pre newbie question

Chris Lilley chris at
Mon Apr 19 23:41:47 BST 1999

"Buss, Jason A" wrote:
> Hi Bruce.
> As far as I know, The release of MSIE5 should have this file already.  The
> reason that you are asked to transform the XML to HTML is because the only
> way (that I know of) to display XML natively in IE5 is using CSS, and there
> have been some issues regarding the support of CSS in IE5. 

What "issues", compared to (for example) the issues of using XSL FOs
(not existent in IE5)?

Displaying XML by converting it to HTML and then displaying that in the
browser is exposing exactly the same issues, because the same CSS-based
rendering engine is being used in both cases. Except that with XML, you
know what the parse tree is and can construct your selectors
accordingly; wheras with HTML, you have little idea what the parse tree

And, of course, with HTML there are many more "gotchas" in the form of
hard-coded renderings of particular elements.

> They have put a
> great deal of effort into using XSL with IE5 (for some reason).  So you will
> probably be safer using XSL to transform XML to HTML as opposed to using XML
> with CSS.  It's just one of those things. 

It would be good to see this argument backed up with examples. 

> The browsers are in the early
> stages of adopting XML so there will be some working around and what have
> you until some of the working drafts really become recommendations,

Um, XML 1.0 is a recommendation. So is CSS2.

>  and the
> browser technology catches up with the standards. 

Well, that part is certainly true

> Look for Mozilla in about
> 6 months.  There are a great number of anticipated XML features promised for
> the next release.

Right, such as using CSS2 with XML. You can see some of that now, with
the DocZilla browser, which uses Citec's XML and SGML parsing together
with Mozillas NGLayout engine.

To answer the original question:

a) construct your XML document, hello.xml

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<foo>Hello World!</foo>

b) construct your stylesheet, basic.css

foo { display: block; margin: 10%; 
      background: white; color: black; 
      font: 18pt/20pt Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif }

c) link the stylesheet to the XML document

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<?xml-stylesheet type="text/css" href="basic.css"?>
<foo>Hello World!</foo>

d) display in browser. Forget about coding for specific browsers,
particular .exe or dll files, and so on. Distinguish between the XML
specification, on the one hand, and particular implementations, on the

XML is a specification, not a product.


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