Associating DSSSL style sheets with documents

James Clark jjc at
Thu Mar 6 03:34:36 GMT 1997

At 19:37 05/03/97 -0500, Gavin Nicol wrote:
>| - a catalog entry that says unconditionally to use some DSSSL style
>|   sheet
>| - a catalog entry that associates a DSSSL style sheet with the public
>|   identifier of a DTD
>When MIME-SGML was still doing something useful, a proposal to
>add a SEMANTIC catalog entry was floated. This should be the
>preferred method, I think.

As far as I remember the SEMANTIC catalog entry proposal had several arguments:

a) the type of processing spec (DSSSL or EBT style sheets)
b) the system identifier for the processing spec
c) some sort of description you could display in a menu

I think there was something else, but I don't remember.

Requiring (c) is not apropriate for DSSSL, since DSSSL specification
documents can contain multiple separate stylesheets each with their own
description, which is specified inside the DSSSL specification document (the
DESC attribute on the style-specification form). This seems like a general
problem: different kinds of processing specification may require different
sets of arguments to invoke them.

Since vendors and users can add their own SGML Open entry types, I see no
advantage to having a general SEMANTIC entry with a type attribute, rather
than a separate entry type for each type of processing spec.

So if we are going to use a catalog entry (and I'm not yet convinced this is
the best solution) I would suggest having a simple DSSSL entry which looks like:

DSSSL spec.dsl

One complication is that a DSSSL spec is itself an SGML document, which may
require a different catalog for parsing.  This probably doesn't matter in
the context of XML, but it does in SGML: the DSSSL spec may well need a
different implied SGML declaration.  I'm not sure what the best way to
handle this is.

Of course this doesn't completely solve the problem: we now have to figure
out how to associate a catalog with an SGML document.  The latest SGML Open
draft requires (amongst other things) trying the URL/filename of the
document with any extension replaced by .soc.


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