World Wide Web Consortium Issues Extensible Stylesheet Language 1.0 as a W3C Recommendation

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XSL 1.0 Delivers Professional Formatting to XML Documents

Testimonials -- 16 October 2001 -- The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has issued the Extensible Stylesheet Language (XSL) 1.0 as a W3C Recommendation, representing cross-industry agreement on an XML-based language that specifies how XML documents may be formatted. It works in concert with XSL Transformations (XSLT), an XML language that performs transformations of structured documents. W3C Recommendation status indicates that a specification is stable, contributes to Web interoperability, and has been reviewed by the W3C Membership, who favor its widespread adoption.

XSL 1.0 Brings Structured Styling to XML Documents

For document-driven industries, the Extensible Markup Language (XML) has held great promise, but also presented some limitations. While XML has proven an effective format for structured data, it had yet to provide the advanced levels of formatting and structural transformation common to proprietary publishing tools.

XSLT 1.0, the XML language which performs transformations on XML data and documents, has been a W3C Recommendation since November 1999, and already enjoys significant usage in both developer communities and in commercial products. XSL 1.0 builds on XSLT 1.0, and provides users with the ability to describe how XML data and documents are to be formatted. XSL 1.0 does this by defining "formatting objects," such as footnotes, headers, columns, and other features common to paged media.

Designers would use XSL 1.0 stylesheets to indicate rendering preferences for a type of XML document, including how it is styled, laid out, and paginated onto a presentation medium such as a browser window, a pamphlet, or a book. An XSL engine would take the XML document and the XSL stylesheet, and would produce a rendering of the document. XSLT 1.0 makes it possible to significantly change the original structure of an XML document (automatic generation of tables of contents, cross-references, indexes, etc.), while XSL 1.0 makes complex document formatting possible through the use of formatting objects and properties.

XSL 1.0 Enriches XML Documents and Data with Professional Printing Capabilities

As XSL 1.0 is focused on the formatting of paged media, it makes it possible for professional printing capabilities and functions to perform with XML documents today. XSL 1.0 and XSLT make it possible for the needs of Web and print-based media formatting to be met. Now, one can have documents and data stored in XML, specify how to format and render them, and produce versions for both Web rendering and for print media.

XSL 1.0 Complements CSS Technologies

The Cascading Style Sheet language (CSS), both levels 1 and 2 has long been recognized as the style language of choice for HTML and XHTML documents. CSS may still be used for XML formatting, and in cases where structural transformations are not needed, suit the needs of Web designers.

The W3C CSS and XSL Working Groups have cooperated to ensure that their results are complementary. Using CSS properties and the CSS formatting model, the XSL Working Group has ensured complete compatibility and interoperability between the two families for styling.

XSL Benefits from Industry Support and User Testing

Key industry leaders and XML experts participated in the creation of both the transformation and formatting components of XSL, including (in alphabetical order) Adobe, Antenna House, Arbortext, Bitstream, Enigma, IBM, James Clark, Microsoft, Oracle, RivCom, SoftQuad, Software AG, Sun Microsystems, University of Edinburgh, and Xerox. Implementation commitments are significant, and are included in the testimonials for XSL 1.0.

Further Developments Already Underway

The XSL and CSS Working Groups are already working on revisions and refinements to their respective technologies. The XSL Working Group has published early drafts for XSLT 2.0 and XPath 2.0, while the CSS Working Group has completed some of the modules and profiles of CSS level 3.

About the World Wide Web Consortium [W3C]

The W3C was created to lead the Web to its full potential by developing common protocols that promote its evolution and ensure its interoperability. It is an international industry consortium jointly run by the MIT Laboratory for Computer Science (MIT LCS) in the USA, the National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control (INRIA) in France and Keio University in Japan. Services provided by the Consortium include: a repository of information about the World Wide Web for developers and users, and various prototype and sample applications to demonstrate use of new technology. To date, over 510 organizations are Members of the Consortium. For more information see


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XSL 1.0 Testimonials

In English: Adobe Systems | Antenna House | Arbortext | Bitstream, Inc. | IBM Corporation | RenderX, Inc. | Sun Microsystems

In Japanese: Antenna House

In Russian: RenderX, Inc.


As an active participant in the XSL Working Group since its formation, Adobe is very pleased to see XSL become a W3C Recommendation. The formatting objects and styling properties in XSL 1.0 provide a significant foundation for bringing higher quality formatting, pagination and control to the web, consistent with Adobe's page layout products -- Adobe FrameMaker, InDesign and PageMaker. In the world of network publishing in which customers need predictable results when authoring and reusing content across print, web and wireless, standards such as XML, XSL and SVG are critical.

