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Re: A need for consistency and precision when referring to "XSL"

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  • r_diblasi@hotmail.com
    Andrew, I have to say that you have hit the nail firmly on the head and Chris s observation is most likely the cause of the problem.... I think you proposal is
    Message 1 of 4 , Jan 16, 2001
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      Andrew,

      I have to say that you have hit the nail firmly on the head and
      Chris's observation is most likely the cause of the problem....

      I think you proposal is right on the mark ....but of course the real
      world maybe harsh on this suggestion ......it would break a lot of
      code ...better to break early than late......
      suggestion.....
      maybe just correct the spec and live the namespace alone....I'm not a
      fan of this suggestion...but it would make it sooooo much easier to
      teach others......believe it or not some of use the spec to teach
      others.......watch out for the sentence in the "xsl-fo spec" :-) were
      it states that it is not tutorial in nature:
      "This document is intended for implementors of such XSL
      processors. Although it can be used as a reference manual for writers
      of XSL style sheets, it is not tutorial in nature" I think that your
      logic about the miss use of the term "XSL" would still
      stand.....Implementors need to understand to......

      good job of stating this problem......
      Robert A. DiBlasi
      --- In XSL-FO@egroups.com, "Chris Ryland" <cpr@e...> wrote:
      > Andrew--
      >
      > I share your annoyance/concern.
      >
      > I think the schizophrenia involved with the committee's terminology
      comes
      > from the days when XSL encompassed both -T and -FO in one standard.
      They
      > were later broken into two separate standard proposals.
      >
      > Now that they're separate, the simple fact is that XSLT is getting
      most of
      > the attention and press, and -FO tends to be forgotten in the "real
      world".
      >
      > But, yes, I can't help but second your proposal for more accuracy
      in the
      > standards documents themselves.
      >
      > Cheers!
      > Chris Ryland * Em Software, Inc. * www.emsoftware.com
      > ----- Original Message -----
      > From: <AndrewWatt2001@a...>
      > To: <XSL-FO@egroups.com>
      > Cc: <xsl-editors@w...>
      > Sent: Tuesday, January 16, 2001 12:43 PM
      > Subject: [XSL-FO] A need for consistency and precision when
      referring to
      > "XSL"
      >
      >
      > > Robert & others,
      > >
      > > The issue addressed in this post may go some way to help some
      list members
      > > understand why they are having problems understanding parts of
      the "XSL"
      > > Candidate Recommendation, which in my view would be better termed
      as the
      > > "XSL-FO" CR.
      > >
      > > What follows is a slight re-edit of a past post on another list.
      > >
      > > ***Re-edited quote begins***
      > >
      > > This post is a plea for a beginning in consistent use of the
      term "XSL" in
      > > W3C documents. The current CR stage of XSL-FO and the first WD of
      XSLT 1.1
      > > give an opportunity to W3C to remove longstanding inconsistent
      usage and
      > to
      > > introduce coherence and consistency.
      > >
      > > For those who have not yet considered the problem let me
      summarise the
      > > difficulty and inconsistency by the use of two "equations" which
      summarise
      > > two mutually contradictory positions about what "XSL" is which
      are taken
      > > (implicitly or explicitly) in the current versions of W3C
      documents.
      > >
      > > To avoid ambiguity I use the term "XSLT" to indicate XSL
      Transformations
      > and
      > > the term "XSL-FO" to indicate XSL Formatting Objects.
      > >
      > > The two equations are:
      > > 1. XSL = XSLT + XSL-FO (see e.g. Abstract of XSL-FO CR)
      > > 2. XSL = XSL-FO
      > >
      > > Stated as baldly as this I expect to potentially elicit howls of
      protest
      > > along the lines
      > > of "Of course XSL is the summation of XSLT and XSL-FO". But the
      statements
      > > currently present in various W3C documents contradict this
      assumed clarity
      > > and consistency.
      > >
      > > Let me illustrate. .... In the XSLT 1.0 Recommendation of
      November 1999 it
      > is
      > > stated in the Abstract, "XSLT is also designed to be used
      independently of
      > > XSL.", a statement which cannot be true if XSL = XSL-FO + XSLT
      (XSLT
      > cannot
      > > be used independently of "XSL" since XSLT is _part of_ "XSL") and
      > > contradicts, for example, the Abstract of the XSL-FO CR. However
      the
      > > statement also
      > > contradicts the position taken earlier in the Abstract of XSLT
      1.0: "In
      > > addition to XSLT, XSL includes ....". So, XSLT seems to
      be "included in"
      > XSL
      > > but
      > > is also can be used "independent of" it. Something doesn't add
      up. What is
      > > happening is that the first part of the preceding sentence refers
      > implicitly
      > > to equation 1. and the latter part to equation 2.
      > >
      > > Thus, in theXSLT 1.0 Recommendation (and repeated verbatim in the
      XSLT 1.1
      > > WD) we have the use of both "equations". Which equation is true?
      Does XSL
      > =
      > > XSL-FO + XSLT or is XSL = XSL-FO? XSLT 1.0 effectively uses these
      two
      > mutually
      > > contradictory positions within a few lines of each other.
      > >
      > > The same inconsistency also appears in the current XSL-FO CR. As
      mentioned
      > > above the Abstract indicates unequivocally that XSL includes both
