Print Story Ask Husi: XSLT and XSL-FO
By Big Sexxxy Joe (Sat Jan 19, 2008 at 06:57:43 AM EST) (all tags)
Hey, I went on a job interview and they gave me homework.  It's basically turn some XML into a pdf using XSLT and XSL-FO.

Does anyone know any good resources for that stuff?  I'm looking for sites with information and good software to work with.  I don't have anything to actually process the stuff to make the pdf.  And I'm hoping to use something sort of easy that I can learn real fast.

Other than that I'm doing alright.  I'm underpaid (for now), but I think things are generally going well for me.
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Ask Husi: XSLT and XSL-FO | 5 comments (5 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
I recall doing the exact same thing by miker2 (4.00 / 1) #1 Sat Jan 19, 2008 at 08:32:10 AM EST
for a project a few years ago.  Unfortunately, I remember none of it.

I think I used O'Reilly's XML CD Bookshelf to find the way to do it.  The book "Java & XML" seems to have something in it about FO.

The ball-busting part of this is getting the formatting and layout down, that's what took me the longest, but that was for a production application, not a homework assignment.

Ah, sociopathy. How warm, how comforting, thy sweet embrace. - MNS
Ugh by Big Sexxxy Joe (2.00 / 0) #2 Sat Jan 19, 2008 at 08:41:06 AM EST
I'm worried enough about just doing the transform.  It looks like the FO part might actually be worse.

Actually, finding the software and making it work is probably the hardest.  That's what I usually have the most trouble with with this kind of thing.

It's "homework" from an interview.  So it is an actual piece of work from one of their clients, albeit a fairly short document.

I'm like Jesus, only better.

[ Parent ]
Apache's FOP by crux (4.00 / 1) #3 Sat Jan 19, 2008 at 12:25:13 PM EST
I've only used it once a long time ago, but they've got an XSL-FO -> PDF at

As far as the rest goes ... good luck. There are 100s of XSLT processors out there (if you're a linux person, you probably already have xsltproc); XSL is generally a big pain in the ass and really very unintuitive until you wrap your brain around it.

Thanks by Big Sexxxy Joe (2.00 / 0) #4 Sat Jan 19, 2008 at 12:57:50 PM EST

I'm like Jesus, only better.
[ Parent ]
back in '03 by clover kicker (4.00 / 1) #5 Sat Jan 19, 2008 at 01:21:22 PM EST
I bought O'Reilly's XSLT cookbook and figured out enough to be dangerous. IIRC that book recommends some free tools which they use for their examples, and that's what I used. My old batch files appear to call xalan.

It was strictly a hobby thing, I spent a couple of weeks banging away in the evenings and figured things out, then got bored and haven't touched it since.

I don't remember any of the syntax, the only thing that comes back is that it's weird and a royal pain in the ass to get started - once I hit a certain point things got pretty easy. Mind you I knew nothing about XML at the start, much less xslt.

I remember that using a specialized xml editor made life easier, hard to admit for a vi man like me. I used pollo IIRC, I have no idea what the state of the art is these days.

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