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Re: XSL-Fo to PDF

From: David Tolpin <dvd@renderx.com>
Date: Fri, 22 Feb 2002 02:31:17 +0400 (AMT)
Message-Id: <200202212232.CAA02406@mix.aua.am>
To: Isterin@ciber.com (Sterin, Ilya)
> David, thanks.  I totally understand your question of why C? :-)
> Well I'm currently implementing a Perl library for XSL-Fo to PDF and it is
> starting to get pretty complex with all the PDF formating and other
> internals, so I thought I would just extend the C libs with Perl's extension
> facilities (XS) and be done and over with it:-)  But I guess it wasn't meant
> to be that easy, so off on a mission I am.

The first version of RenderX XEP was written in perl with PDF backend
making use of pdflib (www.pdflib.com). While perl had been an excellent
prototyping tool I am inclined to think that XSL FO to PDF in perl is not
of much use unless it is a very limited implementation. 

Since I'd gone through it once (XEP version in perl was capable of many
formatting features some widely used implementations don't have still,
including complex table layout, footnotes, multicolumn text and other
features) but perl is not the best tool to manipulate with data
structures suitable for complex rendering (at least not with those
I was able to design). 

Time will show, but if I were offered a perl XSL-FO to PDF now again
I would choose a language I am comfortable with for manipulation
with complex data structures and dynamic data types (and with good
- not perl's reference counting - garbage collector) and a translator
from that language to C, and then connect the engine to perl as a C library
(A while ago I had wrote an Oberon-to-C translator -- would be almost
a perfect tool for that approach).

On the other hand, there have been several seemingly successful efforts
to integrate perl with Java. Why not just to use one of those tool
and a (the) free XSL FO to PDF formatter for your purposes?

David Tolpin
Received on Thursday, 21 February 2002 17:31:25 UTC

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