XML Information Set Requirements, W3C Note 18-February-1999

Ralph Ferris ralph at fsc.fujitsu.com
Mon Feb 22 03:03:00 GMT 1999

At 08:49 AM 2/20/99 -0500, Simon St.Laurent wrote:

>The delays in tools
>for managing, creating, linking, and presenting XML documents have left XML
>without very much to do for documents - presenting unlinked documents in
>beta viewers isn't especially exciting, and so far XML hasn't made much of
>a dent on its original claim to be 'SGML for the Web'.

Some of us have been acutely aware of this issue for quite a while. My
recent post on xlxp-dev, which I quote relevant parts of below, was
intended as a reminder that some people are still very much at work in this
area. A question to ask though, is why haven't we seen more of the tools
required to bring SGML to the Web? To answer it, reflect on the parade of
"standards" and "specifications" developed over the past 10 years to view
or print a document. Let's see:
- ISO began work on DSSSL back in the late '80s/early '90s.
- DSSSL was taking too long, so the U.S. DoD developed "Formatted Output
Specification Instances" (FOSIs), as a "stop gap." 
- FOSI's are supported by ArborText. But FOSIs are pretty complex, so
SoftQuad developed a stylesheet specification of its own when it came out
with Panorama.
- ISO finally made DSSSL a standard in 1996.
- We (Fujitsu) brought out HyBrick, which supports DSSSL (or DSSSL-Online
to be more exact), at the end of that same year.
- A year later we were being asked, "when are you going to support XSL?"
(Answer: When it stops moving and we think we need to.)
And how are documents actually distributed? Even by the W3C working groups
on XML? In HTML ... sometimes with CSS stylesheets. Any wonder then that we
haven't seen more of "SGML/XML on the Web"?

Now for a more optimistic note, the following is from my post of last week
on xlxp-dev:

I've put some files with XLink/XPointer declarations in them up on
the HyBrick Web site at http://www.fsc.fujitsu.com/hybrick/. These files
are intended to be accessed over the Web.

In the original announcement of HyBrick V0.80, I down played HyBrick's Web
capabilities. That's because this version - the one that's currently
available - does not support proxy servers. So file retrieval over the Web
using HyBrick is at the moment problematic. If your network access
environment allows you to though, you can see XLink and XPointer at work
over the Web by downloading HyBrick and pointing it at:


HyBrick doesn't currently have a download progress indicator. If something
is happening though, you'll see the status message "Parsing and
FOT-Building" in the window frame.

To repeat, HyBrick does not currently support proxy servers, so this may
not work from your location. Work is now going on to address this issue and
to make HyBrick technology more available in general.

Best regards,

Ralph E. Ferris
Fujitsu Software Corporation

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