Pomade: Poor Man's DSSSL Environment

This is the Pomade homepage, located at http://www.saremba.de/pomade.

Pomade is a free tool. It lets you define a Graphical User Interface to specify parameters for outputting an SGML/XML file in printed or online form.

What is DSSSL?

DSSSL is an ISO standard from the world of SGML, the Standard Generalized Markup Language; it is equally useful for SGML's younger sibling, XML, the eXtensible Markup Language.

What are SGML and XML?

You will not get much profit from this page if you lack a solid understanding of these topics; in this case, you should first consult Robin Cover's SGML/XML page.

What does DSSSL mean?

The acronym DSSSL stands for Document Style Semantics and Specification Language, and if this name sounds intimidating and complex to you, you've got the correct impression. DSSSL is intimidating and complex for the normal user and sometimes even for the expert. But the name simply means that the standard (ISO 10179) specifies what the word "style" means in the context of structured documents, and that it specifies a language that describes how a structured document is presented in print or online form. (It even does a bit more, defining a language for transformations, but that's beyond our scope here).

Thanks to one of most influential persons in the world of SGML/XML, James Clark, there is a high quality tool for DSSSL that is accessible to everybody. Jade (James's Amazing DSSSL Engine) is a nearly complete implementation of (the style language of) this large and complex standard; it consists of a C++ library and a command line application, available in source code for the major platforms used today (Win32 and Unix/Linux).

Given an SGML or XML document and a DSSSL stylesheet, Jade produces an output file in the desired format. Jade has backends for several formats, including RTF (for Winword), MIF (for Adobe's FrameMaker) and Donald Knuth's TeX.

What is Pomade?

Pomade is a configurable graphical frontend for Jade; it is implemented in the multi-platform scripting language Tcl/Tk and therefore runs under Win32 and Unix/X11. (Potentially also under Mac/OS, but there's no Jade for the Macintosh.)

You can customize Pomade for your own needs; it comes with a sample configuration for Docbook (the de facto standard for documentation in the SGML world) and Norman Walsh's DSSSL stylesheets for Docbook. Here are two screenshots that were taken when I produced Pomade's documentation using this configuration:

Starting Pomade is easy even for a normal user once the system has been configured properly by the local SGML guru. Just select an SGML or XML file in Explorer or your favorite file manager and choose from the context menu:

Selecting Pomade from the context menu

Pomade will then be started with the selected file and the associated Pomade spec (docbook.pmd in this case). Generating output is now as easy as pressing the big green button labeled "Run Jade". You will see the command that is executed by Jade and a message indicating success or failure:

Pomade screenshot

How to get Pomade

If you want to try Pomade, downlad the distribution of Version V1.00, either

How to get the other tools

Unsurprisingly, the other tools mentioned here (Jade, Tcl/Tk etc.) can be obtained via the Internet. Pomade's documentation has the relevant links. It is contained in the distribution, but you also view it online.

Providing feedback

Whether you like it or not, please tell me what you think about Pomade after you tried it.

© 1998-2000 Andreas Saremba (andreas@saremba.de)

This page was last updated on February 26th, 2000.