      XSLT and
      > > XSL-FO. But in Section 2, confusingly labelled "Introduction to
      XSL
      > > Transformations" it is stated, "The XSL namespace has the URI
      > > http://www.w3.org/1999/XSL/Format.". The placement of a statement
      about
      > what
      > > I would call the XSL-FO namespace in a section on XSLT is
      confusing
      > enough.
      > > But if, as the Abstract of the CR implicitly states, XSL = XSL-FO
      + XSLT
      > then
      > > there are two "XSL" namespaces viz.
      http:www.w3.org/1999/XSL/Format AND
      > > http://www.w3.org/XSL/Transform, not one as the XSL-FO CR states.
      > >
      > > There are many ways of slicing up these inconsistencies but, in
      my view,
      > they
      > > are founded in the use of "XSL" in the same documents to have two
      distinct
      > > meanings. Is "XSL" the same as "XSL-FO + XSLT"? Or is "XSL" the
      same as
      > > "XSL-FO"?
      > >
      > > I would suggest that the W3C "XSL" editors ... by which I mean
      the editors
      > > for the XSL-FO CR and the new XSLT 1.1 WD need to decide
      what "XSL" is and
      > > then use the term precisely and consistently. At present neither
      precision
      > > nor consistency is achieved.
      > >
      > > I hope these two examples serve to illustrate the ambiguity or
      > inconsistency
      > > of the use of the term "XSL" in current W3C documents. I could,
      quite
      > > possibly, go on at length about how the inconsistency plays out
      in various
      > > W3C documents. Rather, I think it is more important to find a
      solution
      > that
      > > is logical, clear and consistent.
      > >
      > > Suffice to say that the inconsistency within XSL/XSL-FO/XSLT
      specs plays
      > out
      > > to some degree in other specs too.
      > >
      > > My suggestion for how to move toward coherence would be:
      > >
      > > 1. Confine the generic term "XSL" to situations which refer to
      XSLFO _and_
      > > XSLT collectively.
      > > 2. When referring to XSL Formatting Objects the abbreviation to
      be used
      > > should be either "XSL-FO" or "XSLFO".
      > > 3. When referring to XSL Transformations the abbreviation used
      should be
      > > "XSL-T" or "XSLT".
      > > 4. It should be recognised that there are two "XSL Namespaces".
      The XSLT
      > > Namespace has a namespace URI of
      http://www.w3.org/1999/XSL/Transform. The
      > > XSL-FO Namespace has a namespace URI of
      http://www.w3.org/1999/XSL/Format.
      > > 5. The confusing "indicative prefix" (my term) for those two
      namespaces
      > > should be corrected/made consistent. I would suggest that the XSLT
      > namespace
      > > use the "indicative prefix" of "xslt" rather than "xsl" i.e. as an
      > example,
      > > the present
      > > <xsl:stylesheet> element would become <xslt:stylesheet>.
      Similarly the
      > "fo"
      > > indicative prefix would become "xslfo" i.e. <fo:root> would become
      > > <xslfo:root>.
      > >
      > > I would propose that the W3C Core XML Group (do I have the
      terminology
      > > correct?) review the current inconsistency in terminology across
      W3C specs
      > > currently in draft or under revision and give clear, unambiguous
      guidance
      > on
      > > which meaning "XSL" has in W3C documents.
      > >
      > > <side_issue>
      > > [ With regard to the more specific problem relating to the naming
      of the
      > > current XSL-FO CR could that not be called the "Extensible
      Stylesheet
      > > Language Formatting Objects, XSL-FO" Recommendation in due time?
      And could
      > > another very short "XSL" REC indicate that XSL version 1.0
      subsumes the
      > XSLT
      > > REC of November 1999 and the XSL-FO REC, currently at CR stage?
      Then when
      > > XSLT 1.1 is finalised "XSL 1.1" could be defined as "XSL-FO 1.0"
      plus
      > "XSLT
      > > 1.1"? Just a thought. :) ]
      > > </side_issue>
      > >
      > > Consistent usage of the term "XSL" is desirable. With the current
      fluidity
      > of
      > > a XSL-FO CR and an XSLT 1.1 WD there is an early opportunity for
      W3C to
      > > introduce consistency where hitherto inconsistent and confusing
      usage of
      > the
      > > term "XSL" has been rather too visible.
      > >
      > > *** Re-edited quote ends ***
      > >
      > > Returning to Robert's question about the "fo" namespace and the
      confusion
      > > that that term caused him - If my suggestions were adopted we
      would refer
      > to
      > > that as the XSL-FO namespace with, in my view, much less
      ambiguity than a
      > > supposed but essentially spurious "XSL namespace".
      > >
      > > Sorry, to those for which this is pretty hard going. You need to
      be fairly
      > > familiar with how the specs use the terms to see that there is a
      problem.
      > And
      > > perhaps more familiar to diagnose it and suggest a (hopefully
      coherent)
      > > remedy.
      > >
      > > I hope that the XSL-editors wil prove responsive to these
      suggestions. It
      > > would make teaching some parts of XSL/XSL-FO/XSLT to relative
      beginners
      > just
      > > a little bit easier if the "standard" terms were used
      consistently in the
      > > definitive documents.
      > >
      > > Andrew Watt
      > >
      > > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
      > > XSL-FO-unsubscribe@egroups.com
      > >
      > >
    • Chris Ryland
      Andrew-- I share your annoyance/concern. I think the schizophrenia involved with the committee s terminology comes from the days when XSL encompassed both -T
      Message 2 of 4 , Jan 16, 2001
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        Andrew--

