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From James A Sutherland <>
Subject Re: First cut at a redesign for
Date Fri, 02 Nov 2001 16:23:05 GMT
On Friday 02 November 2001 3:33 pm, Joshua Slive wrote:
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: James A Sutherland []
> >
> > > The XML is very simple and includes only the content of the page
> > > without extra formating information or the side menu.  The
> > > transformation is necessary so that we can alter the look and feel of
> > > multiple
> >
> > pages on the
> >
> > > site without having to edit every single html page.
> >
> > All of which can be done using a combination of CSS and SSI: mark your
> > headings with <h1> and your paragraphs with <p> and that's it. (I'm
> > inline style="..."  rather than a style sheet, which makes the
> > <h1> tags a
> > little nastier-looking, but helps Netscape 4 rendering.)
> Sure, but it is much less flexible than the system we have in place.  Take
> a look
> at and see how nice and simple the
> xml is. 

Nice and simple indeed. In fact, almost byte-by-byte the same as the HTML I 
have here for the same job, making the whole comparison almost redundant :)

> This allows us in the future to make arbitrary changes to the
> look/feel/structure of the site without touching the source files.  From an
> xml source there are also lots of choices for the transformation
> (xsl,anakia,etc), so we are not locked into a particular tool.
> I have done sites with extensive SSI, and I have to say that xml
> transformations seem to be much cleaner and more flexible.

It does look like a good setup. As I say, you can achieve almost exactly the 
same results with SSI+CSS, but there's little point changing from one to the 

The one change I would suggest is making the transformation produce CSS-based 
XHTML; I've done a version of the front page which Validates perfectly as 
XHTML1 Strict and still renders reasonably on Netscape 4, using purely CSS 
for style control. I think I'll have a play with the XML system myself over 
the next few days, time permitting...


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