Re: (dsssl) DSSSL stylesheet for xsl fo

Subject: Re: (dsssl) DSSSL stylesheet for xsl fo
From: "G. Ken Holman" <gkholman@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 10 Jan 2001 11:10:01 -0500
At 01/01/10 15:26 +0100, Linda van den Brink wrote:
Last week I was looking for a way to render my XML documents as RTF using
XSL. But apparently, none of the existing XSL renderers can output RTF; all
they do is PDF. So then I thought of using DSSSL, because (Open)Jade does
have an RTF backend. Then David Carlisle gave me the idea that it would be
nice to create a DSSSL stylesheet for XSL FO files.

In 1998 I provisionally announced X2D, a DSSSL stylesheet supporting instances of XSL formatting objects, after a Japanese company made my musings public at a conference in Tokyo. I planned on releasing it as shareware and I just checked and I still make reference to it in my shareware library linked off my home page.

I could have a
stylesheet to create an XSL FO file from an XML document, then use this XSL
FO file to create PDF with FOP, and to create RTF, etc with Jade via this
DSSSL stylesheet.

First question: has anyone already done this?

I quickly decided against doing it after looking at it back then because of lack of support of DSSSL complex page geometry in the available tools. There wasn't enough smarts in DSSSL simple page geometry to support the simple level of page formatting in XSLFO.

I was also concerned that because there is no feedback loop from the formatter to the stylesheet processor (just as with XSLFO), I could not sufficiently accommodate the stacking and ordering algorithms in XSLFO with the available semantics of DSSSL.

Yes, simple things could be done simply, but consider this simple example that I think cannot be supported and co-incidentally happened to be the first thing I tried to implement in DSSSL: xsl:block can have multiple kinds of "space before", each based on a particular formatter situation. The formatter decides which one to use. A DSSSL stylesheet has to sufficiently describe in DSSSL interpretation semantics all aspects the formatter has to deal with. The DSSSL semantics do not reflect all the choices available in XSL, so how could I possible accommodate all the user's requirements when I don't have direct access to the formatter.

So, I decided it was a great idea, but untenable since the DSSSL stylesheet is too far removed, by design, from the actual formatting process. I would *love* to hear that I was wrong in my assessment.

I hope this helps, Linda.

......................... Ken

G. Ken Holman                      mailto:gkholman@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Crane Softwrights Ltd.     
Box 266, Kars, Ontario CANADA K0A-2E0     +1(613)489-0999   (Fax:-0995)
Web site:     XSL/XML/DSSSL/SGML/OmniMark services, training, products.
Book:   Practical Transformation Using XSLT and XPath ISBN1-894049-05-5
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