        I share your annoyance/concern.

        I think the schizophrenia involved with the committee's terminology comes
        from the days when XSL encompassed both -T and -FO in one standard. They
        were later broken into two separate standard proposals.

        Now that they're separate, the simple fact is that XSLT is getting most of
        the attention and press, and -FO tends to be forgotten in the "real world".

        But, yes, I can't help but second your proposal for more accuracy in the
        standards documents themselves.

        Cheers!
        Chris Ryland * Em Software, Inc. * www.emsoftware.com
        ----- Original Message -----
        From: <AndrewWatt2001@...>
        To: <XSL-FO@egroups.com>
        Cc: <xsl-editors@...>
        Sent: Tuesday, January 16, 2001 12:43 PM
        Subject: [XSL-FO] A need for consistency and precision when referring to
        "XSL"


        > Robert & others,
        >
        > The issue addressed in this post may go some way to help some list members
        > understand why they are having problems understanding parts of the "XSL"
        > Candidate Recommendation, which in my view would be better termed as the
        > "XSL-FO" CR.
        >
        > What follows is a slight re-edit of a past post on another list.
        >
        > ***Re-edited quote begins***
        >
        > This post is a plea for a beginning in consistent use of the term "XSL" in
        > W3C documents. The current CR stage of XSL-FO and the first WD of XSLT 1.1
        > give an opportunity to W3C to remove longstanding inconsistent usage and
        to
        > introduce coherence and consistency.
        >
        > For those who have not yet considered the problem let me summarise the
        > difficulty and inconsistency by the use of two "equations" which summarise
        > two mutually contradictory positions about what "XSL" is which are taken
        > (implicitly or explicitly) in the current versions of W3C documents.
        >
        > To avoid ambiguity I use the term "XSLT" to indicate XSL Transformations
        and
        > the term "XSL-FO" to indicate XSL Formatting Objects.
        >
        > The two equations are:
        > 1. XSL = XSLT + XSL-FO (see e.g. Abstract of XSL-FO CR)
        > 2. XSL = XSL-FO
        >
        > Stated as baldly as this I expect to potentially elicit howls of protest
        > along the lines
        > of "Of course XSL is the summation of XSLT and XSL-FO". But the statements
        > currently present in various W3C documents contradict this assumed clarity
        > and consistency.
        >
        > Let me illustrate. .... In the XSLT 1.0 Recommendation of November 1999 it
        is
        > stated in the Abstract, "XSLT is also designed to be used independently of
        > XSL.", a statement which cannot be true if XSL = XSL-FO + XSLT (XSLT
        cannot
        > be used independently of "XSL" since XSLT is _part of_ "XSL") and
        > contradicts, for example, the Abstract of the XSL-FO CR. However the
        > statement also
        > contradicts the position taken earlier in the Abstract of XSLT 1.0: "In
        > addition to XSLT, XSL includes ....". So, XSLT seems to be "included in"
        XSL
        > but
        > is also can be used "independent of" it. Something doesn't add up. What is
        > happening is that the first part of the preceding sentence refers
        implicitly
        > to equation 1. and the latter part to equation 2.
        >
        > Thus, in theXSLT 1.0 Recommendation (and repeated verbatim in the XSLT 1.1
        > WD) we have the use of both "equations". Which equation is true? Does XSL
        =
        > XSL-FO + XSLT or is XSL = XSL-FO? XSLT 1.0 effectively uses these two
        mutually
        > contradictory positions within a few lines of each other.
        >
        > The same inconsistency also appears in the current XSL-FO CR. As mentioned
        > above the Abstract indicates unequivocally that XSL includes both XSLT and
        > XSL-FO. But in Section 2, confusingly labelled "Introduction to XSL
        > Transformations" it is stated, "The XSL namespace has the URI
        > http://www.w3.org/1999/XSL/Format.". The placement of a statement about
        what
        > I would call the XSL-FO namespace in a section on XSLT is confusing
        enough.
        > But if, as the Abstract of the CR implicitly states, XSL = XSL-FO + XSLT
        then
        > there are two "XSL" namespaces viz. http:www.w3.org/1999/XSL/Format AND
        > http://www.w3.org/XSL/Transform, not one as the XSL-FO CR states.
        >
        > There are many ways of slicing up these inconsistencies but, in my view,
        they
        > are founded in the use of "XSL" in the same documents to have two distinct
        > meanings. Is "XSL" the same as "XSL-FO + XSLT"? Or is "XSL" the same as
