W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-style@w3.org > February 1997

Re: DSSSL style editing (was: RE: Positioning...)

From: Mike Wexler <mwexler@Adobe.COM>
Date: Wed, 05 Feb 1997 12:54:23 -0800
Message-Id: <>
To: gtn@ebt.com (Gavin Nicol)
Cc: bosak@atlantic-83.eng.sun.com, www-style@w3.org
At 08:45 AM 2/5/97 -0500, you wrote:
>>With HTML I can create a page in Emacs post and post it to my web server.
>>Then John can download it with Netscape Gold, edit it, and post it back to
>>the web server. Then Steve can download it and edit it with PageMill and
>>it back. Then Andrea can download it, modify it with FrontPage and post it
>have you ever actually *done* this? For anything other than the most
>trivial HTML, I think oyu'd be surprised at the results!!

I have tried it and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't, but the
cases were it doesn't work are basically bugs. This isn't an intrinsically
hard problem.
Another year and I think many of editing tools will be there.

Editing an arbitrary DSSSL style sheet in one GUI based editor and passing
it on to another GUI base editor for editing seems to me like it a problem
as difficult as
solving the halting problem. Test you could build a graphical flow charting
language or state machine language, but even that will be beyond the
typical user. 

I think the power of the web (and maybe its downfall) is that ordinary
people without a lot of computer experience can create and edit content and
make it
available to the whole world. I think HTML, XML and CSS help bring more
power to
these ordinary users.

On the other hand, DSSSL is more like a power tool. If you want to do
things that are beyond the capability of CSS and your willing and able to
write programs, 
than something like DSSSL makes sense. 

>>I expect that eventually, we will be able to do the same thing with
>>HTML+CSS or even XML+CSS. 
>Perhaps. Though JavaScript, embedded styles, applets, frames, and all
>these other fun things are making it much harder to write an
>HTML-authoring tool than writing a DSSSL based one.

JavaScript I think is another power tool like DSSSL. It allows the elite to
produce things that ordinary users can't. Embedded styles and frames will
eventually either be created by powerful but relatively easy to use editor
or go by the wayside. Applets will be used by both camps. Some people will
only use applets created by
others. The will be treated more like extensions to HTML/CSS. Other people
will right there own. These are again the power users.

>>I don't think this will ever be possible with XML+DSSSL. 
>Why not? I think it is trivial technologically, though you do need a
>certain knowledge of efficient functional language implementation.
>Certainly a lot easier than support JavaScript, Java, ActiveX, and
>HTML de jour.

I think people will be able to create editor to handle HTML extensions and
pre-built extenisons done in Java, ActiveX, etc. Look at tools like
PageMill and Internet Studio which are already starting to do this. 

Are you saying that people will be able to create GUI editors for arbitrary
DSSSL style sheets that ordinary users can figure out.

>>I think this ability to for users on different platforms with
>>different software to share not only viewing of documents, but
>>editing of documents is one of the key reasons for the success of the
>>web. I would bet a large percentage of the pages posted by
>>individuals are modified versions of somebody else's pages, often
>>created with different tools. 
>I think you're wrong here, dead wrong. I think the WWW succeeded
>because it was free, easy to enter, and cool, and many new players
>enter for exactly those reasons.

Easy to enter is exactly my point. People could take an existing page, make
a few changes, post it, and they are now publishing to the world. 

>Now it just so happens that people who entered earlier are stuck with
>managing the beast, and they are finding it expensive, difficult, but
>still very cool. It will get harder to manage *unless* we have things
>like XML+DSSSL, mark my words.

I think the vast majority of pages will use more mundane languages like
HTML, XML and CSS. I think the most sophisticated site will use more
sophisticate tools including Java, DSSSL, VB-script, and ActiveX. I see no
signs that DSSSL is going
to tex the web by storm. Any more than LISP or Modula III took over from C. 

Anyway, I think we agree that sophisticated users are going to need more
sophisticated tools like XML and DSSSL. I just think that DSSSL is way
beyond the typical web publishers reach and will probably remain beyond
there reach.

By the way are there any good books on DSSSL yet?
Received on Wednesday, 5 February 1997 15:56:47 UTC

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