[ng-dhtml] markup languages

Mark D. Anderson mda at discerning.com
Sun Sep 19 19:49:32 CDT 2004


i don't think any of the extant xml-based gui declaration languages
are satisfactory enough to be relied upon for our "native"
representation.

i still think it is useful to mine the others for ideas, and
be as close as possible.
They almost all have crippling platform issues, which is
why we are talking about Dojo at all (they require a flash
runtime, or a java runtime, or a XUL runtime, etc.).

But their representations aren't bad.
They all have something to offer.
XUL has probably the most powerful support for separating
the selection of data from how it should be shown.
On the other hand, XUL has basically no data binding.
(Actually, if you dig deep enough you will find this
RDF-based horror that I can't even describe without the
nausea overcoming me.)

Of XAML/XUL/Laszlo/Flex, only Laszlo uses xpath in a reasonable
way in data binding. Even then, they only use a sort of
"almost xpath" syntax with variable names prefixing expressions.

They all differ considerably in how they address binding
of gui event handlers, styling, remote data services, 
inclusion of client-side css or script code, etc.

btw, some interesting smorgasbord pages are:
  http://www.theopensourcery.com/xmlria.htm
  http://xul.sourceforge.net/challenge.html
  (Greg Bauer has this bizarre fixation on calling everything XUL;
   just ignore that)

I'd suggest that after a due amount of study (which you may have
already completed), just start writing some sample components
in a vocabulary you make up, to implement some demo app
you already have in mind. Then that can be molded back to
similarity to existing precedents as need be. Sort of like
building the chunnel.

I'd be interested in roundtrip translation with any xml gui
vocabulary that has an open source visual gui builder that
(a) is platform agnostic, and (b) doesn't suck.
So far, as far as I can tell, there aren't any.
There are a whole bunch of eclipse plugins (VE, V4ALL,
Eclipse Designer, WebOnSwing, Big Splash, etc.) but
so far they all seem to be a joke relative to what
commercial gui builders can do.
Since IBM seems to be behind VE, maybe that'll be
the horse to ride, to ultimately get something
akin to Flex Builder.
(Glade doesn't count because it fails (a); it isn't
platform agnostic and doesn't have a clean independent gui
markup language.)

-mda




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