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Subject: RE: [docbook] Whatever happened too CSS+XML?

> Why use (X)HTML at all?  That's the whole point.  Modern 
> browsers can display XML fairly well without transforming the 
> original document into some bizarre and unnatural form.

XHTML and CSS aren't bizarre and unnatural to people _with a design
background_. XML and XSLT are.

I work with XML auhors all day, every day, so I know that in the general
case the XML you author on your desktop is not exactly what you want to
publish to your website or to print:

 * it lacks a TOC
 * it lacks indexes
 * certain elements need complicated prefixes and postfixes (including
text, graphics, borders, table-like structures)
 * chunks are not necessarily at the "right size" for reading and
 * cross reference syntaxes may not adhere to Web standards (e.g. DITA)
 * IDs which are in the "same document" in XML may be in separate chunks
on the Web -- these links need to be fixed up
 * it lacks breadcrumb navigation
 * every HTML chunk needs a header and footer with next/prev/parent
 * links may be injected from an external link base

You don't need a transform step for what you're doing today. Great.
Consider yourself lucky. Please don't consider yourself representative.
CSS would be much further ahead right now if its advocates would
acknowledge where it is strong, where it is weak and where it needs to
work together with transformation technologies. Instead, they continue
to treat XSLT and CSS as competitors which ensures that CSS is
guaranteed to lose. After all, XSLT programmers are free to mix CSS
properties into their XSLT and thereby demonstrate that XSLT is
functionally a superset of XML+CSS without XSLT. But CSS users look
silly when they discount the requirements that drive people to XSLT.
"Indexing? Why would you want to do that?" A better strategy is to admit
that those things that cannot be done in CSS are best done in XSLT but
those things that can be done in CSS should be, because it is simpler,
more maintainable and easier to read.

In fact, it is because "Web people" tend not understand the mechanics of
large-document publishing on the Web that big documents are usually
delivered as PDF. Please take a look around this site and tell me how
you would accomplish it with "just CSS":


 Paul Prescod

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