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Subject: Re: XML on the Web and Office 2000
From: "Simon St.Laurent" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:General discussion of Extensible Markup Language <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Fri, 2 Oct 1998 08:03:19 -0400

text/plain (49 lines)

At 07:12 PM 10/1/98 -0700, Tim Bray wrote:
>There's the point of disagreement.  I think that HTML is
>just fine *as a presentation language*.  Since the MSOffice tools
>are totally presentation-oriented, I think that HTML++ is a reasonable
>export format.

HTML is _only_ fine as a presentation language, and barely at that.  With
the support of CSS2, XML is equally good at presentation - indeed, if CSS2
is really implemented, it's _better_ than HTML and capable of carrying many
more layers of information.  You could do fun things like encode your
hand-created Word styles in the XML, instead of having to use HTML's
limited vocabulary for everything.

XML: structured data + presentation -> reusable, well-displayed information.
HTML: presentation -> crud that you can look at.

Why settle for crud?  And why hurl lumps of crud at readers?

>Look, if you have tables in your XML files, I strongly suggest that
>you use the HTML table model, and inside the <TD> tags put your own
>semantically-oriented XML tags. Trying to do table formatting using
>CSS or any other stylesheet facility in the world is counterproductive.
>Did any SMGL tool ever hande tables in the abstract, in all of history?

Why be limited by the miseries of past SGML experience?  This is a new
world of tools, with _better_ ways to do things than we used to have.
CSS2's display properties let you build tables with any tags you want - I
don't see this as counterproductive, I see it as a great way to avoid
having to clutter documents with the same old TD and TR tags _again_.

I strongly encourage folks to go read the CSS2 specs.  They're readable,
they're clear, and they promise a lot.  Microsoft and Netscape both claim
they're going to support them, so _in theory_ they have a very useful future.

>Having said all that, I do agree that no production nor beta release of
>IE to date qualifies for an un-asterisked XML tickmark.

Good to hear it.  I could put a parser in the box with any product and call
it XML support, I suppose, but I think it takes a _lot_ more transparency
than that to say that a product really 'supports' XML.

Simon St.Laurent
Dynamic HTML: A Primer / XML: A Primer
Cookies / Sharing Bandwidth (November)
Building XML Applications (December)

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