RE: Word -> XSL
> This is what I understand about what you want to do: > > - you receive "templates" from restaurants that designed them > themselves using either MS-Word or MS-Excel (one restaurant > sends one template that's specific to its needs and that > will ever only be used by this one restaurant) > > - you want to transform the received files into actual > templates (meaning a general layout and variables), either > by using directly Office "Open" XML formats ("Option 1") or > transforming the templates into FO files ("Option 2") > > - once this is done you'll be able to generate "on the fly" > wine lists using a database of wines and the specific template > of each restaurant. > > You would also like to do this using XML / XSLT. I came to the same conclusion about the requirements, though I wasn't at all sure I'd got it right. I think that unless you severely constrain the way in which Word or Excel are used, this is going to be very difficult - it reduces to an exercise in pattern recognition. There are so many ways of achieving the same output in Word, and most "amateur" users fail to make proper use of high-level structuring facilities such as styles, tables, nested headings, and the like. A better approach might be to issue restaurants with a simple design kit like the one sometimes used for web site starter kits. Give them a basic menu design, and let them change things like fonts, page sizes, column layouts, images etc in a controlled way (through a GUI where they can instantly see the effect of their changes). Supply the actual data (dishes and prices) in a spreadsheet form of your own design, which they can also modify to represent their own dishes. Regards, Michael Kay http://www.saxonica.com/ http://twitter.com/michaelhkay > > If the above is correct: > > - I would not attempt Option 2 in any case; making an FO > template from a Word file that may include pics, specific > and maybe non-standard layout made from amateur designers > (ie, restaurant owners) is going to be very hard if not > impossible; it may be justified if there were some economies > of scale to be made (one template for many restaurants), > but not here (unless there is some kind of automatic > Word-to-FO tool that I'm unaware of?) > > - Option 1 does not sound great either: XSLT is not a search > and replace utility (it transforms one tree into another > tree), and an Office XML file is composed of many files > in a zip package, that are not very easy to manipulate > > - What I would try would be to use RTF; RTF files are simple > text files that can be manipulated with any ordinary > search and replace utility: > > - save the templates received from restaurants into RTF > files, with specific variable names where needed > (Excel layouts can be first transformed to Word tables > before being saved to RTF) > > - when generating a new wine list, search > and replace variable names with new values > > Another approach many be to provide restaurants with a > general (and rather strict) layout that they may customize > (responsibly); if it is possible to impose this, Option 2 may > make sense, because you'd have to develop the FO just once; > but if you need to give maximum freedom to restaurants, I > suggest you try the RTF solution. > > Hope this helps. > Regards, > EB > > > > -----Original Message----- > > From: Schultz, Len [mailto:len@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] > > Sent: Monday, January 04, 2010 7:30 PM > > To: xsl-list@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx > > Subject: Word -> XSL > > > > > > Hello, > > > > I am building a web application that will allow restaurants > to easily > > create custom beverage (e.g. wine) menus utilizing a > central database > > of beverage products. Key to this is making it really easy to have > > each restaurant specify and implement their look and feel > into their > > menus. The effort needs to be extremely light weight: > we'll have to > > do potentially 1000 different menu templates for 1000 different > > restaurants. FYI, today 90% of menus are done in MS Word, > another 9% > > done in MS Excel, and the remaining 1% is probably Adobe InDesign, > > Quark, and MS Publisher. > > > > I want to implement this using XML and XSLT. The question > I have for > > this group is the plusses and minuses of 2 different > targets for the > > transformation. > > > > Option 1 is to transform to WordML and SpreadsheetML. This has the > > benefits of 1) having the restaurant send us their design in > > Word/Excel, then all we have to do is create an XSLT to replace the > > data. And 2) if there are changes or adjustments to make in the > > layout, the restaurant can then make those changes in > Word/Excel, and > > we just create a new XLST. > > > > Option 2 is to transform to XSL (aka XSL-FO). This has the > benefits > > that 1) we can transform to PDF, which would cover the 1% > that don't > > have Word/Excel. And 2) we can keep people in our system to make. > > But I don't know how we can easily create the XSL from sample menus > > sent to us in Word. I also don't know what kind of layout change > > process would work (our web application might need to be > robust enough > > to allow users to fine-tune layout changes online) > > > > I'd like to tackle the first issue first. Does anyone have > insights > > into how XSL could be created from a sample Word document, and the > > effort involved in creating that XSL? > > > > --len
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