Behavior and Semantics
peter at ursus.demon.co.uk
Fri Jun 5 08:44:10 BST 1998
At 07:06 05/06/98, Peter Murray-Rust wrote:
>[from David Durand]
>> >Machines need other ways of interpreting XML data and so - for example
>> >I send someone a molecule in XML a stylesheet isn't much help. You have to
>> >have a program. So long as we all agree on the DTD and the semantics and
>> >the ontology (tough) it doesn't matter what program we use. Unfortunately
>> >much chemical ontology is hardcoded into programs.
>> This is the point on which you are incorrect. The term stylesheet is
>> perhaps confusing, since it implies a formatting specification, but
>> then the notion, like most of the notions in XML, comes from the print
>> (and online) publishing world.
>> XML stylesheets will have a hook to a fully general scripting
>> language. That means that it will be possible to have stylesheets that
>> access special browser caspabilities, Java code, or whatever. It's
>> important that this be done via style sheets, since that's the
>> standard mechanism, and since users will be able to change stylesheets
>> if they need to interpret the data differently. For instance, you
>> might supply a molecule with a "display 3D model" style, while I want
>> to "view" it by using my molecular synthesis generation software.
>> Both of us are accomodated by XML, and both are served by the use of
>> a single method of attaching processing semantics to a document.
I agree with your analysis. I am probably using the word 'stylesheet' to
mean 'implementations of XSL'. My concern has been how to implement
functionality using the scripting language. This may become clearer when
XSL next version comes out. When it was originally released, however it
seemed that there was not likely to be support for Java programs, nor for
any document transformation nor for many interactive operations.
I agree that the stylesheet lets you locate an element-in-context and then
apply some script to it. My concern was (and perhaps is) that XSL isn't
going to give me much help unless I'm interested in rendering text - I hope
I'm wrong about that.
At present I need to:
- locate <CML:MOL> in a document
- run some code to process it or apply behaviour.
I can see that the stylesheet may help me with the former, but I can't see
yet that it has much to offer for the latter - other than saying "you can
run some code here on this element" (maybe by calling Java from ECMAScript)
- which is essentially what I had been saying.
Peter Murray-Rust, Director Virtual School of Molecular Sciences, domestic
VSMS http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/vsms, Virtual Hyperglossary
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