XML, SGML, XSLT, DSSSL, Oh my!

Posted:

Ill-conceived rant mode: on.

Gods. It’s no wonder at all the XML/XSLT aren’t getting traction. It’s hard to find non-broken tools to make document processing a reality (the docbook folks make changes that the Fop group can’t handle breaking the whole processing chain). But the tools are there, you say? Let me be clear: HTML is rendered in a web browser. Hell, even a crappy web browser like lynx is good enough to start learning HTML. As a user, I get immediate feedback on my markup. With XML and XSLT, there should be an equally easy way to do get pretty feedback. I’ve been reaching into the depths of docbook (both SGML and XML [don’t ask why]) like a veterinarian delivering a calf and it’s been just about as pretty. DTD management is insane and the tools (jade for DSSSL and xsltproc for XSLT and then Apache’s Fop) are one step up from hacks. This is crazy. If I can’t get PS from docbook easily, I should just stick to latex or even POD. After much fighting and reading and reading and reading, I have figured out how to use these tools but things have got to get much better in 2002 for these tools or XML will soon go the way of punch cards.

For the record, I don’t get off on XML at all (unless people are buying my book). I care about what works, what’s easy and what’s available.

Grr. Grr, I say!

[Original use.perl.org post and comments.]