        > "XSL-FO"?
        >
        > I would suggest that the W3C "XSL" editors ... by which I mean the editors
        > for the XSL-FO CR and the new XSLT 1.1 WD need to decide what "XSL" is and
        > then use the term precisely and consistently. At present neither precision
        > nor consistency is achieved.
        >
        > I hope these two examples serve to illustrate the ambiguity or
        inconsistency
        > of the use of the term "XSL" in current W3C documents. I could, quite
        > possibly, go on at length about how the inconsistency plays out in various
        > W3C documents. Rather, I think it is more important to find a solution
        that
        > is logical, clear and consistent.
        >
        > Suffice to say that the inconsistency within XSL/XSL-FO/XSLT specs plays
        out
        > to some degree in other specs too.
        >
        > My suggestion for how to move toward coherence would be:
        >
        > 1. Confine the generic term "XSL" to situations which refer to XSLFO _and_
        > XSLT collectively.
        > 2. When referring to XSL Formatting Objects the abbreviation to be used
        > should be either "XSL-FO" or "XSLFO".
        > 3. When referring to XSL Transformations the abbreviation used should be
        > "XSL-T" or "XSLT".
        > 4. It should be recognised that there are two "XSL Namespaces". The XSLT
        > Namespace has a namespace URI of http://www.w3.org/1999/XSL/Transform. The
        > XSL-FO Namespace has a namespace URI of http://www.w3.org/1999/XSL/Format.
        > 5. The confusing "indicative prefix" (my term) for those two namespaces
        > should be corrected/made consistent. I would suggest that the XSLT
        namespace
        > use the "indicative prefix" of "xslt" rather than "xsl" i.e. as an
        example,
        > the present
        > <xsl:stylesheet> element would become <xslt:stylesheet>. Similarly the
        "fo"
        > indicative prefix would become "xslfo" i.e. <fo:root> would become
        > <xslfo:root>.
        >
        > I would propose that the W3C Core XML Group (do I have the terminology
        > correct?) review the current inconsistency in terminology across W3C specs
        > currently in draft or under revision and give clear, unambiguous guidance
        on
        > which meaning "XSL" has in W3C documents.
        >
        > <side_issue>
        > [ With regard to the more specific problem relating to the naming of the
        > current XSL-FO CR could that not be called the "Extensible Stylesheet
        > Language Formatting Objects, XSL-FO" Recommendation in due time? And could
        > another very short "XSL" REC indicate that XSL version 1.0 subsumes the
        XSLT
        > REC of November 1999 and the XSL-FO REC, currently at CR stage? Then when
        > XSLT 1.1 is finalised "XSL 1.1" could be defined as "XSL-FO 1.0" plus
        "XSLT
        > 1.1"? Just a thought. :) ]
        > </side_issue>
        >
        > Consistent usage of the term "XSL" is desirable. With the current fluidity
        of
        > a XSL-FO CR and an XSLT 1.1 WD there is an early opportunity for W3C to
        > introduce consistency where hitherto inconsistent and confusing usage of
        the
        > term "XSL" has been rather too visible.
        >
        > *** Re-edited quote ends ***
        >
        > Returning to Robert's question about the "fo" namespace and the confusion
        > that that term caused him - If my suggestions were adopted we would refer
        to
        > that as the XSL-FO namespace with, in my view, much less ambiguity than a
        > supposed but essentially spurious "XSL namespace".
        >
        > Sorry, to those for which this is pretty hard going. You need to be fairly
        > familiar with how the specs use the terms to see that there is a problem.
        And
        > perhaps more familiar to diagnose it and suggest a (hopefully coherent)
        > remedy.
        >
        > I hope that the XSL-editors wil prove responsive to these suggestions. It
        > would make teaching some parts of XSL/XSL-FO/XSLT to relative beginners
        just
        > a little bit easier if the "standard" terms were used consistently in the
        > definitive documents.
        >
        > Andrew Watt
        >
        > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
        > XSL-FO-unsubscribe@egroups.com
        >
        >
      • AndrewWatt2001@aol.com
        In a message dated 17/01/01 00:35:13 GMT Standard Time, r_diblasi@hotmail.com ... Robert, I agree it would be better to break code early rather than late. But
        Message 3 of 4 , Jan 17, 2001
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          In a message dated 17/01/01 00:35:13 GMT Standard Time, r_diblasi@...
          writes:

