Re: CSS vs. DSSSL-O
| [...] I have very publicly stated support for DSSSL.
| But public announcements aside, I am looking for a technically
| compelling reason that this is the focus. IOW, if the CSS
| supporters have a case to make, they should make it. Otherwise,
| DSSSL-O is a fait accompli of a work item not a decision arrived
| at as a result of open technical debate. If by the conference
| cited, the CSS developers can also show how they would support XML
| using their approach, doesn't that strengthen XML? I don't
| know about particular XML applications (e.g, document types),
| but for some it must certainly be reasonable to use CSS. If
| that statement is technically incorrect, please tell me why.
Of course it's not technically incorrect. One of the reasons for
using XML is to enable every imaginable variety of output treatments.
You are perfectly free to use whatever output process specification
you want. FOSI, for example. But it is not the stated objective of
the group to produce a Web FOSI deliverable. It is a stated objective
of the group to produce a Web DSSSL deliverable. It has been a stated
objective since the discussions with W3C leadership that led to the
creation of the group, since the decision to form the group, since the
invitations to participate in the group, and in every public statement
of what the group is intended to do.
I have already pointed out that every version of the W3C SGML activity
statement has listed the specification of DSSSL for the Web as a key
deliverable for this activity. I will also remind the WG that most of
its members (all of you who were here from the beginning) were invited
to participate by a letter that read in part as follows:
The working group is organized into a core design team with heavy
implementor representation and a somewhat larger advisory group
consisting of people qualified to review and comment on the work as it
moves forward. The design team has been formed, and I am now in the
process of finding the right people for the advisory group.
Specifically, I am looking for people who:
1. Agree that we will need an industrial-strength counterpart to the
HTML/CSS combination for the future delivery of richly structured,
extensible data over the Internet in support of certain types of
future high-end Web applications. (This must be distinguished from
the use of SGML as an authoring/database format for the Web, which is
2. Agree that some subset of SGML combined with some subset of DSSSL
represents the best strategy for implementing the higher-level
counterpart to the combination of HTML and CSS.
3. Are qualified and willing to advise the design team by reviewing
and discussing decisions of the design team and contributing ideas and
information to the process.
The following items are expected to constitute the major activities of
the Web SGML working group:
1. Coordinate with existing efforts to define enabling standards for
the delivery of generic SGML on the Web, including:
a. The standardization of SGML fragments in SGML Open
b. The extension of catalog syntax in SGML Open
c. MIMESGML activity in the IETF
d. Efforts by vendors to establish an application profile for
2. Identify remaining areas needing standardization to enable the
use of generic SGML on the Web and construct the needed
specifications. These areas would include, but not be limited to,
a. Specification of standard Web semantics for SGML, especially
semantics for link behavior that will be treated uniformly by
future SGML Web browsers.
b. Specification of SGML and DSSSL subsets to define a
minimum level of support for Web SGML tools.
c. Specification of entity management for SGML objects on the Web.
I really don't see how it's possible to be much clearer about what we
are supposed to be doing here than I was in that letter.
There is obviously nothing to prevent CSS from being used with XML,
and there are obviously some people (at least one of whom works
closely with me!) who think that this would be a great idea. I am
strongly in favor of making the mechanism for linking particular
stylesheets with particular documents as general as possible. I am
not arguing in favor of doing anything that would make it difficult to
construct XML applications that would use CSS stylesheets. But it is
*not* a purpose of this activity to foster the use of CSS. It *is* a
purpose of this activity to foster the use of DSSSL.
If this offends anyone, it's because they haven't bothered to read the
statements of purpose that I have taken care to provide regarding this
activity. People who find the DSSSL component of the activity
unacceptable may wish to consider leaving the group after we finish
with the hypertext design phase in April. In the meantime, it's clear
that we should avoid becoming sidetracked by the discussion of
particular stylesheet methodologies until we have linking completely
specified, just as we were careful to avoid the discussion of linking
until we had the basic markup syntax specified. I was among the first
to go off the track here, for which I apologize. Any further
discussion of specific stylesheet formats should be conducted by
private mail until the time comes to deal with that subject directly.