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XSL-FO and Quark Xpress

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  • icastleton105
    I am an IT project manager for a large UK newspaper publisher. I am investigating the possibility of building a content-sharing system for our 250+ titles to
    Message 1 of 7 , Feb 5, 2004
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      I am an IT project manager for a large UK newspaper publisher. I am
      investigating the possibility of building a content-sharing system
      for our 250+ titles to promote the reuse of articles (such as
      motoring, entertainment, gardening, holidays, etc) in as rich as
      format as possible.

      A major objective of the project is to store sets of layout data with
      each article, each set representing the "shape" with which the
      article has been composed in previous uses. Then a page makeup
      operator can select an article "shape" to fit the space available on
      a page, and place the article with this shape directly on the page
      without having to define the article layout manually.

      I am interested in using XSL-FO as the interchange format for these
      articles, and am looking for tools to convert this into and from the
      proprietary formats used by the page makeup applications we use -
      mainly Quark Xpress, but also Adobe InDesign and others.

      Is anyone aware of a supplier of Quark Xtensions which can import XSL-
      FO and create a Quark "article" (ie a collection of chained text
      boxes into which the article content is placed), and which can export
      such an article into XSL-FO for storage and reuse?
    • Ryan Graham
      You may want to look into XML Toolworks by Media Entities: http://www.mediaentities.com/ It claims to do what you need it to do. HTH, RG ... From:
      Message 2 of 7 , Feb 5, 2004
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        You may want to look into XML Toolworks by Media Entities:

        http://www.mediaentities.com/

        It claims to do what you need it to do.

        HTH,
        RG

        -----Original Message-----
        From: icastleton105 [mailto:ian.castleton@...]
        Sent: Thursday, February 05, 2004 4:50 AM
        To: XSL-FO@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: [XSL-FO] XSL-FO and Quark Xpress


        I am an IT project manager for a large UK newspaper publisher. I am
        investigating the possibility of building a content-sharing system
        for our 250+ titles to promote the reuse of articles (such as
        motoring, entertainment, gardening, holidays, etc) in as rich as
        format as possible.

        A major objective of the project is to store sets of layout data with
        each article, each set representing the "shape" with which the
        article has been composed in previous uses. Then a page makeup
        operator can select an article "shape" to fit the space available on
        a page, and place the article with this shape directly on the page
        without having to define the article layout manually.

        I am interested in using XSL-FO as the interchange format for these
        articles, and am looking for tools to convert this into and from the
        proprietary formats used by the page makeup applications we use -
        mainly Quark Xpress, but also Adobe InDesign and others.

        Is anyone aware of a supplier of Quark Xtensions which can import XSL-
        FO and create a Quark "article" (ie a collection of chained text
        boxes into which the article content is placed), and which can export
        such an article into XSL-FO for storage and reuse?


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      • Dave Pawson
        Call me cynical, but XML and UK publishers seem about 15 years out of synch? If you want to go the xml route, its doable, but expect the huh response from
        Message 3 of 7 , Feb 5, 2004
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          Call me cynical, but XML and UK publishers
          seem about 15 years out of synch?

          If you want to go the xml route,
          its doable, but expect the 'huh' response
          from many of your colleagues.

          I hope I'm wrong btw.

          regards DaveP


          >-----Original Message-----
          >From: icastleton105 [mailto:ian.castleton@...]
          >Sent: Thursday, February 05, 2004 4:50 AM
          >To: XSL-FO@yahoogroups.com
          >Subject: [XSL-FO] XSL-FO and Quark Xpress
          >
          >
          >I am an IT project manager for a large UK newspaper publisher. I am
          >investigating the possibility of building a content-sharing system
          >for our 250+ titles to promote the reuse of articles (such as
          >motoring, entertainment, gardening, holidays, etc) in as rich as
          >format as possible.
          >
          >A major objective of the project is to store sets of layout data with
          >each article, each set representing the "shape" with which the
          >article has been composed in previous uses. Then a page makeup
          >operator can select an article "shape" to fit the space available on
          >a page, and place the article with this shape directly on the page
          >without having to define the article layout manually.
          >
          >I am interested in using XSL-FO as the interchange format for these
          >articles, and am looking for tools to convert this into and from the
          >proprietary formats used by the page makeup applications we use -
          >mainly Quark Xpress, but also Adobe InDesign and others.
          >
          >Is anyone aware of a supplier of Quark Xtensions which can import XSL-
          >FO and create a Quark "article" (ie a collection of chained text
          >boxes into which the article content is placed), and which can export
          >such an article into XSL-FO for storage and reuse?
          >
          >
          >Yahoo! Groups Sponsor
          >ADVERTISEMENT
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          >
          >
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          >
          >Yahoo! Groups Links
          >
          >To visit your group on the web, go to:
          >http://groups.yahoo.com/group/XSL-FO/
          >
          >To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
          >XSL-FO-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
          >
          >Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of Service.
          >
          >
          >
          >Yahoo! Groups Links
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        • Eliot Kimber
          ... Unless the layouts for your articles are simpler than most, it is likely that XSL-FO 1.0 cannot meet your requirements. If you are trying to use FO to
          Message 4 of 7 , Feb 5, 2004
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            > >A major objective of the project is to store sets of layout data with
            > >each article, each set representing the "shape" with which the
            > >article has been composed in previous uses. Then a page makeup
            > >operator can select an article "shape" to fit the space available on
            > >a page, and place the article with this shape directly on the page
            > >without having to define the article layout manually.
            > >
            > >I am interested in using XSL-FO as the interchange format for these
            > >articles, and am looking for tools to convert this into and from the
            > >proprietary formats used by the page makeup applications we use -
            > >mainly Quark Xpress, but also Adobe InDesign and others.

