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Converters from Xerox Metacode/Compuset to XSL-FO

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  • CRANSTON, Dalton
    Hi All, I am investigating the use of various technologies to help us with our document generation requirements (low volume/high complexity and high volume/low
    Message 1 of 2 , Feb 9 4:52 PM
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      Hi All,
      I am investigating the use of various technologies to help us with our
      document generation requirements (low volume/high complexity and
      high volume/low complexity documents) and XSL-FO is one contender
      (we have a number of alternate systems in use) in both of these areas.

      One of the barriers to transition from proprietary systems is the
      availability
      of a suitable, cost effective migration path for pre-existing templates. One
      of these systems is Xerox Autograph where we use DLS and Compuset
      templates to produce statements etc. I have found Compuset to PDF
      converters but really what I want is to be able to (somehow) convert the
      templates to interim formats such as XML+XSLT (to produce XSL-FO)
      rather than to some end format as I would like to be able to then use
      them at design time into the future.

      Does anyone have any ideas or suggestions on this?

      Thanks in advance,

      Dalton




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    • G. Ken Holman
      ... That would be for pre-existing proprietary templates which, by definition, would make them difficult animals to find since they d be the domain of
      Message 2 of 2 , Feb 9 6:05 PM
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        At 2004-02-10 10:52 +1000, CRANSTON, Dalton wrote:
        >One of the barriers to transition from proprietary systems is the
        >availability
        >of a suitable, cost effective migration path for pre-existing templates.

        That would be "for pre-existing proprietary templates" which, by
        definition, would make them difficult animals to find since they'd be the
        domain of proprietary vendors that may not have an interest in open solutions.

        >One of these systems is Xerox Autograph where we use DLS and Compuset
        >templates to produce statements etc. I have found Compuset to PDF
        >converters but really what I want is to be able to (somehow) convert the
        >templates to interim formats such as XML+XSLT (to produce XSL-FO)

        I believe that is a tough nut to crack, not because of any complexity that
        might be with XSLT and XSL-FO ... these are designed well for what they do
        and the meet a set of semantics designed and selected by the working group
        that developed the specification.

        >rather than to some end format as I would like to be able to then use
        >them at design time into the future.

        Gee, sounds nice, but won't it be difficult to map a vendor's proprietary
        choice of layout semantics to an open standard's choice of layout
        semantics? Certainly the end results of many of the concepts will be
        similar since both are producing a paginated output, but how it gets there
        is critically important because any expression you may have that follows
        the semantics of a proprietary solution would have to be interpreted and
        translated to an expression that follows the semantics of XSLT and XSL-FO.

        This is not to speak to the architectural chasm between tightly-bound
        formatting processors where the transformation task is intimately aware of
        the formatting task, and the XSL arm's-length architecture where all of the
        transformation has to be completed before any of the formatting can
        begin. You will have to find a way to map all of the proprietary semantics
        of on-the-fly status checking into XSL's semantics of formatting contingencies.

        One important question is: does the proprietary system have a concept of
        transformation of XML inputs to an output, or is it similar to a desktop
        publishing system of production of a final-form output?

        >Does anyone have any ideas or suggestions on this?

        (1) Manage your expectations ... without even knowing your proprietary
        systems, I suspect it will either take magic or human intervention to map
        diverse semantics.

        (2) If you can at the least produce a static XSL-FO instance representing
        the same output as that of a proprietary solution, then consider how
        LiterateXSLT (a free resource available from our web site) might help; it
        is an incomplete prototype of XSLT stylesheet inference engine. Using
        LiterateXSLT one makes a static snapshot of a completed transformation,
        then seeds that snapshot with triggers about transformation based on a
        representative XML input. A multi-step process then infers the XSLT
        stylesheet required for the XML input to generate the XSL-FO output. That
        XSLT stylesheet can then be used with multiple XML inputs. I developed the
        prototype long enough to satisfy some UBL work I was doing and then left it
        on the shelf for others since I don't have the resources to complete
        it. Others have found it useful.

        I hope this has helped.

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

        --
        Public courses: upcoming world tour of hands-on XSL training events
        Each week: Monday-Wednesday: XSLT/XPath; Thursday-Friday: XSL-FO
        Washington, DC: 2004-03-15 San Francisco, CA: 2004-03-22
        Hong Kong: 2004-05-17 Germany: 2004-05-24 England: 2004-06-07
        World-wide on-site corporate, government & user group XML 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)
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