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Re: Improving xsl stylesheet
From: Fyodor <fyodor () insecure org>
Date: Wed, 1 Feb 2006 18:54:56 -0800

On Wed, Feb 01, 2006 at 11:29:24PM +0100, Benjamin Erb wrote:

I'll have some free time in the next days so I'd like to improve the 
stylesheet used for nmap.
I already got some ideas what to change and to improve. For instance, 
I'd like to make the
stylesheet work with Transformiix (the current sheet got some problems 
so I had to disable
timestamp conversion on Mozilla-based viewers). Also the stylesheet for 
printing could have
a better layout. And  I also want to make the output more efficient.

However, there are some general issues I am really note sure about.
Should I add more comfortable functions based on JavaScript? Or should I 
try to do strip
anything but plain XHTML code?
Should there be an unified simple style for all uses or should it 
contain (more) special styles
for screens, printers, handhelds etc.?
Is there anything important missing in the current stylesheet or do you 
have any suggestions?

Once again, I'll stick to the current nmap.dtd shipped with the source 
of the current release.

Hi Benjamin.  I'm glad to hear about your improvement plans for the
XSL.  It is an important component, which I mentioned quite
prominantly in the 4.00 release announcement.  Hopefully other people
will send their desires, but my suggestions are:

o Try to degrade gracefully.  Snazzy JavaScript may be helpful, but
  the fundamentals should still work on non-javascript browsers.

o I don't know that there are enough users to warrant a special
  handheld style.  If their handheld doesn't render the converted
  XHTML properly, they can always use the normal/interactive mode on
  their handheld until they gain access to a real computer.

o I would avoid requiring the availability of special images and the
  like -- it is nice to have the reports as portable as possible. 

o It would be nice to fix some of the times used.  My Firefox
  1.5-rendered version says things like "nmap was initiated at
  1138848144", even though Nmap has for a long time had an alternative
  string element too (start="1138848144" startstr="Wed Feb 1 18:42:24

o For some reason, my Firefox won't load a remote stylesheet from an
  XML on the local hard drive.  Shrug, maybe this is done for security
  reasons or maybe it is just my installation.  But for whatever reason,
  I get a blank page when I try to view /tmp/test.xml, which was
  generated with --webxml.  But if I put the same file on my webserver
  and load it via http, it renders fine.  Or if I rerun the scan without
  --webxml, it renders fine straight from the filesystem.

o A optional view mode people could select which would put everything into one
  big spreadsheet/table, which includies the IP addresses as well as the
  info currently included in the ports table, would likely be useful.
  Especially if they could click a column to sort it.  But maybe this
  would be too much of a pain.

o Compatability is definitely very important.  Most of the features
should work on recent versions of Firefox and IE.  The basics should
(if possible) work on Safari, Opera, Lynx, etc.

Anyway, I look forward to your changes!


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