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Subject Re: Looking for consultants willing to implement cocoon in Switzerland orGermany
Date Tue, 31 Oct 2000 16:34:27 GMT

>> Peter Hogenkamp wrote:
>> We're a Zurich based start-up, preparing to publish short Internet
>> guidebooks on paper (DTP with QuarkXPress) and on the Web (both HTML
>> pages and PDF files), targeting the German speaking countries. I am a
>> strong believer in both, XML and open source, and, without knowing too
>The interesting part of your agenda is the coupling of QuarkXPress (or
>any other authoring software) with XML and cocoon. Or, more generally
>speaking, the question of cross-media publishing. I have banged my head

Tools for getting XML out of Quark are rudimentary at best, but improving.
Roustabout by attd[.com] takes an interesting approach by using a small set
of elements and putting stylesheet names and XpressTag local formatting
into two attributes.  Encoding and font mapping issues are handled in
external files holding entity definitions for the references generated in the
output.  The program leaves most of the work to a subsequent process
parsing attr values, but you consequently have great control.  My plan is
to write the XSL-T-->HTML on the fly, loosing speed but allowing the HTML
to dynamically reflect changes to the Quark. But Quark remains a target
rather than a source until they get their act together and support a proper
ML more directly.

Downstream, there are import tools, but I've had good luck using XSL to
write an XpressTag file.  Other Xtensions allow for the targeting of output
flow to particular textboxes in a template and such a process could be
largely automated.

>But with XML, fop and cocoon a previously missing factor was introduced

Until XSL-FO is completed there is a messy intermediate step of
generating PS just to feed a distiller.  FO will give PDF in prepress a big
boost, IMO, as if it needed any.

>implemented our mass-mailing workflow entirely in XML/fop/cocoon. This
>means we automatically create PDFs, which start as XML and incorporate
>data from a database. Not just addresses, but real transactional data.

Cool.  Integrating Cocoon in a production project is a way off for us, but
it is making a considerable splash in the area of groupware applications on
our internal network.  I am nailing together a FP based tool for doing
semantic modelling along the lines outlined in Maler and  Andaloussi, 1996.
I should be able to XSL-T-->a stub XSD from the final document and get PDF
documentation of the work.

>exception of performance. If you have large transactions and many users,

The biggest caveat against Cocoon at this point.  I think that this can be
addressed, however, and you are putting yourself in the way of some dramatic
process improvements once FO is where it should be.  There's meat on them

>The other part of the equation, especially if it's QuarkXPress, can be
>very frustrating. FrameMaker or other XML-aware authoring tools come to
>mind, however I still believe in OpenSource someday supplying this part
>as well. KOffice sounds promising, for example. Quark wants to sell
>their Quark-DMS, they have less to do with OpenSource than a bicycle in
>China (or so ;-)

Very frustrating.  I appreciate that Quark support for XML is a tremendous
cultural shift for them in addition to the technical challenges.  Their
avenue.quark attempt really smelled, IMHO.  I foresee that  if they don't
they are dead.  Which is no skin off my nose, it is a pain and good riddance.
There are Postscript engines I much prefer.

Michael Haarman,
Composition Technologist,
Merrill Communications, LLC

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