            Unless the layouts for your articles are simpler than most, it is likely
            that XSL-FO 1.0 cannot meet your requirements. If you are trying to use
            FO to represent the article in its pre-paginated form in such a way that
            an FO renderer would be able to produce a reasonable approximation of
            the printed article, I think there might be some limitations.

            Alternatively, you could do it if every page were treated as a set of
            absolutely-positioned block-containers with no explicit relationship
            between the blocks on different pages (that is, the FO would not be able
            to reflect the fact that the text at the start of a block on page 2 was
            in fact the continuation of the text in a block on page 1). But this
            would be sort of a twisted use of XSL-FO (although it might have some
            value--it's not competely clear what your business drivers are).

            That is, XSL-FO provides no direct way to express the sorts of
            multi-flow layouts one can design with Quark and InDesign and therefore
            may not be of much use as an interchange mechanism between those tools,
            except in the very brute force way mentioned above.

            I've done a good bit of analysis for journal publishers and one of my
            conclusions was that XSL-FO 1.0 is simply not up to the task of
            representing most journal and magazine layouts. XSL-FO 1.1 will get
            closer but will still not do everything that is required by what I
            characterize as "mildly-designed" publications, that is, journals that
            are more than just columns of content with graphics but that are not as
            designed as glossy magazines where you need things like
            arbitrarily-shaped runarounds and fine control over typographic details.
            It's important to remember that XSL-FO was designed, at least initially,
            to satisfy the requirements of documents that are traditionally produced
            in a very mechanical and regular way, such as business documents
            (reports, invoices, etc.) and technical documentation. It was not
            intended to satisfy the requirements of more heavily designed documents,
            such as periodicals.

            [Some of the design requirements could, at least in theory, be met by
            SVG embedded within XSL-FO (or visa versa), but for this vision to be
            fully realized I think there would need to be a more complete
            integration of SVG and XSL-FO such that one could embed flow objects in
            SVGs with the FO renderer and SVG renderer communicating with other. For
            example, one could imagine using SVG to define a curve that the FO
            renderer would then use as the boundary within which it rendered some
            set of flow objects, but this is beyond either current FO and SVG
            implementations or the standards they implement. I know this idea has
            long been in the minds behind both specifications, but you have to walk
            before you can run....]

            The areas that were most needed were:

            - Within-column top and bottom floats. XSL-FO 1.0 only provides
            full-page top floats and does not provide a bottom float distinct from
            footnotes (which can be used to achieve "bottom floats", but only if you
            don't also need footnotes on the same page).

            - Column footnotes (although both XEP and XSL Formatter provide
            extensions for column footnotes).

            - Ability to have text in two different columns be intruded upon by an
            absolutely-positioned area. For example, a typical page treatment is to
            have a two-column layout where the first page of the article has a
            graphic centered in the page and intruding about 1/2 away into each
            column. While XSL-FO 1.0 has side floats, which allow you to intrude
            into one column or the other, you have no way to intrude into both
            columns. You can simulate it with some clever tricks, but only if you
            can determine what content starts the second column.

