XML FO and PDF's?

Discussion in 'XML' started by Simon Harvey, Jul 27, 2003.

  1. Simon Harvey

    Simon Harvey Guest

    Hi there everyone,

    Am I right in thinking that you have to use XML:FO in order to make PDF
    files out of xml files? If this is the case then can someone explain why you
    have to use this other technology instead of just using XSL.

    For making HTML pages, I just use XSL, after all, it has been touted as the
    solution to all our presentation woes. But if this is the case, why then
    does pdf require this other technology, and what exactly does it do?

    I havent been able to get a useful answer to this simple question yet.

    I'm really hoping someone can help

    Many thanks
    Kind Regards

    Simon
    Simon Harvey, Jul 27, 2003
    #1
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  2. Simon Harvey wrote:

    > Am I right in thinking that you have to use XML:FO in order to make PDF
    > files out of xml files? If this is the case then can someone explain why you
    > have to use this other technology instead of just using XSL.
    >
    > For making HTML pages, I just use XSL, after all, it has been touted as the
    > solution to all our presentation woes. But if this is the case, why then
    > does pdf require this other technology, and what exactly does it do?

    Yes, pdf is a horse of another color. It's not SGML-based format (like XML and
    HTML).

    --
    Oleg Tkachenko
    http://www.tkachenko.com/blog
    Multiconn Technologies, Israel
    Oleg Tkachenko, Jul 27, 2003
    #2
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  3. Simon Harvey

    Simon Harvey Guest

    Hi Oleg,

    Could you or anyone else elaborate on that a bit more. I thought that xsl
    was the technology needed to do conversions. Why can it do html but not pdf.
    How does FO relate to xsl?

    Thanks

    Simon
    Simon Harvey, Jul 27, 2003
    #3
  4. Simon Harvey wrote:

    > Could you or anyone else elaborate on that a bit more. I thought that xsl
    > was the technology needed to do conversions. Why can it do html but not pdf.
    > How does FO relate to xsl?


    First of all let's make a difference between XSL and XSLT. As per W3C
    recommendations, XSL = XSL Transformations (XSLT) + XSL-FO vocabulary.
    XSLT is XML transformation language, with predefined XML, HTML and text output
    formats. HTML case is simple - due to ubiquitous web browsers it's just simple
    XML to HTML transformation, XML -> transformation -> HTML.
    But because pdf is binary non-markup-based data format it's unfeasible to
    generate pdf with XSLT (may be only simplest pdf documents). That's by design,
    recall XSLT is *XML* transformation language.
    So, they have created XSL-FO (another descendant of DSSSL, which was (and it
    is) actually XPath+XSLT+XSL-FO all in one). The idea of XSL is to allow to
    produce high-quality document presentation (usually printed one) by expressing
    presentation semantics in XSL-FO and then formatting XSL-FO to actual
    device-specific presentation, see [1]. So there is one more player in this
    scenario - XSL-FO formatter, which formats (and sometimes renders) XSL-FO.
    Usual scenario is XML -> transformation -> XSL-FO -> formatter -> pdf. But
    that's not only scenario. Having GUI-based formatter like AntennaHouse XSL
    formatter it can be XML -> transformation -> XSL-FO -> screen. Otherwise it's
    possible to XML -> transformation -> XSL-FO -> formatter -> printer. Another
    interesting new approach could be
    XML -> transformation -> XSL-FO -> transformation -> WordML document (for
    Microsoft Word 2003).

    [1] http://www.w3.org/TR/xsl/slice1.html#section-N629-Introduction-and-Overview
    --
    Oleg Tkachenko
    http://www.tkachenko.com/blog
    Multiconn Technologies, Israel
    Oleg Tkachenko, Jul 27, 2003
    #4
  5. Simon Harvey

    Han Guest

    Let me shorten Oleg's nice explanation.

    You can use XSLT to transform XML into HTML. By the same token, you can use
    XSLT to transform XML into XSL-FO. XSL-FO and HTML are same in that both are
    final output, not intermediate transformation technology.