-- Julie McEntee, Director, Server Products, Adobe Systems Incorporated

We want to express our heartily welcome to the recommendation of Extensible Stylesheet Language (XSL) version 1.0. I also have great regard for the efforts that W3C XSL Working Group has made taking a long time. Antenna House started SGML project in the beginning of 1996. At that time one of our goal was to write our product manuals using SGML and print them directly from SGML documents. We have achieved the goal finally by the newest product released in September 2001. That is we created the product manual as an XML document, printed it using XSL Formatter and generated an XHTML online manual using the technology of XSLT. The XSL specification is what we have desired for a long time. We recognize the importance of the XSL specification in the field of XML technology. Antenna House, our company, promises you to make the best efforts to provide XSL Formatter for the users all over the world that completely conforms to the XSL Recommendation. On behalf of all the members of our XML product team and the company,

-- Tokushige Kobayashi, President Antenna House, Inc. Tokyo, Japan

Arbortext welcomes the XSL 1.0 Recommendation and is proud to have actively contributed to its development and testing. This is an important technology that, for the first time, provides a widely-adopted, powerful styling language for XML content. Our recently announced Epic Editor version 4.2 provides an industry-first combination of full support for XSL by offering both XSLT and XSL-FO publishing engines for online and print publishing requirements.

-- Paul Grosso, Vice President Research and Co-Founder, Arbortext

Bitstream's subsidiary Pageflex has long supported open workflows and has been ardent in our use of open industry standards for our web-to-print products. As Pageflex continues to develop products for dynamic publishing in cross-media environments, XSL is part of our vision, which also includes using XML for content independence and PPML and native PDF for output distribution to electronic and print media. Pageflex is proud to have actively participated in the development and writing of the XSL 1.0 Recommendation.

-- Charles Ying, CEO, Bitstream Inc.

IBM is pleased to have helped produce the W3C XSL 1.0 recommendation. This standard provides a powerful framework for formatting XML documents, messages, and data for Web browsers, devices, and print media.

-- Bob Sutor, Director of e-business Standards Strategy, IBM

RenderX is very pleased to see XSL accepted as a W3C Recommendation. This specification enables precise and versatile presentation of XML data on any media, from display screens to audio devices to high-resolution printers. Together with other W3C Recommendations such as XSLT, XPath, and SVG, XSL forms a complete platform to provide complex document styling for XML applications. RenderX works in XSL sector since 1999; the advantages of XSL are widely proved by the experience of our clients that have successfully deployed XSL-based solutions in different areas - banking & financial service, typography, website building, etc.

-- David Tolpin, CTO, RenderX Inc.

XSL gives us the standard formatting language that completes the original vision for XML. With support for internationalized text and layout, and significant implementations underway, XSL provides XML users with the tools they need to render XML documents in a variety of forms, including magazine-quality page formatting.

-- Jon Bosak, Sun Microsystems Distinguished Engineer and former chairman of the W3C XML Working Group

XSL仕様が勧告となったことを歓迎します。また、W3CのXSL作業グループの長年に渡る努力に敬意を表したいと思います。アンテナハウスは 1996年初頭にSGMLプロジェクトを開始しました。その時、私は、当社の製品のマニュアルを SGML形式で記述し、操作説明書をSGML文書から直接印刷するということを、目標のひとつとして掲げました。 2001年9月に発売した最新の製品で私達は初めてこの目標を達成できました。即ち、この新製品のマニュアルは XML文書として作成し、XSL Formatterを使って印刷しました。そして、 XSLT技術を使ってXHTML形式のオンライン・マニュアルを生成しました。 XSLの仕様は、私達が長い間待ち望んでいたものです。私達は、XMLの技術体系における XSL仕様の重要性を認識しています。当社は、XSL勧告仕様に完全に準拠する XSL Formatterを世界のユーザに供給するために、最大の努力をすることを約束します。当社 XML製品チームのメンバー一同および会社を代表して。

--小林 徳滋、代表取締役、アンテナハウス株式会社

Компания RenderX искренне рада тому, что спецификация языка XSL принята в качестве Рекомендации W3C. Этот язык дает возможность точного и гибкого описания внешнего вида XML-документов при выводе на любой носитель - экран монитора, аудио устройство или принтер. Вместе с другими рекомендациями W3C - прежде всего XSLT, XPath и SVG - новая спецификация предоставляет законченную платформу для реализации сколь угодно сложного стилевого оформления в XML-приложениях. За два года работы с XSL компания RenderX неоднократно убеждалась в преимуществах такого решения: нашими клиентами успешно реализованы сложные проекты на базе XSL в различных отраслях - банковское дело, полиграфия, создание веб-сайтов и др.

Давид Толпин, технический директор RenderX Inc.

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