If we move to a meld like solution we may well end up having nobody who wants to work on presentation logic. I certainly have no interest in using python
to manipulate an XML tree in order to do the equivalent of a tal:repeat.

Yep. This is basically why I think Meld is a slightly dangerous route.

think if we are going to move to some brave new world of designer
friendliness it should probably to be via generation of semantic XML (with
zpts) with XSLT transforms to provide the end-user interface; this would
allow designers to use the available XSLT generation tools to do all sorts of nifty things, while allowing the developers to be removed entirely from
presentation decisions.

XSLT has the benefit that it has a life outside Zope/Plone/Python and has recognition. It may make the "plays well with others" argument a bit stronger...

This would however seem to make it somewhat more
difficult to make rich AJAX-y client side applications with Plone, and limit the audience of potential plone design customizers to those with some XSLT
expertise.  I seriously doubt this is feasible in the near future, and
neither is moving to a meld like system. We are stuck with making an HTML presentation using zpt (which has no peer for generating markup, IMHO), so
we ought to make the most of it.

This is true - XSLT is no silver bullet, and has its own oddness and complexity. What I'd like to see would be a slightly stronger promise that we *can* generate near-100% semantic/structural XHTML. We're not that far off, and the places where we have to jump through hoops for browsers, it's probably to limit it to a few patterns that XSLTs can work around.

Take Paul's Deliverance idea - the themeing is done with XSLT selectors block-replacing from Plone's source XHTML, slotting content, navigation structures etc. into well-defined places in some static theme HTML file. The nicer and cleaner our HTML is (with all stylesheets turned off) the easier that becomes. That themeing layer actually lives outside of Plone, in Apache/mod_python with a bit of XSLT, though the main way of using it is to make an HTML template and a rule file, no code in sight. I don't actually know if this works in real life, and I'm hoping Paul will have time to do a demo and some exploration if we decide this is a worthwhile goal. The useful part of this is that themeing (not really UI, but a large part of the UI to a large group of our users) can actually live outside Plone and outside Plone-specific technologies.

Will it work? I have no idea - I'm hoping for a demo, but using existing tools (Five views, ZPTs) to build semantically sensible XHTML for all of Plone seems a good way to enable such themeing to take place outside of Plone and make the markup we produce more generally useful.



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