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Re: Lout, is it too late?

From: Valeriy E. Ushakov
Subject: Re: Lout, is it too late?
Date: Mon, 25 Sep 2000 01:39:50 +0400
User-agent: Mutt/1.3.3i

On Sun, Sep 24, 2000 at 19:20:06 +0200, Henrik Martensson wrote:

> a touch of insomnia tonight

Tonight?!  Lucky you are. ;-)

> It would be nice to have a standard formatting language, instead of
> a lot of different ones, but one such language, XSL, is on the
> way. (BTW, DSSSL is such a standardisation effort, only it failed to
> take root.)


|   Formatting is the process of turning the *result* of an XSL
|   transformation into a tangible form for the reader or listener.

I have already quoted relevant paragraph from DSSSL in one of my
previous emails.

In other words, DSSSL/XSL are NOT final formats, you still need
troff/TeX/Lout/FrameMaker/Word to make the final form.

DSSSL/XSL let you transform source document into an intermediate form
that specifies *how* you want the document to be presented, but still
leaves decisions about page breaks, hyphenation etc up to the actual

> * Unicode character support would make it unnecessary to translate
>   characters like a, "a, and "o in XML text strings to Lout character
>   codes. XSLT really sucks at this sort of thing, so it would be
>   a big help if one didn't have to do it.

I completely agree.  But it requires quite some work...

> * Chapters and sections would be easier to handle if they used a
>   recursive format along the lines of

Jeff once mentioned that he has this code but was reluctant to release
it.  Perhaps it could be released separately, i.e. not as part of any
standard format.

Also consider another relevant scenario.  Suppose someone writes a
JavaDoc doclet that produces Lout source.  With "pluggable" sections
the doclet can just ingore the potential context for its output and
produce those isotropic @Section's and let user plug the output in his
report or a book.

> * I would like the ability to specify page templates with multiple
>   text boxes, and then assign a text flow to a box in a template.
>   (If you are familiar with, for example, the FrameMaker MIF format,
>   you know what I mean. I would like a simpler syntax than MIF uses
>   though.)

Hmm.  Ain't it galleys?

> * An XHTML back end for Lout. XHTML is the XML compliant next generation
>   HTML. It works in most current HTML browsers. In combination with the
>   XSLT style sheets mentioned above, this would mean it would be possible
>   to use Lout to convert from XSL to Postscript, PDF and XHTML,
>   which would cover most peoples formatting needs. (At least my needs!!!)

XHTML is not a "final-form" format.  I doubt it fits nicely with what
Lout is about.  I would say XHTML is parallel to Lout in the sense
that people would want their documents converted to XHTML for online
browsing and to some "final-form" format like PS/PDF for printing (and
if Lout was useful in making this last conversion easier for a
programmer who wrote it - good for him).

SY, Uwe
address@hidden                         |       Zu Grunde kommen
http://www.ptc.spbu.ru/~uwe/            |       Ist zu Grunde gehen

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