Re: CSS & DSSSL together (Was: Re: <insert> and external entity references)

Murray Altheim (
Wed, 20 Mar 1996 14:59:33 -0400

Message-Id: <v02110106ad75fc8eb0c4@[]>
Date: Wed, 20 Mar 1996 14:59:33 -0400
From: (Murray Altheim)
Subject: Re: CSS & DSSSL together (Was: Re: <insert> and external entity references)

Jay Bazuzi <> writes:
>I've seen on the W3C web site that "the industry" has committed to
>support CSS.  This sounds great -- the need for style sheets on the
>Web is dire.  However, DSSSL allows an advanced UA to present any SGML
>document (with DTD & DSSSL sheet) to the user in an appropriate
>fasion.  I think that entry-level users are more likely to embrace
>CSS's simplicity that DSSSL's power and flexibility.

There are several "industries" represented on the Web, plus many other
groups, including small businesses, government, military, industry, etc.
These also break into factions. Anyone who speaks of millions of downloaded
free browsers as representing the "industry" of Web vendors is ignoring the
paying part of the market. For example, the publishing industry demanded
DSSSL and will probably use DSSSL, as its needs are greater than the
relative simplicity of CSS. A substantial part of Spyglass' customers are
directing their browsers for use in Fortune 500 businesses.

>I'm imagining a tool which uses a style sheet mechanism on general
>SGML, and would like it to be useful for HTML Web authors.  Hence a
>dilemma of which style sheet to use.  It occurs to me that the tool
>could use DSSSL to interpret the document symatically (figure out an
>IMG), and use CSS to specify presentation preferences.  If the edited
>document was HTML and was served on the web, the UA would then use the
>CSS.  UA's which only want to do HTML wouldn't need DSSSL support and
>users of my tool could use full SGML.
>What do you folks think?

DSSSL and CSS are still in the process of converging. Where the authors of
CSS are adding features to CSS, DSSSL is being trimmed to become DSSSL
Online (or simply DSSSL-O). Proponents of DSSSL that I know aren't
advocating the full DSSSL standard for HTML, as it was designed for a much
more complicated purpose. What was once discussed as DSSSL Lite is now
DSSSL Online.

Information on DSSSL is available from the author's (James Clark's) site at

Information on the DSSSL Online draft (completed in Dec.'95 by Jon Bosak)
is available from

On talking with Hakon Lie in Boston, he didn't see any reason why DSSSL-O
and CSS couldn't peacefully coexist. I don't either.


     Murray Altheim, Program Manager
     Spyglass, Inc., Cambridge, Massachusetts
     email: <>
     http:  <>