XSL-FO
Making XML Look Good in Print
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Released: August 2002
Pages: 284

No matter how flexible and convenient digital information has become, we haven't done away with the need to see information in print. Extensible Style Language-Formatting Objects, or XSL-FO, is a set of tools developers and web designers use to describe page printouts of their XML (including XHTML) documents. If you need to produce high quality printed material from your XML documents, then XSL-FO provides the bridge.

XSL-FO is one of the few books to go beyond a basic introduction to the technology. While many books touch on XSL-FO in their treatment of XSLT, this book offers in-depth coverage of XSL-FO's features and strengths. Author Dave Pawson is well known in the XSLT and XSL-FO communities, and maintains the XSLT FAQ. An online version of this book has helped many developers master this technology. XSL-FO is the first time this reference is available in print.

The first part of the book provides an overview of the technology and introduces the XSL-FO vocabulary. The author discusses how to choose among today's implementations, explains how to describe pages, and shows you what is going on in the processor in terms of layout. You'll learn about the basics of formatting and layout as well as readability.

The second part focuses on smaller pieces: blocks, inline structures, graphics, color and character level formatting, concluding by showing how to integrate these parts into a coherent whole. XSL-FO also explores organizational aspects you'll need to consider?how to design your stylesheets strategically rather than letting them evolve on their own.

XSL-FO is more than just a guide to the technology; the book teaches you how to think about the formatting of your documents and guides you through the questions you'll need to ask to ensure that your printed documents meet the same high standards as your computer-generated content. Written for experienced XML developers and web designers, no other book contains as much useful information on this practical technology.

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oreillyXSL-FO
 
3.8

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(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

 
4.0

Sampler Samples :)

By Anonymous

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly XSL-FO:

This is probably the best XSL-FO book to date, although it is somewhat complicated. For XSL-FO (and XML/XSLT) examples that are more accessible you may want to read first Ecrion's XSL-FO tutorial (http://www.ecrion.com/XF/TechnicalResources/XSL-FOTutorial/toc.xml.html) , then read again this book.

 
4.0

XSL-FO Review

By Matt Gramlich

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly XSL-FO:

The author is well versed on the topic and the book reads like a conversation. There is a lot of information contained within its 250 pages and I found the best way to read it was to read through it completely, without trying to grab every term and concept. After completing the book, you will have a very good idea what you can and cannot accomplish with XSL-FO. You should then return to the book as reference material, and more closely scrutinized the chapters that pertain to the task at hand.

Within each chapter there are usually small tips and advise that will help an unexperienced FO developer from spending too much time attempting to force FO to do something that it cannot or was not meant to do. A prior understanding of XSLT will be good before reading this book. In the appendices is a nice comparison of the current FO Parsers and toolkits. I recommend checking the website (http://www.dpawson.co.uk) for more current information regarding FO Parsers.

Additionally, I applaud the author for choosing the GNU Free Document License.

If you are looking for a quick start into XSL-FO, then this is not the book for you. You will be better served reading the XSL-FO chapter in "XML in a Nutshell" and then purusing a XSL-FO Cookbook or online examples. However, if you want to really understand FO stylesheets and master advanced usage, I recommend this book and the W3C specification as your primary reading sources

 
3.0

XSL-FO Review

By Douglas Rowe From the Columbia Java Users Group

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly XSL-FO:

Armed with only the most rudimentary understanding of XSLT, I found this book a little overwhelming. It's not a "cookbook", though the examples are good. There are a few places where it seems to dwell on minutia, but mostly it moves along at a jog to brisk run pace. I got a better understanding of the topic and and am prepared to do more research, but this could not be my only reference.

(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

 
4.0

XSL-FO Review

By Robin Joinson

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly XSL-FO:

Having learned XML and XSLT fundamentals, I was struggling with XSL-FO until this book came along.

Dave Pawson's exposition of XSL-FO is very well laid out,taking the reader through the various aspects of the XSL-FO specification in a logical order and in a way which enabled me to get results quickly.

The appendices provide a valuable additional resource.

It would be nice to see a companion volume (perhaps in the oreilly workbook style) showing some sample applications developed with some of the leading tools. The relative lack of tool specific information still left me with a lot of work to do and I'm often in the position of not being sure whether there is a compliance issue with the tool I'm using (FOP) or with my level of knowledge.

I would recommend this book to anyone seriously interested in producing printed output from XML.

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