Re: [xsl] XML to PDF (XSL:FO)

Subject: Re: [xsl] XML to PDF (XSL:FO)
From: Wendell Piez <wapiez@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 24 Jun 2008 11:27:23 -0400

At 08:59 AM 6/24/2008, you wrote:
Perhaps, its not the right list to ask this question, but let me take a

This is the perfect list to ask this question.

 Has anyone tried XML to PDF with XSL:FO, like we have XSL Formatter
from Antenna house?


Many guys are using it and even I wanted to test it of my own but somehow
things have deviated to other developments. I was reading somewhere that
many developers are using XSL:FO for business cards, brochure etc, but what
about the professional publishing like books and journals (which we do most
of the time).

Has anybody experienced that or what is the success rate.

How would we measure the success rate?

Let's just say we know of successes.

Much does depend on what kind of books and journals you are talking about. XSL-FO works well for "content-driven" publishing in which the layout specifications are a straightforward reflection of the native organization of the source data, as expressed in its XML markup. This contrasts with what's called "layout-driven" publishing, in which at least some critical layout specifications are determined by factors in the final product, such as the need to arrange and fit regions on the page based on their size when laid out, or other factors extrinsic to the data and its markup.

Utility bills, phone books, conference proceedings, straight prose monographs, and many kinds of technical documentation can all work comfortably as content-driven publications. Newspapers or high-gloss magazines -- or even newsletters that have constraints such as "4 pp. maximum, squeeze to fit if necessary" would be examples of layout-driven publications, which are not handled as well by XSL-FO. The category of "journal publishing" probably falls in the middle somewhere -- that is, whether it works will depend on the specifics of your requirements.

The Extreme conferences used XSL-FO to produce PDF versions of conference papers. For example, see


Good luck,

Wendell Piez                            mailto:wapiez@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Mulberry Technologies, Inc.      
17 West Jefferson Street                    Direct Phone: 301/315-9635
Suite 207                                          Phone: 301/315-9631
Rockville, MD  20850                                 Fax: 301/315-8285
  Mulberry Technologies: A Consultancy Specializing in SGML and XML

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