Re: SGML macros using DSSSL expressions

Harold A. Driscoll (harold@driscoll.chi.il.us)
Wed, 28 Feb 1996 21:33:16 +0000


Message-Id: <2.2.16.19960228213316.578f7382@pop.interaccess.com>
Date: Wed, 28 Feb 1996 21:33:16 +0000
To: Erik Aronesty <erik@inch.com>
From: "Harold A. Driscoll" <harold@driscoll.chi.il.us>
Subject: Re: SGML macros using DSSSL expressions
Cc: connolly@beach.w3.org, www-html@w3.org

At 02:18 25/2/96 -0500, Erik Aronesty wrote:
>personally i feel that the syntax of HTML was a key to the success 
>of the web and that the deviation into c-style syntax is the work of 
>self serving programmers who are paid too well to have the language 
>remain simple.

We certainly don't want HTML syntax to run helter-skelter, that much I agree
with you.

I'm finding myself writing a preprocessor script (AWK or Perl) for quite a
few things I do on the Web. It sure would be nice to have some of that built
into the language. Most of these are not the "work of self serving
programmers" situations, either.

For example, if I want to keep a list of HTML Internet Drafts, I'd like to
code something like this (excuse c++ syntax, but it is familiar to many):

&draft( draft-ietf-html-tables-06.txt, HTML Tables )
&draft( draft-ietf-html-style-01.txt, HTML and Style Sheets )
&draft( draft-ietf-html-i18n-03.txt, Internationalization of the HyperText
Markup Language )

And have it expand into something like this (for first line):

<DT>HTML Tables</DT>
<DD><A
HREF="ftp://ds.internic.net/internet-drafts/draft-ietf-html-tables-06.txt">
<CODE>&lt;draft-ietf-html-tables-06.txt&gt;</CODE></A></DD>

Not only is this much easier to maintain, but there is far less likelyhood
of a typo sneaking by (such as name displayed correctly and anchor href
wrong, or the other way around). Also, an update to the next version only
needs to be made in one place, not two.

With only a modest complication in the "macro" definition for this example,
and I might be able to change the expansion to accomodate hyperlinks to
differing mirrors.

>microsofts use of font face and size...along with other simple tags 
>are enough for 95% of the people.  We should focus on what the people 
>and the industries want.

My reading of HTML-related mailing lists comes to a very different
impression. Font color and control of indents are just two things I've seen
table-pounding for just today. But that is a different issue, one addressed
by style sheets and the STYLE= attribute.

/Harold
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Harold A. Driscoll                       mailto:harold@driscoll.chi.il.us
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