XSL and the semantic web

Paul Prescod paul at prescod.net
Tue Jun 22 02:51:24 BST 1999

Marc.McDonald at Design-Intelligence.com wrote:
> FO's force you to reconstruct your elements as formatting objects which lose
> all contextual information from the original (both nesting and element
> identification). In this way it is like translating to HTML (which was the
> example).

That is absolutely not true. If the transformation is done on the client
side then *no information is lost* in the transformation because the
original document is still available and can be referenced through the
result document. The result document is just a view -- it can't destroy
the original information any more than a database view could.

> Why does information have to be destroyed for presentation? It is not
> required (CSS doesn't do it). 

CSS doesn't solve the problems that XSL is required to solve and thus does
not serve as a counter-example of another approach to solving the same
problems. Please see my recent messages to Simon St. Laurent for examples.
Here's a simple one though:

I have a list of objects encoded in chronological order. I choose to
display them in alphabetic order. How can I do this transformation without
having a presentation that has lost the chronological ordering

If you want the chronological order, you have to go back to the source
tree! This is the case with XSL and it is going to be the case with any
language of similar power.

 Paul Prescod  - ISOGEN Consulting Engineer speaking for only himself

[Woody Allen on Hollywood in "Annie Hall"]
Annie: "It's so clean down here."
Woody: "That's because they don't throw their garbage away. They make 
        it into television shows."

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