The XSL Formatter from Antenna House has been released in version 3.0, incorporating "an entirely new formatting engine developed from scratch." The XSL Formatter V3.0 application implements an XSL-FO (Extensible Style Language-Formatting Objects) processor meeting the specifications of the W3C XSL Recommendation. It supports the formatting of XML documents for production-quality printing and output to PDF. According to the announcement, XSL Formatter V3.0 "formats large XML documents, data, and forms with high speed; V3.0 is the fastest XSL Formatter available and is significantly faster than XSL Formatter V2. Version 3.0 has newly developed SVG support to retain the vector information for the output module, thus meeting the increasing demands for SVG delivery and viewing. The new V3.0 formatting engine has been designed to be able to format virtually any size of document; this design overcomes the V2.X limitation of approximately 4,000 pages in a single document so that v3.0 is able to format about 10 times as much content as XSL Formatter V2. The new version supports direct streaming of both the input FO and output PDF; since it does not go through a temporary disk file, system integration is easier and moreover is safer. Command line, COM, .NET, Java, and C++/C interfaces are supported. The XSL Formatter Hyphenation Option makes it possible to hyphenate 40 or more languages without preparing dictionaries. " An evaluation version for XSL Formatter V3.0 is available for download.
XSL Formatter V3.0 Summary
"The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) released Extensible Style sheet Language (XSL) Version 1.0 as a W3C Recommendation on 15 October 2001. XSL Formatter V3 is an XSL formatting engine that conforms to XSL V1.0 W3C Recommendation.
Building on over 4 years of experience developing XSL-FO software Antenna House has completely written from scratch an entirely new Formatter that offers significant enhancements and provides a solid foundation on which to continue to move forward.
XSL Formatter V3.0 formats a very large XML documents, data, and forms with high speed. V3.0 is one of the fastest XSL Formatters available and is significantly faster than XSL Formatter V2.X.
The V3 formatting engine has been developed from scratch to be able to format "any" size of document. This overcomes the V2.X limitation of approximately 4,000 pages in a single document.
PDF output is a standard function of V3. An unlimited number of users can now convert XML to PDF on a web server by utilizing our PDF direct creation engine.
New SVG support for output module: V3.0 has newly developed SVG support to retain the vector information for the output module thus meeting the increasing demands for SVG delivery and viewing.
Stream input/output: V3.0 supports direct streaming of both the input FO and output PDF. Since it does not go through a temporary disk file, system integration is easier and moreover is safer.
Antenna House provides Command line, COM interface, .NET interface, Java interface and C++/C interface. (The COM and the .NET interfaces are available only for Windows.). The various interfaces make for easy system integration.
XSL Formatter Hyphenation Option makes it possible to hyphenate 40 or more languages without preparing dictionaries..." [adapted from the Version 3 press release]
Seybold Comments on XSL Formatter
"Antenna House Updates XSL Formatter." By [Seybold Staff]. In The Bulletin: Seybold News and Views on Electronic Publishing Volume 9, Number 2 (October 8, 2003). Antenna House has released version 3 of XSL Formatter, "the first major update to its XSL-FO engine since January 2002. The page-composition server processes XSL-FO files into pages, typically delivered in PDF. Antenna Houses uses Microsoft's XML parser and XSLT processor to take XML source files and create XSL-FO files. Customers may swap in their own XSLT processor if desired. The new version runs significantly faster and also adds new features; tese include support for very long documents (in excess of 4,000 pages, the upper limit of what version 2 could handle) and support for SVG illustrations. XSL Formatter 3 is compliant with the current W3C recommendation, but its TeX-based engine implements additional typographic features as well. These include PDF bookmarks, revision bars, column footnotes and gutter rules. Version 3 also includes the full Unicode and multilingual capabilities that Antenna House added earlier this year in release 2.5.1. Antenna House offers a $500 add-on package that provides hyphenation in 40 languages. XSL Formatter 3 is available for Windows, Solaris and Linux operating systems... A fully capable demonstration version can be downloaded for free from the company's Web site. According to Mike Miller, who directs Antenna's operations in the United States, since Antenna House began selling its formatter two years ago, the company has landed about 100 customers worldwide, including both direct and OEM sales... This product is strictly for lights-out batch composition, but its capability is creeping closer to that of high-end composition-system vendors, such as Miles 33, XyEnterprise and Advent. It should be on the short list for anyone considering XSL-FO for high-volume publishing..."
About XSL Formatting
"XSL is a language for expressing stylesheets. Given a class of arbitrarily structured XML documents or data files, designers use an XSL stylesheet to express their intentions about how that structured content should be presented; that is, how the source content should be styled, laid out, and paginated onto some presentation medium, such as a window in a Web browser or a hand-held device, or a set of physical pages in a catalog, report, pamphlet, or book.
