jon Bosak <bosak@atlantic-83.Eng.Sun.COM>
Date: Mon, 25 Nov 1996 06:49:12 -0800
Message-Id: <199611251449.GAA00660@boethius.eng.sun.com>
To: papresco@calum.csclub.uwaterloo.ca
CC: tbray@textuality.com, w3c-sgml-wg@w3.org
[Paul Prescod:]

| 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).

[... further details of this plan omitted ...]

Personally, I think that the only strategy that makes sense here is
the full frontal attack: enable dsssl-o processing through plug-ins or
applets and insist that real XML browsers are browsers with dsssl-o
capabilities.  Remember, we have available a very powerful free DSSSL
engine (Jade -- see http://www.jclark.com/jade/) designed to be used
for exactly this purpose.  It's entirely possible to have not just one
but several dsssl-enabled browsers working by WWW6 if people with the
requisite Windows rendering experience pick up this ball and run with
it.  If "XML" becomes just "XML with CSS" it will be because we failed
to seize this opportunity while it was open to us.

I am willing to serve as a coordination point for efforts to develop
dsssl-o plug-ins or applets for demonstration at WWW6 in April.  If
you are working on such a thing and think that you have a reasonable
chance for success in an April time frame, please let me know and I
will arrange with the conference organizers for a demo session.

There is a genuine possibility here for someone with the right
combination of nerve and programming skill to create another
breakthrough like Mosaic.  If you are working on something and don't
want to blow your cover until an April rollout, you can contact me
privately and I will keep your work confidential until the conference.

Jon

----------------------------------------------------------------------
 Jon Bosak, Online Information Technology Architect, Sun Microsystems
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 2550 Garcia Ave., MPK17-101,           |  Best is he that inuents,
 Mountain View, California 94043        |  the next he that followes
 Davenport Group::SGML Open::ANSI X3V1  |  forth and eekes out a good
 ::ISO/IEC JTC1/SC18/WG8::W3C SGML ERB  |  inuention.
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Received on Monday, 25 November 1996 09:51:58 EST

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