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6273RE: [XSL-FO] Forms in FO

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  • Nicola Harlow
    Mar 22, 2005

      Well I do output in four formats, (HTML, Compiled Help, Online Help,
      PDF), most of which take the forms, so I'm not too bothered. I might
      just create a table people can fill out the old fashioned way (with a
      technology known as print out and write :) so they can contact us if
      they really are desperate to comment! At the moment I just direct them
      to the main help files as I have to have something to replace the topic
      normally filled with HTML forms.

      Hopefully soon I can have space on our website to include a feedback
      form (although perhaps not with just dodgy emailing replies!) and I can
      then link to that from the PDF with a plain old external link ;)


      Nicola Harlow
      Technical Author
      The Program Management Group plc
      tel: +44 (0) 1937 547 171
      direct: +44 (0) 1937 547 165
      fax: +44 (0) 1937 547 154
      mail: nicola.harlow@...
      web: http://www.pm-group.com


      From: G. Ken Holman [mailto:gkholman@...]
      Sent: 22 March 2005 15:46
      To: XSL-FO@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [XSL-FO] Forms in FO

      At 2005-03-22 14:17 +0000, Nicola Harlow wrote:
      >Does anyone have an example of a form in XSL:FO?
      >I want to provide the full monty including drop-down lists etc.
      >At the moment I can only get the users to email back their comments,
      >anything you have would help. Once I understand the basics I can give
      >a hack!
      >I have a version in HTML, but have no idea where to start with getting
      >it into PDF (or even if it's possible).

      The way I approached this problem is to express the form content in XML,

      use one stylesheet for print with XSL-FO, and then another for the web
      server using PHP for dynamic forms interaction. The resulting fields,
      the user presses "Send", are then emailed to me as a well-formed XML

      PHP is powerful, but verbose and sometimes awkward. By learning enough
      to write my XSLT stylesheet to synthesize the resulting PHP page, I have

      now forgotten PHP almost entirely and just write my forms descriptions
      my XML forms vocabulary and my stylesheet does the rest.

      I have it in mind to do the same with XForms ... relearn PHP, write an
      stylesheet that reads the XForms description, and then synthesize the
      needed to present the form dynamically from the server to a simple web
      browser. Then I can forget PHP again and do all my work in XForms
      of my own vocabulary. I've already proven the concept years ago before
      XForms came out, and I think it would be a contribution to the XForms
      community to have such a stylesheet. I'd like to do this with the UBL
      input specifications that are being developed.

      The guest book page on my web site is implemented in this fashion (with
      own vocabulary, not yet with XForms); when you press "Send" you get a
      of the email message with the well-formed instance. It is also used on
      http://xugo.org attendance registration page (btw, for those readers in
      Ottawa area, the next meeting is tonight). Though I haven't had the
      to create a print layout for this page in XSL-FO it would be
      straightforward, and it would be a separate effort.

      I think trying to build any kind of interaction with XSL-FO would be
      misguided. As Eliot said, there are no forms interaction semantics in
      FO vocabulary.

      I hope this helps.

      ................... Ken

      World-wide on-site corporate, govt. & user group XML/XSL training.
      G. Ken Holman mailto:gkholman@...
      Crane Softwrights Ltd. http://www.CraneSoftwrights.com/f/
      Box 266, Kars, Ontario CANADA K0A-2E0 +1(613)489-0999 (F:-0995)
      Male Breast Cancer Awareness http://www.CraneSoftwrights.com/f/bc
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