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Re: [XSL-FO] RE: Formatting Objects considered harmful

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  • Wendell Piez
    ... Right. And in fact, the FOs considered harmful argument shoulod really be taken as servers delivering FOs are worse than an ideal case in which
    Message 1 of 2 , Feb 20, 2001
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      At 09:21 AM 2/20/01 +0100, Richard Liu wrote:
      >By the way, sending a browser real-world HTML has most of the disadvantages
      >of sending it FO. Many Web publishers use HTML elements according to how
      >they want to page to appear, not according to its content.

      Right. And in fact, the "FOs considered harmful" argument shoulod really be
      taken as "servers delivering FOs are worse than an ideal case in which
      semantically rich content is sent over the pipe and transformations happen
      client-side", rather than "servers delivering FOs are worse than the status
      quo ante, when they're delivering HTML." HTML's semantic capabilities, such
      as they are (a class attribute? talk about an afterthought...), are pretty
      widely abused when not ignored altogether.

      The problem that I see with the argument is that it's too general, and does
      not address any of the good counter-examples that one might suggest. Such as:

      1. delivering content to a very thin client that will do nothing but
      display the data and then throw it away -- but where performance is key.

      2. delivering data in scenarios where there are legitimate business reasons
      to "dumb down" the data into something less tractable to processing based
      on the full semantics of the repository format. If, wearing your Utopian
      Idealist hat, you are sceptical that a business might have such legitimate
      reasons ("you mean they know the semantics but don't want to share?!?") ...
      maybe a brief contemplation on the word "privacy" might give you pause.

      I like the creative iconoclasm of the FOs Considered Harmful argument, but
      I don't buy it. It's over-general. A statement that "whenever semantic
      meta-information exists, it's a shame to withhold it or throw it away"
      ought to suffice.

      Cheers,
      Wendell

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