[NTG-context] Context against XSL

Hans Hagen pragma at wxs.nl
Fri Oct 1 00:35:08 CEST 2004

Dirar Bougatef wrote:

>  > xsl is mostly a specification, and there are program soutthere that 
> implement parts of is. The page model that xsl uses is not that 
> advanced. Also, because you more or less make up the page, you also sort
>  > of disable all kind of clever things that batch processors like tex + 
> macropackages may do. This means that xsl (fo) is suited for a certain 
> range of typesetting tasks. From my experience your expectations
>  > should not be that high with regards to complex layouts.
> Do you mean that i went too far in my interpretation of XSL blocks as 
> TEX boxes ?
> What i see is that XSL as you said is quiet the same thing as CSS2 hence 
> it will support complex layouts (At the end it is only a matter of 
> dividing your page into big or small boxes and the ability of accessing 
> them, isn't it ?). In this case the difference with tex is only going to 
> be that the last handles caracter (with ligatures etc.) and word spacing 
> (with regard to hyphenation) according to some rules where the other 
> doesn't.

there  is more: pagebreaks, floats, marginal notes, etc those are the 
complicating factors

> I have read an article that says that the whole matter about creating 
> XSL was printed documents with all what this implies such as headers, 
> footers, etc (The stuff that does not concern electronic documents).

indeed, simple docs with only headers and footers -)

>  > i find that using tex directly (using the context xml parser) in most 
> cases is rather efficient; the problem is always in getting (frequently 
> inconsistent) designs done. In that respect my motto has become 'the
>  > problem does not change'
> What do you mean by this. Is it that i have to stick to only few designs 
> and avoid changing too much .. ?

no, that depending on the layout/design, finding a solution for some 
problem will always be difficult; kind of: it's nice to use some 4th 
generation language, but it still leaves us with the 10% hard work in a 
3th one; look at all those editors we see around us: it's no big deal to 
cut and past a basic editor from components readily available, making a 
real good one is still some work -)

> I would like to write my documents in XML, keep THEM on a server and 
> generate PDF, when the user clicks on the link to my document.
> Of course i want to use Context to typeset my document.  What can i use 
> for this  ?  Have you already writen a parser for standard (e.g Docbook) 
> documents ?

some have, not me; it's a matter of mapping elements onto context 
thingies, the parser is already there; just peek in the x-* files


                                           Hans Hagen | PRAGMA ADE
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