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document production options

Subject: document production options
From: Francis Norton <francis@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 11 Sep 2000 17:11:13 +0100
xml fo page break
Hi,

We're currently developing a document production function for one or
more commercial web applications.

I am actively investigating an FO/PDF solution, and I would be very
interested in your thoughts on some of the following questions.

[0]	background: I'm interested in printing retail financial documents,
like statements and agreements, both of which need explicit page
breaking. We also need support for embedded (dumb) graphics and being
able to print mixed orientation text (landscape and portrait) on the
same page. The application will be running in Windows NT, so Java
connectivity will be possible but COM will be slicker.

[1]	How stable and/or viable is the XSL/FO spec? I see that it is
currently in last call working draft, and is supported with different
levels of completeness by the tools mentioned in the
http://www.w3.org/Style/XSL/ list of XSL-FO processors. This seems a
reasonably strong case to me - have I overlooked any other major
confidence or fear factors?

[2]	In the case of some letters and all statements we need to evaluate
the space required to print variable length and/or variable count data
items in order to get the page break in the right place. As Max
Froumentin mentioned here recently, this is a well known problem (see
http://redrice.com/xml/xslReporting.html for my analysis of the
requirement) which is not addressed in XSL-FO. Does anyone have a
framework for addressing it, for instance by the use of APIs to the
XSL-FO processor? Or does any competitive technology address this
problem?

[3]	I'm aware that RenderX plan to release a utility to convert
HTML+CSS2 to XML-FO. Are there any other routes for generating XSL-FO
documents graphically, or is that way down the road? How about RTF or
PDF to XSL-FO?

[4]	Are there any obvious alternative technologies? I'm thinking about
HTML+CSS2 which I believe is printable via the IE5 COM object, and
possibly SVG which seems to to be hitting prime time. To what extent are
these rivals, and what complementary?

Many thanks for your time and thoughts!

Francis.
-- 
Francis Norton.

Defy Convention? Deify Convention!


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