Re: [xsl] XSL-FO versus PostScript

Subject: Re: [xsl] XSL-FO versus PostScript
From: Wendell Piez <wapiez@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 28 Feb 2003 10:19:13 -0500
Hey Zack,

At 10:06 PM 2/27/2003, you wrote:
I asked why we should prefer XSL-FO over PostScript, since PostScript is
more powerful. The reply was that PostScript didn't have the high level
document features provided by XSL-FO. So now my reply is, TeX provides
those high-level features, *and* it allows PostScript constructs that
give the full power of PostScript to the user. Is there another reason
to prefer XSL-FO?

XSL-FO is relatively more intelligible to the average typographer or layout designer than (raw) TeX. At least in theory. So for them at least (or is it "us"?) it's easier to write transforms quickly and efficiently for the 80% of content-driven layout applications that are targetted by XSL-FO.

If you happen to be a TeX/PostScript expert and you can do better than FO at defining higher-level formatting primitives (and believe me, unless you want major work with each new stylesheet, you'll be doing this before long, though they may be disguised at first as an XSLT template library ;-) -- it would be a major contribution to do so! XSL 2.0 is bound to benefit.

Sebastian Rahtz has implemented an FO processor in TeX. And earlier, IBM had a product, TeXML I think it was, which provided a declarative XML layer over TeX that you could target in a transform ... then a back end processor could render it into TeX. (Ah, now I see Joe K. has mentioned that. Check out

So it's not really either/or.



> In particular in FO there is no feedback from the typeset constructs to
> the layout engine so you can't ask as you can in PS or TeX, "does this
> fit here" changing that would be a big change to FO.
> David
>  XSL-List info and archive:

Zack Brown

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