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Subject: Re: [docbook-apps] improve DocBook's HTML output

> 1.  A new param named 'make.strict.html'

How about 'make.clean.html'?  "strict" has a specific meaning with regard to HTML.

> 2.  A new param named 'generate.css', which when set to 1

Why would this be necessary?  Presumably one, or possibly a set of static CSS files could be supplied that provide all the basic styling based on classes used in the generated output.  Or, are you suggesting that the XSL generate a per-output CSS with just the subset of the "master CSS" styles?

On Sat, Nov 28, 2009 at 1:41 PM, Bob Stayton <bobs@sagehill.net> wrote:
I have had a long standing goal to modernize the HTML output from the DocBook XSL stylesheets. We have too many instances of hardcoded styles like <b> and other transgressions of modern HTML practice.

The problem is that doing the whole job is a big undertaking, and I, for one, have never had the free time for it all. So instead I'd like to propose a scheme to get there incrementally, so that improvements can be made by many participants instead of just one.

One of the critical features of this updating is adding a CSS stylesheet to the output.   Many of the current "bad" output coding could be cured through CSS applied to class attributes. So I'd like to start the transition by adding a mechanism to generate a default CSS stylesheet, which could be used as a starting point for further CSS styling.

I think two params could control this feature:

1.  A new param named 'make.strict.html' would be used by the stylesheet to replace any current instances of bad coding with good coding and CSS styles. Or we could just say the the existing param 'make.valid.html' should do this.  Strictly speaking, these items are not necessarily invalid HTML, but maybe people expect better HTML when using this param.

2.  A new param named 'generate.css', which when set to 1, will generate a CSS stylesheet file. The name of the file is given by the existing 'html.stylesheet' param. The generated stylesheet would contain selectors for all class attributes in the HTML output, and any styles that are needed to format the new clean version of an element.   Most of the selectors would be empty of styles, but would be available for further styling of the HTML output.  If 'generate.css' is zero, then it is up to the user to supply the CSS file.  By default, 'generate.css' should be zero so as to not overwrite an existing CSS file.

Once this mechanism is in place, we could gradually comb through the existing XSL and gradually replace deprecated HTML coding with clean coding.

So if you were just starting out, you could run the process with 'generate.css' = 1 and 'make.strict.html' = 1 to generate a starting CSS file.  After you edit the CSS file, though, you would leave 'generate.css' = 0 and just run with 'make.strict.html' = 1.

Comments and suggestions?

Bob Stayton
Sagehill Enterprises

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