Query Languages for XML

W. Eliot Kimber eliot at isogen.com
Mon Nov 17 17:49:19 GMT 1997

At 04:20 PM 11/15/97 -0500, Paul Prescod wrote:
>Graydon Hoare wrote:
>> What would it mean to take a form
>> flow object and render it through a TeX backend? The "interactive" nature
>> is gone. What happens to a combo-box? 
>About the same as the printed rendition of a link or scroll flow object.
>It would be completely useless. Stylesheets are tied to a particular
>medium. Online stylesheets should have elements (link, input, scroll)
>that allow interactivity and print-oriented stylesheet languages should
>have elements that describe pages etc.

There are many very useful static representations of forms, not least of
which is to document the design thereof.  My first exposure to SGML was
writing a process to generate printed specifications for an online
application of several 100 (if not thousands) of interactive panels, all
created in SGML using a now-defunct language IBM developed for use in OS/2
(it may still live in CICS, I'm not sure--it was also used there for a
while).  Because the documents that defined the panels included references
to variables, described branching and control structures, and on so, I was
able to generate both pictures of the panels (using character-based
graphics, no less) and generate lots of information about the panels.  By
doing this, we eliminated the need to do screen snaps to document the
panels, which we estimated saved a minimum of two calandar weeks per rev of
the spec (that being the amount of time it would take to make the snaps and
assemble the document).

Likewise, hyperlinks can be represented in print in any number of ways
(witness the SGML handbook).  The interactivity of hyperlinks is not what
distinquishes them, it is the relationship they represent.  There are many
ways to present and make useful such relationships, of which interactive
traversal is only one (and not necessarily the most useful).


<Address HyTime=bibloc>
W. Eliot Kimber, Senior Consulting SGML Engineer
Highland Consulting, a division of ISOGEN International Corp.
2200 N. Lamar St., Suite 230, Dallas, TX 95202.  214.953.0004

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