            If you're looking for a reasonably generic XML representation of
            "designed" documents, you might take a look at the UltraXML product from
            WebX Systems (http://webxsystems.com/). It attempts to compete with
            Quark or InDesign but using a pure XML approach. It's not
            standards-based, because no standard currently exists for expressing
            these sorts of complex designs, but it's overall approach seems to be
            consistent with the general XSL-FO approach. It provides both
            interactive tweaking of presentation as well as batch-based composition
            using normal XML-to-XML transformation approaches. I haven't used it
            myself but from what I've seen it looks promising.

            Cheers,

            Eliot
            --
            W. Eliot Kimber
            Professional Services
            Innodata Isogen
            9030 Research Blvd, #410
            Austin, TX 78758
            (512) 372-8122

            eliot@...
            www.innodata-isogen.com
          • icastleton105
            ... likely ... to use ... that ... of ... Thanks for your feedback. The type of articles we are intending to reuse this way do in general have a fairly simple
            Message 5 of 7 , Feb 9, 2004
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              --- In XSL-FO@yahoogroups.com, Eliot Kimber <ekimber@i...> wrote:
              > Unless the layouts for your articles are simpler than most, it is
              likely
              > that XSL-FO 1.0 cannot meet your requirements. If you are trying
              to use
              > FO to represent the article in its pre-paginated form in such a way
              that
              > an FO renderer would be able to produce a reasonable approximation
              of
              > the printed article, I think there might be some limitations.
              >
              Thanks for your feedback. The type of articles we are intending to
              reuse this way do in general have a fairly simple layout, and will
              not flow across multiple pages. The aim of the project is to speed
              up (and possibly even automate) the page composition process,
              particularly for freesheets, by allowing the reuse of a library of
              pre-shaped articles, even if they do require manual editing to fit.

              > If you're looking for a reasonably generic XML representation of
              > "designed" documents, you might take a look at the UltraXML product
              from
              > WebX Systems (http://webxsystems.com/). It attempts to compete with
              > Quark or InDesign but using a pure XML approach. It's not
              > standards-based, because no standard currently exists for
              expressing
              > these sorts of complex designs, but it's overall approach seems to
              be
              > consistent with the general XSL-FO approach. It provides both
              > interactive tweaking of presentation as well as batch-based
              composition
              > using normal XML-to-XML transformation approaches. I haven't used
              it
              > myself but from what I've seen it looks promising.
              >
              UltraXML looks promising, but we have already built a content
              management system which can manage XML.

              Regards,

              Ian
            • Eliot Kimber
              ... I was only refering to the formatting/editing component of UltraXML. I have no opinion on their content management features having neither used nor
              Message 6 of 7 , Feb 9, 2004
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                icastleton105 wrote:

                > > using normal XML-to-XML transformation approaches. I haven't used
                > it
                > > myself but from what I've seen it looks promising.
                > >
                > UltraXML looks promising, but we have already built a content
                > management system which can manage XML.

                I was only refering to the formatting/editing component of UltraXML. I
                have no opinion on their content management features having neither used
                nor researched them.

                Cheers,

                E.
                --
                W. Eliot Kimber
                Professional Services
                Innodata Isogen
                9030 Research Blvd, #410
                Austin, TX 78758
                (512) 372-8122

                eliot@...
                www.innodata-isogen.com
              • Klaas_Bals@inventivedesigners.com
                ... You might want to take a look at our Scriptura product, that allows you to visually design documents. It can export XSLT stylesheets that generate XSL-FO,
                Message 7 of 7 , Feb 11, 2004
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                  "icastleton105" <ian.castleton@...> wrote on 02/09/2004 01:25:41 PM:

                  > Thanks for your feedback. The type of articles we are intending to
                  > reuse this way do in general have a fairly simple layout, and will
                  > not flow across multiple pages. The aim of the project is to speed
                  > up (and possibly even automate) the page composition process,
                  > particularly for freesheets, by allowing the reuse of a library of
                  > pre-shaped articles, even if they do require manual editing to fit.

                  You might want to take a look at our Scriptura product, that allows you to
                  visually design documents. It can export XSLT stylesheets that generate
                  XSL-FO, or you can use it to go to the final output format directly. It
                  does support flowing of content to multiple pages etc, but as this is more
                  difficult that not flowing to multiple pages, it can certainly satify your
                  needs of generating just one page.

                  Best regards,
                  -----
                  Klaas Bals - Technical Manager

                  Scriptura - a WYSIWYG XSL-FO editor: www.scriptura-xsl.com

                  Inventive Designers
                  Direct Phone: +32 - 3 - 8210183
                  Office Phone: +32 - 3 - 8210170
                  Office Fax: +32 - 3 - 8210171
                  Email: Klaas_Bals at inventivedesigners dot com
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