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7283Re: [XSL-FO] Adobe Mars technology

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  • W. Eliot Kimber
    Nov 10 11:12 AM
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      Andrew Lai wrote:
      > Adobe is coming out with a technology called "Mars". An XML based
      > representation of generating PDF documents.

      It's difficult to see how this really changes things much. It will
      certainly make it easier to develop tools that generate and read PDF,
      but since such tools already exist in a variety of forms and platforms
      that doesn't really change much--anybody who needs to do sophisticated
      things with PDF reading or writing today can already do it.

      But I don't see that it can hurt.

      It at least opens the possibility that you could, for example, generate
      a final form deliverable directly with XSLT, rather than using a library
      to generate PDF. But again, for most people who need that using the
      library isn't that hard as it is and doing the kind of composition that
      you get from FO is beyond what you could realistically do with an XSLT
      anyway (and why would you want to?).

      Maybe it would have some greater value in terms of being able to embed
      foreign vocabularies in the data but you can already do that today with
      PDF (to a degree anyway) and very few tools even take advantage of
      things like tagged PDF.

      This seems most like a reaction to Microsoft's XML Paper Specification
      (XPS: http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/xps/default.mspx), which in turn
      looks like Microsoft trying to do an end-run around Adobe and close the
      loop on the full suite of specifications needed for going from documents
      as authored to documents as delivered. So this feels like a more or less
      pointless standards battle rather than a sincere attempt to provide the
      community with a standardized solution to an as-yet-unmet requirement.

      For print production I don't see that it matters: printing houses are
      all use PDF-based workflows and it's unlikely that that will
      change--there's too much investment in tools and techniques.

      For online delivery I doubt anyone much cares what the delivery format
      is as long as they have a reader. And unless Microsoft simply refused to
      produce PDF as output from its tools (which it can't do) there's little
      motivation for anyone to produce anything other than PDF.

      That is, given the choice between new composition feature X and support
      for direct generation of Mars of XPS output instead of PDF, which would
      you ask your FO engine vendors for? I know my answer....



      W. Eliot Kimber
      Professional Services
      Innodata Isogen
      9390 Research Blvd, #410
      Austin, TX 78759
      (214) 954-5198

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