[dm-l] More about XSLT -- and there is an alternative, and it's free too

Peter Robinson peter.robinson at dmu.ac.uk
Fri Jun 25 19:08:51 MDT 2004


Dear everyone
I have been away a few days without a chance to look at the correspondence
provoked by my message about XSLT etc.

Firstly: a quick response to Lou Burnard.  Of course I have known for years,
even before Lou told me, and Lou has known for years that I have known, that
one could use alternative XML structures to show our materials page by page,
if we want.  But this seems to me to go right against one of the fundamental
design tenets of XML.  Once you decide that you will structure the XML
primarily to achieve just one particular display, well, you might as well
use pdf (gasp!).  The point is that page breaks and div elements coexist in
the one document, sometimes you want to see it by pages, sometimes by the
text divisions, and that's that.  Lou suggests also that one could encode
every word in a word element, with the page breaks neatly between the word
elements.  Only problem here are those cursed scribes who will insist on
sticking a page break in the middle of a word.  So I guess we need to put
every letter in a separate element!


Enough of this.  Better than argument is actual demonstration.  Some of you
probably know that the subtext of what I have been saying about the defects
of XSLT is that we have over many years developed our own electronic
publishing system, the blessed Anastasia, designed to meet exactly the kind
of problems I first met some ten years ago in SGML (as then) processing.  We
decided a while ago, after much urging from many (including aforesaid Lou)
that we would make her open source.  So that is just what we are doing.  As
of today you can download all the executables from

http://www.cta.dmu.ac.uk/~ftpuser/Anastasia/
See too 
http://www.cta.dmu.ac.uk/~ftpuser/Anastasia/home.html
And for an introduction to her:
http://www.cta.dmu.ac.uk/~ftpuser/Anastasia/whatis.html

More coming later.  The source will go on SourceForge in the next few weeks,
together with lots of sample documents, including many in tei.

All the best
Peter




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