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Re: Future of XSL-FO at W3C??

xsl fo xpress
On Sunday 20 October 2002 9:40 pm, J.Pietschmann wrote:
> Ian Tindale wrote:
>  > ...
> >
> > The flow notion is quite odd, ...
> > Look at the internal document object model of (admittedly a proprietary
> > solution, but one that works in the real world) QuarkXpress, which is
> > simply a tool that allows a designer to place boxes on a page...
> Umm, I *like* flows, preciesely because I don't want to take
> up the mouse and place all these boxes manually. That's what
> the FO processor is supposed to do for me.

True, there is that. In Xpress one can make a master page set that has an 
automatic text box (perhaps with columns, perhaps with static items repelling 
parts of column flow, etc) and when you import the text it simply flows in, 
generating more pages automatically to fit. Impressive, but most designers 
turn off the feature that generates more pages automatically. If you've got a 
certain allocation of space, that's it - that's your territory, and it isn't 
/ shouldn't change. Unbounded flow can mock this line in the sand.

Basically, I think I'm saying that the flow notion can be harmful unless 
you're a] working on a 'free' media, (such as screen, and scroll down and 
there's more 'screen' - ie, not paper, which costs money per more pages) and 
b] there's in implicit understanding that the flow feature isn't a saviour 
(after a decade of browsers that simply can't present balanced columns 
(sidestepping the argument as to whether side-by-side columns are appropriate 
on electronic screens of unpredictable size or format)), it can get you into 
trouble if left to roam free. 

Don't get me wrong - flow is good - but when it meets paper, and things go 
wrong, it can cost. Ask any beginner designer who doesn't know how to set 
section-starts in Xpress and keeps having to hide those 10 or 20 intermediate 
blank pages they keep printing out each time.
Ian Tindale


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