An XSL stylesheet processor accepts a document or data in XML and an XSL stylesheet and produces the presentation of that XML source content that was intended by the designer of that stylesheet. There are two aspects of this presentation process: first, constructing a result tree from the XML source tree and second, interpreting the result tree to produce formatted results suitable for presentation on a display, on paper, in speech, or onto other media. The first aspect is called tree transformation and the second is called formatting. The process of formatting is performed by the formatter. This formatter may simply be a rendering engine inside a browser.
Formatting is enabled by including formatting semantics in the result tree. Formatting semantics are expressed in terms of a catalog of classes of formatting objects. The nodes of the result tree are formatting objects. The classes of formatting objects denote typographic abstractions such as page, paragraph, table, and so forth. Finer control over the presentation of these abstractions is provided by a set of formatting properties, such as those controlling indents, word- and letter spacing, and widow, orphan, and hyphenation control. In XSL, the classes of formatting objects and formatting properties provide the vocabulary for expressing presentation intent.
Formatting interprets the result tree in its formatting object tree form to produce the presentation intended by the designer of the stylesheet from which the XML element and attribute tree in the "fo" namespace was constructed.
The vocabulary of formatting objects supported by XSL -- the set of fo: element types -- represents the set of typographic abstractions available to the designer. Semantically, each formatting object represents a specification for a part of the pagination, layout, and styling information that will be applied to the content of that formatting object as a result of formatting the whole result tree. Each formatting object class represents a particular kind of formatting behavior. For example, the block formatting object class represents the breaking of the content of a paragraph into lines. Other parts of the specification may come from other formatting objects; for example, the formatting of a paragraph (block formatting object) depends on both the specification of properties on the block formatting object and the specification of the layout structure into which the block is placed by the formatter..." [excerpted from the XSL Recommendation]
XSL-FO Chef's Tools Exhibition at XML 2003
An IDEAlliance announcement of 2003-10-07 presented details on the XSL-FO "Chef's Tools Exhibition," to be held December 10, 2003 (7 PM) at the XML Conference and Exposition 2003:
"The exhibition is a technical demonstration of a variety of XSL-FO tools, highlighting their strengths and business applications... 'XSL-FO is one of the hottest topics in the XML arena today,' says B. Tommie Usdin, president of the XML and SGML consulting firm Mulberry Technologies, Inc., and chair of the XSL-FO exhibition. 'This is a great opportunity to see the variety of tools available and compare their relative strengths.' Sharon Adler, chair of the XSL Working Group, says that the number of vendors offering XSL-FO tools represents a milestone in the acceptance of XSL-FO as an important publishing standard. 'The hard work of the XSL Working Group is reflected by the number of vendors that have committed to supporting the standard,' says Adler. 'Anyone interested in the future of XML publishing needs to see this exhibition.' Companies interested in presenting an XSL-FO tool at the XSL-FO Chef's Tools Exhibition should contact B. Tommie Usdin.
About Antenna House, Inc.
"Antenna House, Inc. was founded in August of 1984 in Tokyo, Japan, as a software company, focused on data usability. Antenna House, Inc. has led data conversion Sector in Japan since August of 1984. The company currently operates out of five (5) international locations and welcomes new partners from around the Globe.
Antenna House offers an XSL document formatter, XML document converter, XML document editor for XML document processing. It also provides high quality file display, printing, and file conversion for word processing files, spreadsheet files, graphics files, Web-related files and other files."
- Announcement 2003-10-07: "Antenna House XSL Formatter V3.0 Release Information"
- XSL Formatter XSL-FO Conformance. Table of features for versions 2 and 3
- Download Evaluation Version
- XSL Formatter V3 press release
- XSL-FO Basics
- XSL Formatter FAQ document
- XSLT/XSL-FO Techniques
- "What is the XSL Specification?"
- Extensible Stylesheet Language (XSL) Version 1.0. W3C Recommendation 15-October-2001.
- Antenna House website
- "Antenna House Updates XSL Formatter." By [Seybold Staff]. In The Bulletin: Seybold News and Views on Electronic Publishing Volume 9, Number 2 (October 8, 2003).
- Earlier: XSL Formatter V2.3 Release Information. September 2002.
- "Solution for Multilingual Literature Using XSL Formatter," together with "Using XSL Formatting Objects for Production-Quality Document Printing," by Eliot Kimber.
- See also: XSL-FO. Making XML Look Good in Print. By Dave Pawson. O'Reilly, August 2002. Sample Chapter 6 'Inline Elements' is available online. An online Gentle Introduction to XSL-FO (CR) is also available.
- "An Introduction to XSL Formatting Objects." Presentation (summary) by Ken Holman. May 2003. See the XML.com article "What is XSL-FO?"
- Yahoo!Groups List XSL-FO. For discussion of XSL Formatting Objects.
- Antenna House XSL Formatter - Local product entry.
- "XSL/XSLT Software Support" - Main reference page.