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Re: DSSSL

From: <lee@sq.com>
Date: Sun, 20 Apr 97 00:56:51 EDT
Message-Id: <9704200456.AA11305@sqrex.sq.com>
To: www-style@w3.org
[I deleted www-html from this reply -- Lee]

> David Perrell wrote:
> BTW, why no 'rotation-axis' and 'rotation-angle' classes [in DSSSl]?

Early on, the goal of SGML was to be a complete typesetting language.
(it wasn't called SGML then, but no matter)

Later, the hard parts were split off into a separate standard, DSSSL, and
SGML was published with no built-in style or other meaning.  This is
excellent, as it turns out, as now you can represent things ranging
from HTML documents through to fragments of writing found on Greek
pottery sherds through to the optimised parse tree output by a C++
compiler.

DSSSL started with an implicit mandate to do everything one could
imagine ever formatting.  An early draft let you specify hyphenation
and line breaking and justification algorithms explicitly using a
rather complex SGML-based syntax.

In order to get the standard published before that flock of pigs
flies all the way to the moon, it was cut way back.  The assumption now
is that a DSSSL formatter is actually driving a back-end such as TeX
or MS Word or SoftQuad troff or Xyvision Publisher, or whatever.

The capabilities built in are somewhat less flashy than one might want.
But DSSSL is extensible, so there has already been a proposal by
Anders Burgland for graphic runarounds, and I think by James Clark
for drop caps, and if you want to add rotation properties that aren't
there, go ahead.  There's no background-lighting-direction either,
but on the other hand DSSSL can do pretty complex autonumbering.

There were a number of SGML browsers using pre-DSSSL style sheets;
SoftQuad Explorer and Panorama used one that is much less powerful,
although generally more powerful than CSS1.  We include a style sheet
that I did for Yuri at the Darmstadt WWW conference -- it's for HTML 2
or 2.1 or something, but it makes <DIVn> be a table in two columns, and
puts the <Hn> in the left column and the text in the right column.

It's actually quite fun :-)

Lee

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Received on Sunday, 20 April 1997 00:57:00 GMT

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