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Re: [XSL-FO] Forms in FO

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  • G. Ken Holman
    ... 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
    Message 1 of 8 , Mar 22, 2005
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      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, but
      >anything you have would help. Once I understand the basics I can give it
      >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, when
      the user presses "Send", are then emailed to me as a well-formed XML instance.

      PHP is powerful, but verbose and sometimes awkward. By learning enough PHP
      to write my XSLT stylesheet to synthesize the resulting PHP page, I have
      now forgotten PHP almost entirely and just write my forms descriptions in
      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 XSLT
      stylesheet that reads the XForms description, and then synthesize the PHP
      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 instead
      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 my
      own vocabulary, not yet with XForms); when you press "Send" you get a copy
      of the email message with the well-formed instance. It is also used on the
      http://xugo.org attendance registration page (btw, for those readers in the
      Ottawa area, the next meeting is tonight). Though I haven't had the need
      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 the
      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
      Legal business disclaimers: http://www.CraneSoftwrights.com/legal
    • Nicola Harlow
      Hi, 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
      Message 2 of 8 , Mar 22, 2005
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        Hi,



        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



        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,
        but
        >anything you have would help. Once I understand the basics I can give
        it
        >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,
        when
        the user presses "Send", are then emailed to me as a well-formed XML
        instance.

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

        now forgotten PHP almost entirely and just write my forms descriptions
        in
        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
        XSLT
        stylesheet that reads the XForms description, and then synthesize the
        PHP
        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
        instead
        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
        my
        own vocabulary, not yet with XForms); when you press "Send" you get a
        copy
        of the email message with the well-formed instance. It is also used on
        the
        http://xugo.org attendance registration page (btw, for those readers in
        the
        Ottawa area, the next meeting is tonight). Though I haven't had the
        need
        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
        the
        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
        Legal business disclaimers: http://www.CraneSoftwrights.com/legal





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      • Ramakrishnan, Deivanayagam
        Hi, I too had a similar requirement. Now, we are creating a PS and use Distiller to create the correcponding PDF. Please keep us posted if you find XSL-FO way.
        Message 3 of 8 , Mar 22, 2005
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          Hi,
          I too had a similar requirement. Now, we are creating a PS and use
          Distiller to create the correcponding PDF. Please keep us posted if you
          find XSL-FO way.
          regards,
          Deiv



          Deivanayagam Ramakrishnan
          Hewlett Packard - GDIC
          30 Cunningham Road
          Bangalore - 52
          22251554 xtn 2149

          -----Original Message-----
          From: Nicola Harlow [mailto:nicola.harlow@...]
          Sent: Tuesday, March 22, 2005 7:47 PM
          To: XSL-FO@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: [XSL-FO] Forms in FO


          Hi,



          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, but
          anything you have would help. Once I understand the basics I can give it
          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).

          Thanks,

          Nicola

          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





          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



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        • Fournier,Danny [NCR]
          I basically use FO to create the layout of the whole PDF. Then, I use Acrobat to add the form elements to it. If there was something wrong with the PDF layout,
          Message 4 of 8 , Mar 23, 2005
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            I basically use FO to create the layout of the whole PDF. Then, I use
            Acrobat to add the form elements to it.

            If there was something wrong with the PDF layout, I keep a backup of the
            one with the form elements, modify the old one and re-use the placed
            form elements from the backup and paste them in the new one.

            Hope this helps,

            Dan

            -----Original Message-----
            From: Ramakrishnan, Deivanayagam
            [mailto:deivanayagam.ramakrishnan@...]
            Sent: March 22, 2005 11:50 PM
            To: XSL-FO@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: RE: [XSL-FO] Forms in FO



            Hi,
            I too had a similar requirement. Now, we are creating a PS and use
            Distiller to create the correcponding PDF. Please keep us posted if you
            find XSL-FO way.
            regards,
            Deiv



            Deivanayagam Ramakrishnan
            Hewlett Packard - GDIC
            30 Cunningham Road
            Bangalore - 52
            22251554 xtn 2149

            -----Original Message-----
            From: Nicola Harlow [mailto:nicola.harlow@...]
            Sent: Tuesday, March 22, 2005 7:47 PM
            To: XSL-FO@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: [XSL-FO] Forms in FO


            Hi,



            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, but
            anything you have would help. Once I understand the basics I can give it
            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).

            Thanks,

            Nicola

            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





            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



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          • Klaas_Bals@inventivedesigners.com
            Nicola Harlow wrote on 22/03/2005 15:17:28:Hi, Does anyone have an example of a form in XSL:FO? I want to
            Message 5 of 8 , Mar 24, 2005
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              "Nicola Harlow" <nicola.harlow@...> wrote on 22/03/2005 15:17:28:

              > Hi,
              >
              >
              >
              > 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, but
              > anything you have would help. Once I understand the basics I can give it
              > 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 Scriptura XBOS 4.0, which will be released very soon now, will have
              support for interactive forms, using XForms as the underlying forms
              technology and XSL-FO for the layout. It will support many XForms
              features, such as validation, dynamic table rows, combined with all of the
              features of XSL-FO, such as table headers, conditional page masters etc.

              Of course, our graphical designer will have support for these form
              controls, in addition to the XSL-FO features.

              You will have the ability to print either a rendered (either on paper or
              on screen) version of the empty form, a rendered version of the filled in
              form, and an interactive form that can be filled in.
              In the initial release of this forms functionality, you will need either
              an applet or a forms reader (also a part of Scriptura XBOS) to fill in the
              forms. HTML or PDF forms could be coming later.

              No other public information about this is available right now, but you can
              expect an announcement very soon now.

              Best regards,
              -----
              Klaas Bals - CTO
              Inventive Designers
              Direct Phone: +32 - 3 - 8210183
              Office Phone: +32 - 3 - 8210170
              Office Fax: +32 - 3 - 8210171
              Email: Klaas_Bals at inventivedesigners dot com

              Inventive Designers - Keep your options open...



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