XSL: Why?

Paul Prescod papresco at technologist.com
Wed Sep 30 23:47:24 BST 1998

John Cowan wrote:
> Well, I think XSL should probably be split into two parts (and the
> current state of the spec suggests that it has been, de facto):

There was a thread to the affect that XSL should be split in the XSL List,
and there were no dissenting voices that I can recall (apologies if I
forgot someone). On the other hand, nobody from the working group
commented (same disclaimer).

> the transformation language, which is useful in contexts having
> nothing to do with styling, and an XML encoding of CSSn, for n >= 2.

I presume that there is a reason that CSS was deemed not suitable as the
formatting model for XSL. CSS did not really have a concept of "formatting
objects". It only knew how to attach formatting semantics to existing
objects. At one point, some of the existing objects semantics had to be
already known: e.g. tables and links. I don't know if that has changed
recently. If not, CSS would need an overhaul to be sufficient for
formatting XML documents (or else you would have to merge CSS and HTML
somehow). Perhaps the formatting objects part of XSL *is* that overhaul.
 Paul Prescod  - http://itrc.uwaterloo.ca/~papresco

Bart: Dad, do I really have to brush my teeth?
Homer: No, but at least wash your mouth out with soda.

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