RE: [xsl] FO to format unstructured XML containing "tabs"

Subject: RE: [xsl] FO to format unstructured XML containing "tabs"
From: "Kyle Partridge" <kpartridge@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 19 Dec 2003 11:54:34 -0500
Hi Ken,

After looking more into the formatting of the inline-container stuff you
mentioned, I think I have found a good reason to use either tables, or
leaders.  I'm not sure yet what those higher up will decide, but my
reasoning is, if you had three items, and you used inline containers to
line those up - if the third item *only* wrapped around, that works out
OK...but what if the first item *and* the third item wrapped around?
Maybe I did something wrong, but I got something like this:

item1ite item2     item3item3item3
m1item1  item3item3item3item3item3

which I personally think is more confusing than either the table option
or the leader option.  My XSLT will wind up being complicated anyway,
but even more-so I guess because I want to differentiate between
"systematic" use of tabs (calling for a table treatment) and
"incidental" use of tabs (calling for leader treatment).  I'm not sure
what "rule" I can use to ascertain which is appropriate, but if I can
come up with something that looks decent 75% of the time, I guess I'm
happy...for now.

Does this seem reasonable or ridiculous to you?  

I so appreciate your insights on this.


-----Original Message-----
From: G. Ken Holman [mailto:gkholman@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] 
Sent: Tuesday, December 16, 2003 2:30 PM
To: xsl-list@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: RE: [xsl] FO to format unstructured XML containing "tabs"

At 2003-12-16 13:39 -0500, Kyle Partridge wrote:
>ASCII art sometimes doesn't reflect a lot of nuance ... are you just
>showing that item5 begins to the right of item2?
>         Yes, exactly.

Fine ... that can be fixed by an inline container.

>Where do you want item3 if item2 is longer than the tab location?
>         Hmmm... That's a good question.
>         What I want is for these "tabs" to behave like "tabs" behave
>a word-processing, if item4 runs over it's allotted space,
>then, "pressing" tab should just bring you to the next "tab stop".

That I cannot do for you in XSL-FO ... this is because at transformation

time one has no idea of formatted lengths.

>If <p tabs="0.2 1.2 2.2">

Are those inches?  You still haven't described what this is for a 

>then that should indicate "tab stops" within
>the paragraph block? Sort of like (* indicating a "tab stop"):
>  item    item2   item3
>  item4   item5 blah blah and if i say <tab> now, nothing happens,
>are no more tabs
>If item2 is longer than the tab location:
>  item    item2 goes on too long...item3 (because the tab before 3 is

Being the last tab stop, my ideas would work, but if item1 went past the

desired stop of item2 I could not provide for you item2 starting at
item3 would have started.  Given that item1 overflows its tab, I could 
start item3 as far away from the start of item2, with item2 starting 
shortly after (or immediately after) item1 ... would that be acceptable?
acknowledge that on a long list of lines on a page this would stick out 
like a sore thumb.

If not, then we know right away (I think) that XSL-FO cannot give you
you are looking for ... yet another reason to do this.

Truncating the data would guarantee that all of the columns would line
but then you'd be missing data.

Wrapping the data in a tap stop would guarantee that all of the columns 
would line up and you wouldn't be missing any data, but you would get
doubled-up lines.  You could distinguish the starts of lines by having
wrapped tab stops be indented.

Would either of the above be acceptable?

BTW, for those on the list who attended my presentation last week at 
XML'2003 on formatting specifications, doing this is what I called
the prototype in XSL-FO, which is done after someone might produce a
in some other technology for visualization.

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

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G. Ken Holman                 mailto:gkholman@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
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