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Re: Is this stuff ready for prime time?

From: Adrien Guillon <guila@dainty.ca>
Date: Fri, 22 Jun 2007 12:22:03 -0400
To: "Howard, Chris" <HowardC@prpa.org>
Cc: www-xsl-fo@w3.org
Message-Id: <200706221222.03443.guila@dainty.ca>


I don't check this mailing list often, so I didn't see your message until now.

I've implemented document processing at a company, and documents are generated 
using Cocoon with XSL-FO, and the logic is implemented with XSLT 2.0 (Saxon).  
I've only used free tools (Cocoon, Saxon (free edition), FOP).  In the past 
year since this has gone live, many tens of thousands of documents have been 
printed without issue.  The additional advantage of using Cocoon is that 
documents may be viewed directly, so you don't have to go get a paper copy.  
XSLT has been easier to maintain than other logics.

Cocoon processes everything from Orders, Purchase Orders, Invoices, 
Bills-of-Lading, etc.

So yes, it's ready for prime time.

If you are interested I might be able to get a copy of our source code to you, 
which would help get you started... or at least be useful as a proof of 


On Monday 05 March 2007 2:06 pm, Howard, Chris wrote:
> Subject: RE: Is this stuff ready for prime time?
> To: www-xsl-fo@w3.org
> Cc: 
> Thanks to all who have responded to my question.
> Being a one-man-band, my priorities may be somewhat different
> than those of a big document production operation.
> My customers who get paper documents (their utility bill) don't
> really care.  Some customers are sophisticated enough to be interested
> in electronic document formats, for those I am already producing a
> bill in XML format of my own specification.  We are slowly moving toward
> more and more online self-service facilities.  I can see where multiple
> output formats would be a good thing.  At the moment we use the
> individual
> PCL printer files with SwiftView PCL viewer to allow our customer
> service
> call-center people to look at an image of the bill.  PDF would be nice
> for
> the bill image part and for over-the-web or email bill presentation when
> we
> get to that.
> Then there is the bill-designer/graphic artist/bureaucracy customer
> layer.
> It would be useful for me to have a flexible system where the
> bill-designer
> decision makers could actually do the layout themselves.  But with the
> Perl-->PCL approach there is a lot of give and take finding a format
> that
> they like.  We generally don't change the bill layout very often.  But
> it wouldn't bother me to move that whole activity away from my plate.
> It's my general understanding that they want the bill to look a certain
> way...  not like HTML where different browsers render things
> differently,
> more like PDF where it is presented to the customer service rep the
> same way the end customer would have seen it on a piece of paper.
> I'm hoping with increase in different presentation media this will
> soften.
> I consider the logic parts of data reduction/combination to be separate
> from the bill layout/presentation.  The current system has both rolled
> into one monolithic program.  That part I definitely don't like.
> I'm told we could use Docucorp tools or something like that to
> accomplish
> all of this.  But there just isn't the money for it.  They can get me
> to muck around in the Perl code... I don't think they will see the need
> to spend lots of money for alternatives unless/until other issues
> press the need.  So this shift would be mostly for my benefit.
> It sounds like the horsepower of the tools is not a problem.  That's
> good to know.
> I will investigate the training aspect.  I really don't have a lot of
> time to learn this.  So, if it is fraught with pitfalls and potholes,
> it won't happen.  I hate to start down that road if I'm just wasting my
> time.... which is why your responses have been very helpful.
> Thanks!
> Chris
Received on Friday, 22 June 2007 16:22:23 UTC

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