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From Mike Brodbelt <m.brodb...@acu.ac.uk>
Subject Print on demand using FOP
Date Fri, 12 Mar 2004 15:17:22 GMT

We're using FOP to generate print-ready pages directly from information
held in a database. We're essentially hold directory type information in
the database, and we periodically print a new edition of the directory.

During the editing process, we have a dataflow set up so that an end
user goes to an internal webpage, and submits a form. That form calls
some Perl code, which sucks data out of a database, and formats it as
XML using XML::Writer. That XML is then fed into FOP, along with a
pre-defined stylesheet, and the Perl code then returns that generated
PDF data to the browser. The whole experience is seamless to the user,
and allows previewing of pages direct from the database. The user can
then correct/update information in the database, and regenerate the
output page at will.

When we're ready, we freeze the database, download the whole dataset,
and generate a PDF that's ready for final printing.

One of the big problems we have with this setup is the lack of widow and
orphan control in FOP. It's vital to us that we can control where column
and page breaks fall, and we are currently only able to do this by doing
ugly temporary hacks on the stylesheet, or post FOP fixups on the PDF
file in Adobe Acrobat. Each time we want a final press ready PDF we have
to redo these hacks, as they're data specific.

How do other people deal with this? Is there any way to exercise control
over the positioning of pacge breaks without needing widow/orphan
support? Any work rounds possible. Failing that (stupid question alert),
any idea when a version of FOP that supports this might make an appearance?



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