    Temporarily XSL-FO document can be formatted to be viewed/printed as PDF,
    EPS, and non-major browser. More than that in the future. Even sound is one
    of the important standards of XSL-FO.

    --
    Please send me lots of spams. I'm testing my message rule blocking spams.
    "Oleg Tkachenko" <oleg@NO_SPAM_PLEASEtkachenko.com> wrote in message
    news:...
    > Simon Harvey wrote:
    >
    > > Could you or anyone else elaborate on that a bit more. I thought that

    xsl
    > > was the technology needed to do conversions. Why can it do html but not

    pdf.
    > > How does FO relate to xsl?

    >
    > First of all let's make a difference between XSL and XSLT. As per W3C
    > recommendations, XSL = XSL Transformations (XSLT) + XSL-FO vocabulary.
    > XSLT is XML transformation language, with predefined XML, HTML and text

    output
    > formats. HTML case is simple - due to ubiquitous web browsers it's just

    simple
    > XML to HTML transformation, XML -> transformation -> HTML.
    > But because pdf is binary non-markup-based data format it's unfeasible to
    > generate pdf with XSLT (may be only simplest pdf documents). That's by

    design,
    > recall XSLT is *XML* transformation language.
    > So, they have created XSL-FO (another descendant of DSSSL, which was (and

    it
    > is) actually XPath+XSLT+XSL-FO all in one). The idea of XSL is to allow to
    > produce high-quality document presentation (usually printed one) by

    expressing
    > presentation semantics in XSL-FO and then formatting XSL-FO to actual
    > device-specific presentation, see [1]. So there is one more player in this
    > scenario - XSL-FO formatter, which formats (and sometimes renders) XSL-FO.
    > Usual scenario is XML -> transformation -> XSL-FO -> formatter -> pdf. But
    > that's not only scenario. Having GUI-based formatter like AntennaHouse XSL
    > formatter it can be XML -> transformation -> XSL-FO -> screen. Otherwise

    it's
    > possible to XML -> transformation -> XSL-FO -> formatter -> printer.

    Another
    > interesting new approach could be
    > XML -> transformation -> XSL-FO -> transformation -> WordML document (for
    > Microsoft Word 2003).
    >
    > [1]

    http://www.w3.org/TR/xsl/slice1.html#section-N629-Introduction-and-Overview
    > --
    > Oleg Tkachenko
    > http://www.tkachenko.com/blog
    > Multiconn Technologies, Israel
    >
    Han, Jul 27, 2003
    #5
  6. Simon Harvey

    Simon Harvey Guest

    Thanks guys, especially Oleg for taking the time to explain that. Thats just
    what I needed so thanks again.

    One thing I'm not sure about. Is the need for FO in addition to xsl based in
    the fact that PDF's are a binary format and html (or more accurately, xhtml)
    are markup technologies like xml. Indeed xhtml is actually valid xml which
    is of course the point. Would it be as simple as XSL - markup, FO - binary?
    or is that an over simplification.

    Are there FO's that can be used to create other doc types?

    Thanks again guys

    Simon
    Simon Harvey, Jul 27, 2003
    #6
  7. Simon Harvey

    Eliza Zadura Guest

    Oleg Tkachenko <oleg@NO_SPAM_PLEASEtkachenko.com> wrote in message news:<>...
    > Simon Harvey wrote:
    >
    > > Could you or anyone else elaborate on that a bit more. I thought that xsl
    > > was the technology needed to do conversions. Why can it do html but not pdf.
    > > How does FO relate to xsl?

