XSL: Why?

Simon St.Laurent simonstl at simonstl.com
Wed Sep 30 19:44:11 BST 1998

At 12:52 PM 9/30/98 -0400, Tyler Baker wrote:
>CSS more or less from my understanding is pretty much completely bound to
the web
>browser.  If you think that Netscape Navigator and Microsoft Internet
Explorer are
>the best things that will ever become of the internet for end users, then
I guess
>there is no need for XSL.  XSL I think has much more important future
>ramifications outside of the web browser arena.  It would be sad to see the
>internet stall on web browser technology as the web browser wars for the time
>being are over as little has happened from a technology standpoint that is
>innovative and creative in what we now know as the web browser.  This is
>completely understandable as neither Netscape or Microsoft has any financial
>incentive to improve their products since they both give them away for
free.  In
>other words, we get what we pay for.

CSS isn't bound to the Web browser any more than XSL is bound to the few
implementations that already exist for it.  I don't have any trouble
imagining a word processor that editing XML and used CSS to apply
formatting, nor do I have trouble seeing a page layout tool that used CSS
to create pages for many different kinds of documents.

The question remains: why are transformations necessary to styles?  The
browser has to do an internal elements->presentation transformation anyway,
so why put in the extra elements->transformation->presentation step?  There
are plenty of transformation tools that can already do transformations.
Why is this so important to presentations?

Maybe it's time to subscribe to the xsl list. (I did for a while, and
couldn't figure out why it was supposed to be interesting.)  This shouldn't
sound any dumber there than my earliest questions sounded on XML-Dev.
Still, this seems like a fairly significant XML software architecture
issue, so I was hoping to find answers here.

Simon St.Laurent
Dynamic HTML: A Primer / XML: A Primer
Cookies / Sharing Bandwidth (November)
Building XML Applications (December)

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