Weighing in on XSL / Standards

David Megginson david at megginson.com
Tue May 25 15:22:15 BST 1999

Chris Lilley writes:

 > > -- the implementation process is fairly straight-forward, and
 > > there are already several implementations available (none is
 > > perfect, but that's to be expected when the spec itself is still
 > > unstable).  In this regard, XSL is doing much better than many
 > > other W3C specs.
 > Hmm.
 > Talking specifically about the FO part and about announced
 > implementations, I would characterise them as "fairly incomplete"
 > rather than "not perfect". And certainly not "much better than most
 > W3C specs" unless you can quote counterexamples.

Actually, I was talking about the XSLT part -- as I mentioned in an
earlier part of the post, FO's are hard.

I am in a positive where it would not be diplomatic to name names, but
go to http://www.w3.org/TR/ and read down the list of REC's, PR's, and
WD's, and then count actual implementations for each one (if you want
to be really tough, count only implementations not sponsored in some
way by the W3C itself).

 > CSS1 is not brain-dead-simple, from an implementation standpoint,
 > although you are welcome to whip up a quick 100% compliant
 > implementation if you wish to prove me wrong. 

Again, as I mentioned earlier in this message, FO's are hard, even for
CSS1.  On the other hand, only a tiny handful of browser writers have
to deal with that part of the complexity; the real cost of complexity
is the cost of training, learning, etc., and CSS1 is brain-dead simple
in that respect (it does rely on an understanding of the abstraction
of elements, attributes, and data in a tree, but that's a prerequisite
for working with XML anyway).

All the best,


David Megginson                 david at megginson.com

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