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Re: XSLFO WYSIWYG designer

From: G. Ken Holman <gkholman@CraneSoftwrights.com>
Date: Wed, 08 Jun 2011 14:01:46 -0400
Message-Id: <7.0.1.0.2.20110608134647.024a1be8@wheresmymailserver.com>
To: www-xsl-fo@w3.org
At 2011-06-08 09:38 -0700, ricky_leo wrote:
>I am trying to create XSLFO WYSIWYG designer which is more suitable to my
>requirements.

Wow!  I wish you luck.  I think that is an ambitious 
project.  Perhaps too ambitious.

What is your frame of reference?  Are you creating final-form 
documents simply for rendering, or are you creating a transformation 
specification for XSLT to translate an arbitrary input into an XSL-FO output?

If the latter, remember that XSLT is Turing complete, meaning it is a 
full programming language providing arbitrary transformation 
capability.  How will you be able to frame your users' arbitrary 
requirements in a graphical interface?

>Could anyone of you suggest an appropriate UI framework with
>which I will be able to achieve this?

Well, I've been told that AbiWord http://www.abisource.com outputs 
XSL-FO (but I haven't tried it myself since around 2001).  Perhaps 
you can build on top of that somehow.  But my understanding is that 
is only an export format of the final form of a document.  It 
provides no help in building a transformation framework.  You just 
get an XSL-FO representation of your document.

I don't know if it provides any kind of integration or not ... but at 
one point with native support of exporting XSL-FO instances, it may be a help.

>Note: It is really important to have it as WYSIWYG. I am planning to have
>the final output format as PDF using Apache FOP.

Fine.  But what is your input?  Is it an XSL-FO instance or an XSLT 
stylesheet creating an XSL-FO output?

I've taught XSL-FO worldwide since April 2001 and the question often 
comes up in the classroom "why do I have to code this XSLT by hand 
... why isn't there a GUI tool around to do this?"  I've always said 
how I don't think such is possible.  Any limits one would put on 
their perspective of what is "valid" input and what are "appropriate" 
transformations are never going to be general enough for all 
users.  And if you do find a subset suitable for a user community, 
their needs may grow to exceed those capabilities, and then they are 
lost by having used a tool that doesn't meet their needs and not 
knowing the underlying technology in order for them to get what they require.

But that could just be considered my bias as an instructor.  YMMV.

I hope this helps.  Good luck in your development!

. . . . . . . . . Ken

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Received on Wednesday, 8 June 2011 18:02:46 GMT

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