A posting from Nikolai Grigoriev (RenderX) announces the availability of a new evaluation version of XEP. The XEP application from RenderX is "an engine that converts XSL FO documents to a printable form (PDF or PostScript). XEP conforms to the W3C Candidate Recommendation for XSL, 21-November-2000. It can take the input from a file, a byte stream, or a parsed XML document, via industry-standard SAX1/SAX2 interfaces. XEP is a native-mode XSL FO processor: the whole procedure of calculating the layout of every page is performed inside, without recurring to any third-party formatting engines like nroff, TeX or whatever else. XEP builds an exact internal representation of page layouts and then outputs it to the desired media using only the simplest graphic primitives. Therefore, it is relatively easy to add more output formats to the system. Moreover, the internal layout representation can be output in an XML-based layout description format; this gives you an extra flexibility in storing / manipulating formatted documents. This format is documented in the commercial version, to give XEP's users a possibility to implement custom output handlers." Improvements in XEP version 2.5 are listed in the announcement. These include, for example: "(1) support for proportional-column-width(); (2) support for 'orphans' ('widows' are still unsupported); (3) support for 'fo:character'; (4) support for PNG graphics; (5) some limited support for SVG graphics; (6) more consistent support of absolutely positioned block containers; (7) line-breaking algorithm has been reworked to handle CJK scripts; (8) GUI-based setup program [for Sun JDK/JRE]. Changes specific to PDF Generator include (1) support for TrueType/OpenType fonts; (2) support for PDF bookmarks (via proprietary extensions); (3) support for setting PDF document info fields inside an XSL FO document, via proprietary extensions."
The XEP documentation "lists all supported formatting objects and their properties, provides information about fallbacks for unsupported objects, and discusses details of XSL spec interpretation adopted in the engine." A separate paper discusses internationalization and font-related issues: character sets, hyphenation, line-breaking algorithms and similar language-dependent topics. It also describes procedures to add and configure fonts and hyphenation patterns." A RenderX XSL FO Test Suite "supplies a representative collection of XSL FO documents formatted by XEP, and thus gives a faithful portrait of XEP's capabilities." RenderX also provides an online "learn-by-example" introduction to XSL FO. The corresponding XML/XSL source code is by itself an example of XSL formatting.