          > I have to say that you have hit the nail firmly on the head and
          > Chris's observation is most likely the cause of the problem....
          >
          > I think you proposal is right on the mark ....but of course the real
          > world maybe harsh on this suggestion ......it would break a lot of
          > code ...better to break early than late......

          Robert, I agree it would be better to break code early rather than late. But
          the amount of code which would be broken would, I think, be much less than
          you imagine.

          I am not proposing that the "namespace" be changed.

          When we humans see e.g. <xsl:template> that is what we think.

          However when an XSLT processor see <xsl:template> it actually "thinks" ...
          sorry for the anthropomorphism ... it actually thinks
          <http://www.w3.org/1999/XSL/Transform:template>.

          What I am suggesting would leave the XSLT processor (or XSL Formatter) seeing
          exactly the same.

          I am only proposing that we rationalise the namespace _prefix_ ... in the
          above example "xsl" ... to "xslt".

          The namespace URI is not changed, under my proposals.

          The primary change would be for someone typing code. The namespace prefix
          "xsl" or "fo" is simply a convenience to stop us having to type
          <www.w3.org/1999/XSL/Format:root>. To type <fo:root> is much more convenient.
          If my suggestions were implemented we would type <xslfo:root>.

          If you are still uncertain about the difference between namespace prefix and
          namespace URI take a browse through Namespace in XML REC at
          http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-xml-names/

          I hope that helps.

          Andrew Watt

          > suggestion.....
          > maybe just correct the spec and live the namespace alone....I'm not a
          > fan of this suggestion...but it would make it sooooo much easier to
          > teach others......believe it or not some of use the spec to teach
          > others.......watch out for the sentence in the "xsl-fo spec" :-) were
          > it states that it is not tutorial in nature:
          > "This document is intended for implementors of such XSL
          > processors. Although it can be used as a reference manual for writers
          > of XSL style sheets, it is not tutorial in nature" I think that your
          > logic about the miss use of the term "XSL" would still
          > stand.....Implementors need to understand to......
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