Re: Default XSL stylesheet for XHTML documents

On Tue, 3 Oct 2000, Chris Lilley wrote:
>>> I agree. Unless of course one is permitted to transform the input XML
>>> to some other XML, before styling it with CSS.
>> Why on earth would one NOT be permitted to transform XML into some other
>> XML before styling it with CSS?
> Its called rhetoric, Ian ;-)

Phew :-)

>> XSLT is great! In fact XSLT is absolutely *essential* to styling pure
>> structural XML using CSS!
> No, it isn't essentiual. Its a transformation tool, byut so is awk, or
> Perl, or server-side Java DOM servlets, or any number of things.

Ok, a transformation tool is absolutely essential.

>> I have *nothing* against transformations.
> Exactly. Well actually, I do have something against client-side
> transformations in that the resulting thing is not a resource - it has
> no address, no URL, no addressability.

Heh. I _prefer_ client-side transformations, for exactly the same reasons,
plus the fact that I would like (as the reader of the data) to have a word
in how to the data is presented.

> I understand. This is not news to me. I don't think the
> batch-orientation makes for good styling for interaction. But it makes
> fine sense for print. And I don't have a problem with my browser
> fetching an XSL stylesheet and executing it to make a PDF file or
> whatever when I hit the print button.

I agree, and that isn't what I have against XSL:FOs. What I have against
XSL:FOs is that it is possible to have 'native' XSL:FO documents, indeed
the specification is geared towards exactly this!

>> No, the important thing is the user, and accessibility. How do XSL:FOs
>> help blind people?
> How does the print stream in your print queue help blind people?

Sorry, I badly phrased that sentence. Let me try again:

How do XSL:FO documents help blind people?

The question is similar to 'how do PDF documents help blind people'. 

Or GIF pictures that depict only text.

>> XSL:FOs are, IMHO, a serious risk to a significant minority of the
>> population.
> No, server-side styling is what poses that risk. Its possible to pose
> exactly the same risk using CSS (whether the CSS is rendered client side or
> server side). Just convert all of your rich XML into a flat XML tree with
> one element called foo and an id on each element and a style sheet that
> sets the size, color etc of each element.

Absolutely -- it is possible to abuse CSS because CSS is flexible. But CSS
is easier to use as a way to decorate a semantically rich tree.

XSL:FOs are designed from the ground up as an XML tree with inline style!

> Your entire argument is predicated on the conversion being done on the
> server.

My main argument is based on the predicate that there is no need for a
conversion, since you can write native XSL:FO documents. Indeed it would
not surprise me in the least to see word processors output pure XSL:FO
documents as soon as there is an XSL:FO capable web browser on the market,
and immediately authors will stop even giving the impression of attempting
to promote and care about accessibility.

> As to how that is different from the current situation, where all
> sorts of rich information is converted to crap HTML on the server, its
> difficult to see.

There is very little difference, that is what scares me so much!!! Have
you tried browsing these sites using, say, Lynx? Or an aural browser? It
is not a pleasant experience!

It is vital that even without a CSS or XSLT->XSL:FO stylesheet, the
document still be usable using the UA stylesheet on any media.

XSL:FO documents do not allow that. Documents that use well known
semantic-full vocabularies (optionally with a DOM decoration language such
as CSS) do.

>> And certainly not alone. Documents should always be published either in
>> well known semantic-full vocabularies (XHTML, MathML, even SVG to some
>> extent) 
> Uhm, in what way is XHTML 'semantic'.

Headers, paragraphs, citations, quotes, variables, sample code,
definitions, lists -- they are all mark-up-able without even suggesting a
formatting style.

Ian Hickson                                     )\     _. - ._.)       fL
Netscape, Standards Compliance QA              /. `- '  (  `--'
+1 650 937 6593                                `- , ) -  > ) \ _________________________  (.' \) (.' -' __________

Received on Monday, 2 October 2000 18:41:26 UTC