W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-xsl-fo@w3.org > March 2007

Is this stuff ready for prime time?

From: Howard, Chris <HowardC@prpa.org>
Date: Fri, 2 Mar 2007 14:20:12 -0700
Message-ID: <1305E9F69BC3CE49ABCDC8E00492F702017A8DC6@titan.internal.prpa.org>
To: <www-xsl-fo@w3.org>


I am a database and systems administrator at a small public utility
company.  We print and mail out bills to customers every month.

The software package we run gives us a flat-file containing all of the
bill information for one "cycle". Currently we run this through a
perl program, creating PCL files which then go to a HP LaserJet 8100
printer.  We print something on the order of 7000 utility bills every
day.  The documents themselves aren't very complicated.  We have a
couple of 
small graphics, and at the moment everything is one side
of one page.  We do have some decision-making in the code which
combines some bill items into single line charges.  Sometimes
we display particular services/rates in a slightly different manner.
My program also creates an XML file representing the printed bill
so that larger customers can have a computerized version to slurp
into their accounting systems.

The future holds an upgrade to this software package and I will
need to rework some of the bill printing process.

I'm considering the idea investing some effort into making
this all work with XSLT/XSL-FO.  I would convert the flat file into
XML, then use XSLT to do my logic and XSL-FO to do the printing... I
I can't afford to spend either months in training or hundreds of
of dollars in new software.

What I would like to know is,  are the current crop of free tools
(apache FOP and others) ready for this kind of operation?
Are they speedy enough to get my bills formatted and printed every

I'm reading "Beginning XSLT" by Tennison.  What else should I be doing?

Received on Saturday, 3 March 2007 00:30:00 UTC

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