Re: Default XSL stylesheet for XHTML documents

I've just finished quite a bit of work with XSL-FO, and it seems to 
me that it goes quite a bit beyond what CSS attempts. I can easily 
see using XSLT+XSL-FO to lay out a complete book. I can't see doing 
that with CSS. Why? Here are a few reasons:

1. Page numbers!   XSL-FO makes it straight-forward not only to 
insert the current page number but to cross-reference to numbers of 
other pages. This is essential for building tables of contents, 
indexes, cross-references, and more.

2. Footnotes and other floating objects.

3. Running headers and running footers. Every book has these. I don't 
see them in CSS.

4. More granular properties. Many CSS properties are just shorthands 
for more detailed XSL-FO properties.

5. Much better support for non right-to-left, top-to-bottom text; 
including text that mixes writing directions.

And of course there are the practical issues like the fact that 
XSL-FO lets me produce a high-quality PDF and bring it to the local 
print shop while CSS doesn't. Some of these are fixable problems, and 
some of them will likely be fixed (though I'm really curious to know 
how CSS could even begin to handle page number citations and 
cross-references) but I still expect that I'll be publishing printed 
books with XSL-FO long before I can think about doing that with CSS.

CSS may be enough for the Web, but I don't think it's enough for print.

| Elliotte Rusty Harold | | Writer/Programmer |
|                  The XML Bible (IDG Books, 1999)                   |
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Received on Monday, 2 October 2000 08:06:57 UTC