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Re: xsl-fo first anniversary

From: W. Eliot Kimber <eliot@isogen.com>
Date: Fri, 18 Oct 2002 15:57:56 -0500
Message-ID: <3DB075D4.3050408@isogen.com>
To: www-xsl-fo@w3.org

Dave Pawson wrote:
> Sharon/Eliot, What has been the sequence over twenty years please?
> I'm guessing fosi, dsssl, xsl-fo. Anything prior to that please?

Sharon's memory is more reliable than mine, but here's my understanding 
of the history:

1960's: gencode projects start as a way to standardize typesetting 
codes. Basic ideas of generalized markup for documents start to form

   - Goldfarb, Moscher(? sorry, don't have SGML Handbook to hand), and 
Laurie develop GML at IBM in order to satisfy requirements of legal 
document search and retrieval. GML implemented on top of IBM's Document 
Composition Facility (DCF).
   - Various large publishers, such as Boeing (where Sharon worked) and 
the U.S. government start using GML to solve large-scale publishing 
problems. Quickly realize the limitation of having markup language bound 
too tightly to underlying typesetting language.
   - TeX is developed. LaTex developed--similar to GML in that it is a 
more semantic macro language on top of a low-level formatting language 
(not sure of the exact timing here).

   - SGML standard developed, driven both by GML and other industry 
efforts. Standard published in 1986.
   - DSSSL standard work started, Sharon Adler editor and driving force
   - HyTime standard work started. Charles Goldfarb editor and driving force
   - FOSI spec developed to meet U.S. DoD requirements (not sure of 
exact timing here). Implemented by Datalogics and Arbortext.
   - Desktop publishing systems for Mac and PCs developed. Cost of 
creating heavily designed publications drops. Cost of developing 
technical manuals goes up because of time spent by tech writers tweaking 
   - Word processing systems for Mac and PCs developed. People forget 
everything they knew about generalized document development. Microsoft 
takes ownership of 90% of world's documents.
   - Big publishers continue to embrace GML and SGML

Early 1990's:

   - IBM starts developing SGML replacement for it's GML application 
BookMaster (used for 90% of IBM's publications).
   - HyTime standard published.
   - SGML use continues to expand, but almost exclusively for 
large-scale applications in big enterprises, in large part due to high 
start-up costs.
   - EBT's DynaText makes it practical and affordable to use SGML for 
direct online delivery of SGML documents. Suddenly the value of SGML 
documents goes way up as enterprises realize the value of generalized 
markup. Shortcomings of print-only DTP-based technical documents becomes 

1992: World Wide Web invented. Nobody gets it.

1994: Mosaic 2.0 Web browser released. Supports graphics in Web pages. 
Suddenly everyone gets it (or starts to).

Mid 90's: CSS developed as a way to do client-side styling of HTML docs.


- HyTime and DSSSL camps realize they must come to agreement on the 
fundamental data model for SGML documents. Groves invented to solve this 

- DSSSL standard published. James Clark releases Jade DSSSL implementation.

- John Bosak starts "SGML on the Web" activity with the express goal of 
enabling high-quality rendering of SGML documents in Web browsers.


   - HyTime standard V2 (now with groves) published.
   - XML 1.0 published.
   - Works start on XSL. Immediately gets diverted to task of generating 
HTML from XML.

   - XSL FO recommendation published. Four implementations availble: 
FOP, XEP, XSL Formatter, and Epic (partial implementation)


   - XEP, XSL Formatter, Epic all upgraded to implement almost all FO 
features and provide some support for missing FO features
   - XSL FO reaches 1-year anniversary


W. Eliot Kimber, eliot@isogen.com
Consultant, ISOGEN International

1016 La Posada Dr., Suite 240
Austin, TX  78752 Phone: 512.656.4139
Received on Friday, 18 October 2002 16:57:25 UTC

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