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Re: [vox-tech] Another unreasonable question
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Re: [vox-tech] Another unreasonable question


  • Subject: Re: [vox-tech] Another unreasonable question
  • From: Micah Cowan <micah@cowMAPSanbox.com>
  • Date: Wed, 18 Apr 2001 16:33:49 -0700
  • References: 007c01c0c853$7b615130$cbabbbcc@a21m

On Wed, Apr 18, 2001 at 04:38:45PM -0500, Jay Strauss wrote:
> As I understand XML (not a lot), you use a DTD (sorta like a C struct
> definition), to explain what the following data is.

Well, a DTD actually describes what elements you will use to describe
the data, and what attributes those elements may have specified.  It
doesn't really describe what the following data /is/.  DTDs are
optional, and for many small XML applications, unnecessary.

> Then you use a CSS to display the data the way you'd like.

CSS is one version - useful only for laying out XML data as text (not
all XML applications were meant to be used that way).

XSL is the more powerful (and complicated), XML-specific style-sheet
language, which allows you to deal with non-text-centric data as well
(for instance, converting XML to a binary file of some sort).  Don't
know it really all that well.

Another style-sheet language (very old) for SGML (useable for XML), is
DSSSL (forgot what it stands for).  It, (like XSL, I believe) is
bonafide programming, you actually write your style-sheet in scheme,
so it is very versatile.  CSS is the one of these three which is not
programmable at all.

> Is there any word processor that lets you use these concepts so that
> I could WYSIWYG a document and have it build my XML based on the
> styles I use (a la M$ word)?  Is there such a product, and can I use
> it on win 2K.

No, and there can never be a practical application such as that -
SGML/XML converts fairly readily into laid-out word processor
or typeset documents, but the reverse is not the case.  XML is
intended to describe /content/, and let you deal with the style issues
later.

I have had some experience with jade, which is a DSSSL interpreter for
SGML documents (converts SGML to TeX, RTF, HTML).  It is very
difficult to install (IMO) and set up.

The very best documenting tool I have found to date is ConTeXt, which
I find to be superior to LaTeX in usability, and especially in
creating hyperlinks for cross-referencing - most LaTeX documents which
have hyperlinks for cross-references, e.g., "Section 9.3 on Three-Toed
Sloths" can construct hyperlinks for the "9.3", but not the whole
phrase, which is the true cross-reference.  It's not impossible, just
not as easy in practice as it is with ConTeXt.  Plus, ConTeXt has
better support for creating interactive electronic documents in
general, and still being able to create excellent printed documents
from the same source.  OTOH, LaTeX has a much larger user base and
support in general, and has been around longer for what I can tell
(hence, possibly more stable).

Micah


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