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From "Lawford, Mark : Enable" <mark.lawf...@barclays.co.uk>
Subject RE: representative example needed
Date Tue, 08 Feb 2005 15:18:05 GMT

I'm a relative newcomer to XSLT and FOP but I immediately saw the value it
could offer.

We have a layer of DB access objects which produce XML for reporting
purposes. Rather than plug in an expensive "off the shelf" reporting tool I
suggested and prototyped an XSLT/FOP reporting architecture. It works. The
largest report so far has been 3000 pages (why anyone would want a report
3000 pages long is beyond me) and it renders quite quickly for a report of
that scale.

I am also using it online to produce on-demand PDF versions of reports
originating in XML form.

I haven't done anything fancy with FOP yet but so far I haven't had to. I
want it to help me produce well-formatted tabular reports reliably and on
schedule. It works perfectly so I can't ask any more than that.

Okay, that is perhaps not entirely true. I wouldn't mind being able to
specify multiple output files for the larger reports, but that, frankly, can
be dealt with higher up the processing chain.

Mark Lawford
Analyst Programmer

Enable ISS - Hastings
Mid Range Services
Cavendish House,
Castle Street,
Hastings, East Sussex
TN34 3DY

* 01424 4533018/ (7) 4274 3018 
*      07957 280 811
* mark.lawford@barclays.co.uk
* Mail Van E

-----Original Message-----
From: JBryant@s-s-t.com [mailto:JBryant@s-s-t.com]
Sent: 08 February 2005 15:03
To: fop-user@xml.apache.org
Subject: Re: representative example needed

> Thanks!  Success stories ([1] is my favorite)--as well
> as failures (honesty of its limitations also being
> helpful in increasing confidence in FOP)--are always
> welcome on this list.

Oh, you want success stories. That I can do.

I use FOP to produce all the documentation for a small software firm. I am 
a consulting technical writer (though I have been programming at least 
part time since 1987). I am responsible for creating documents both for 
the company itself and for several customers (each of whom naturally wants 
their own logos, legal wording, and so on). I use two primary stylesheets 
with FOP: One to produce most of my conventional documents (user guides, 
API guides, etc.) and another specifically for data dictionaries. The firm 
specializes in data warehouses for the software industry, so each customer 
needs a customized data dictionary. So far, the largest has been over 1600 
pages in size, and FOP produces it in about 2 minutes.

By the way, I use Saxon to write the FO source, since I use a number of 
XSLT 2 features. I also use Saxon to write the HTML versions of our 

The only thing I really wish FOP had is better control over page breaks. I 
use small tables to keep headings with their trailing paragraphs and 
images with their captions. Other than that, I use an attribute in my five 
levels of heading elements to force a page break (with break-before), so I 
can make things look OK. Still, I wish it did better with keeps and breaks 
in general. I gather that's the big problem that drove the creation of a 
new branch and the current 1.0 effort. I've had to accept some other 
limitations and fiddle with memory settings, but keeps and breaks have 
been the only real limitation to date.

In sum, thanks for FOP! It makes me look good with my client and my 
client's customers. I very much look forward to seeing future versions.

Jay Bryant
Bryant Communication Services
(presently consulting at Synergistic Solution Technologies)

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