    >
    > First of all let's make a difference between XSL and XSLT. As per W3C
    > recommendations, XSL = XSL Transformations (XSLT) + XSL-FO vocabulary.
    > XSLT is XML transformation language, with predefined XML, HTML and text output
    > formats. HTML case is simple - due to ubiquitous web browsers it's just simple
    > XML to HTML transformation, XML -> transformation -> HTML.
    > But because pdf is binary non-markup-based data format it's unfeasible to
    > generate pdf with XSLT (may be only simplest pdf documents). That's by design,
    > recall XSLT is *XML* transformation language.
    > So, they have created XSL-FO (another descendant of DSSSL, which was (and it
    > is) actually XPath+XSLT+XSL-FO all in one). The idea of XSL is to allow to
    > produce high-quality document presentation (usually printed one) by expressing
    > presentation semantics in XSL-FO and then formatting XSL-FO to actual
    > device-specific presentation, see [1]. So there is one more player in this
    > scenario - XSL-FO formatter, which formats (and sometimes renders) XSL-FO.
    > Usual scenario is XML -> transformation -> XSL-FO -> formatter -> pdf. But
    > that's not only scenario. Having GUI-based formatter like AntennaHouse XSL
    > formatter it can be XML -> transformation -> XSL-FO -> screen. Otherwise it's
    > possible to XML -> transformation -> XSL-FO -> formatter -> printer. Another
    > interesting new approach could be
    > XML -> transformation -> XSL-FO -> transformation -> WordML document (for
    > Microsoft Word 2003).
    >
    > [1] http://www.w3.org/TR/xsl/slice1.html#section-N629-Introduction-and-Overview


    "Another interesting new approach could be XML -> transformation ->
    XSL-FO -> transformation -> WordML document (for Microsoft Word
    2003)."

    That would be just what I need! Do you have any information regarding
    this kind of procedure (is it even feasible?) Any links/resources
    regarding this you could point me towards would be greatly
    appreciated!

    Eliza Zadura
    Trainee-Developer
    Eliza Zadura, Jul 31, 2003
    #7
  8. Eliza Zadura wrote:

    > "Another interesting new approach could be XML -> transformation ->
    > XSL-FO -> transformation -> WordML document (for Microsoft Word
    > 2003)."
    >
    > That would be just what I need! Do you have any information regarding
    > this kind of procedure (is it even feasible?) Any links/resources
    > regarding this you could point me towards would be greatly
    > appreciated!


    I'm still investigating this approach aka learning WordML schema.
    Well, resources... XSL-FO is well documented, and WordML - you can download
    Word 2003 CDK to get WordML XML Schema. Additionally MSFT guys has posted
    WordML2HTML stylesheet [1] some time ago, it can be useful also.
    btw, what's your use case?

    [1]
    http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/...63-8e19-4054-b599-70371b6cc2b4&displaylang=en
    --
    Oleg Tkachenko
    http://www.tkachenko.com/blog
    Multiconn Technologies, Israel
    Oleg Tkachenko, Jul 31, 2003
    #8
  9. Simon Harvey

    Rob Tweed Guest

    You may want to have a look at a live demo of XSL-FO => PDF in action,
    in this case the XSL-FO being created programmatically through the
    eXtc XML technology (www.mgateway.com)

    For the demo : www.mgateway.com/pdfsvg.htm

    The idea here is to demonstrate the role of XSL-FO/PDF for creating
    precisely laid out documents within web applications - precise page
    layout for printing (eg labels, official forms, invoices) is not
    practical via the browser.

    Rob

    On Sun, 27 Jul 2003 19:10:56 +0100, "Simon Harvey"
    <sh856531@microsofts_free_emal_service.com> wrote:

    >Thanks guys, especially Oleg for taking the time to explain that. Thats just
    >what I needed so thanks again.
    >
    >One thing I'm not sure about. Is the need for FO in addition to xsl based in
    >the fact that PDF's are a binary format and html (or more accurately, xhtml)
    >are markup technologies like xml. Indeed xhtml is actually valid xml which
    >is of course the point. Would it be as simple as XSL - markup, FO - binary?
    >or is that an over simplification.
    >
    >Are there FO's that can be used to create other doc types?
    >
    >Thanks again guys
    >
    >Simon
    >


    ---
    Rob Tweed
    M/Gateway Developments Ltd

    Global DOMination with eXtc : http://www.mgateway.tzo.com
    ---
    Rob Tweed, Aug 5, 2003
    #9
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