|SGML on the Desktop / 2. Which tools do I use? / 2.2. Which parser/formatter?|
It is another part of the point of SGML, that the decision about which parser/formatter to use is quite separate from the decision about what DTD to use. Since SGML is a carefully defined standard, all SGML tools will be able to interwork, and will be to some extent interchangeable. The decision about which to use depends on your budget, what local expertise is available, and on what tools your collaborators will be using.
The following are random notes on some of the better known systems.
nsgmls), a DSSSL engine (Jade), and support for HyTime and XML, as well as other useful SGML tools. It is extremely high quality, and very responsive to changing standards. It is available for Unix and Windows-NT. The only downside is that although the SP documentation is clear and complete, it is extremely terse, and there is no handholding available.
The language DSSSL (Document Semantics and Style Specification Language) is a recently defined standard for expressing how an SGML document is to be converted (formatted). XSL (XML Stylesheet Language) is a similar, and developing, standard for XML. CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) is an unrelated, and now probably obsolete, standard for HTML).
The intention is that once you have expressed your DTD's semantics in DSSSL, you can use any DSSSL engine to do the actual down-conversion, just as you can use any SGML parser to interpret your document. At present, James Clark's Jade is the only tool I know of to implement it, but its use should spread. Using DSSSL might be slightly harder work than using some proprietary system for formatting but, given that the language is more widely taken up, it should be future-proof.
21 July 1998