XSL Debate, Leventhal responds to Stephen Deach

David Brownell david-b at pacbell.net
Wed Jun 16 17:57:07 BST 1999

"Simon St.Laurent" wrote:
> At 06:28 AM 6/16/99 -0400, Paul Prescod wrote:
> >
> >Without some client-side transformational mechanism (either XSL or the
> >DOM), CSS *discourages* the distribution of rich semantic information
> >because it requires you to dumb down your data.
> I'm afraid - in my opinion at least - that this is a gross underestimation
> of the capabilities of CSS.  While CSS does not at present provide an easy
> way to display graphics, ...

Graphics weren't even a point I heard there.

Here are two concrete examples:

	- Just seen on this list ... data found in attribute
	  values must often be displayed.  If you stick to
	  CSS1, you must often dumb down the data so that it
	  can be displayed.  CSS2 gives you an option to dumb
	  down the display to present such values before or
	  after the element to which they're attached; but
	  there's no way to access "inherited" attributes, to
	  embed them in more semantically appropriate places.

	- Using either version of CSS, all the context-based
	  linking needs to be dumbed down by making it all be
	  explicit, since CSS only deals with explicit content.

	  One of the basic roles of transformation is to make
	  the implicit become explicit:  links that are created
	  by the structure of the data. or groupings of similar
	  data.  Headings join a TOC, index entries are indexed,
	  figures and tables are listed, and so on.

Yes, it's true that CSS alone doesn't let you handle what
the HTML "<img src='...'/>" and "<a href='...'>...</a>" elements
do ... or "<table>" (till CSS2 happens) and others.  But even
for content that doesn't require those sorts of presentation,
you can see the "dumbing down" effect when you transform the
content from "semantic markup" to "XML that CSS can render".

- Dave

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