We have experimented here at MHS with XSL:FO using the FOP processor and
have frankly concluded that it would be a lot simpler to continue our
existing process. We have an existing workflow that functions, we didn't
need to work out all the semantic details of the FO syntax, and Saxon is a
lot simpler to configure than FOP.
We will continue to use XSLT to generate a document with HTML display
semantics, import the resulting HTML file into Word 2000, make a few changes
in Word such as adding page breaks and running headers, and print out the
resulting file for use in our reading room.
That said, there is no reason why an archives would not want to use FO,
especially if starting from scratch. The semantics of FO are not that much
different from HTML (though much more robust) once you get past the page
The intellectual and graphic processes are still the same- you need to
figure out how you want your print or online document to look, you have to
determine what specifications in FO or HTML will produce that presentation,
you have to understand the syntax of EAD so as to know where the data is
coming from in your source file with respect to the output, and you have to
understand the syntax of XSLT and XPath so as to make that marriage happen.
From a technical viewpoint, there is one more piece of software to
configure, your FO processor. Otherwise, the number of processes is the
same whether you follow our approach or move to an FO processor to produce
your print output.
From: Michael Rush [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Tuesday, April 22, 2003 10:32 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: XSL FO
Are any of you using XSLFO to create print versions of your finding aids?
I'm just beginning to experiment with FO, and am looking for guidance.
Although it seems a bit more technical than our old friend XSLT, I think I
can sort out the issues of creating .fo files from my .xml EAD files.
However, what I thought would be the easy part is proving to be a tad
mystifying. What rendering engines are people using to create printable
files from their .fo files? What formats are you creating? Are you
performing the transformations from the command line or have you automated
I'm looking for a simple solution for the time being, just so I can start
creating .fo files and render them so I can see the results. I've tried to
experiment with JFOR and FOP, but have been stymied for various reasons.
Any and all advice and guidance is appreciated.
Michael Rush - Manuscript Processor
Massachusetts Historical Society
[log in to unmask] - http://www.masshist.org
(617)646-0553 - (617)859-0074 (fax)
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