Document Style Semantics and Specification Language

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Document Style Semantics and Specification Language (DSSSL) is a computer language for specifying stylesheets for SGML documents, based on a subset of the Scheme programming language. It is specified by the standard ISO/IEC 10179:1996. It was developed by ISO/IEC JTC1/SC34 (ISO/IEC Joint Technical Committee 1, Subcommittee 34 - Document description and processing languages).[1][2]

SGML contains information in a machine-readable but not very human-readable format. A "stylesheet" is used to present the information stored in SGML in a more pleasing or accessible way. DSSSL can convert to a wide range of formats, including RTF, HTML, and LaTeX.

Although compatible with any SGML, DSSSL is most often used with DocBook.

With the appearance of XML as an alternative to SGML, XML's associated stylesheet language XSL was also widely and rapidly adopted, from around 1999. Although DSSSL continued in use within the shrinking SGML field, XSL was very soon in use more extensively, and by more coders, than DSSSL had ever achieved. This was emphasised when previous SGML strongholds such as DocBook converted from SGML to XML, and also converted their favoured stylesheet language from DSSSL to XSL.

DSSSL was thought to be too complex for the World Wide Web, and the World Wide Web Consortium thought about creating a DSSSL-Lite.[3]

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