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

[Paul Prescod:]

| Jon Bosak wrote:
| > This is the key to understanding how DSSSL style editors will get
| > implemented.  In PostScript, all halfway decent tools create files
| > that any PostScript output device will render correctly.  Similarly,
| > any conformant DSSSL application will be able to handle a DSSSL
| > stylesheet correctly, regardless of the tool used to create the
| > stylesheet.  In both cases, the thing that is produced is a program
| > (one procedural, the other functional), and in both cases, it is
| > unreasonable to expect that documents or stylesheets will be freely
| > interchangeable among editing tools; the guaranteed interchangeability
| > is among different output processes.
| I don't fully agree, Jon.
| Once we have figured out the 95% of stylesheet features that 95% of all
| people need (i.e. more than CSS but substantially less than "anything 
| you want to do"), we can define an editable, interchangable DSSSL subset 
| and even a DSSSL class library. In fact, simply by defining more flow
| objects to handle the cases people need handled, we can make actual
| programming completely unnecessary for the same set of style features that
| will be available in "CSS 98".
[plus other good stuff]

Quite a few knowledgeable people in the DSSSL community agree with
Paul's position.  If you limit the scope of the application to what
reasonable users want to do with a stylesheet, then I agree that
interoperable editors are certainly possible.  I just don't like the
requirement that I have to be reasonable.

I like to test strategies like DSSSL by taking the most pessimistic
position and asking whether the idea still works for me.  I'm saying
that for the large-scale applications that I have in mind, DSSSL does
what I want even if I *never* have the ability to interchange
stylesheets between stylesheet editors.

I find this very comforting because, in fact, I have never used a
stylesheet editor of any kind that let me do everything I wanted.
Either they have simply prevented me from accessing the underlying
representation, like most word processors, or I have discarded them
and worked directly on the underlying representation to get what I
wanted (as in the case of ArborText's FOSI editor and EBT's DynaText
editor).  So you may get a given set of DSSSL editors to interoperate
with each other, but I bet it's going to be a long time before you get
them to interoperate with what I will want to create by hand.

Interoperable CSS editors are possible only because CSS won't let me
do a very large set of things that I want to do.


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