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   Re: FOs again

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  • From: "Sebastian Rahtz" <sebastian.rahtz@computing-services.oxford.ac.uk>
  • To: ricko@geotempo.com
  • Date: Sun, 18 Jun 2000 21:20:58 +0100 (BST)

Rick JELLIFFE writes:
 > My point is that the FOs that XSL-FO provides must be rich enough to
 > support documents formatted by Word: that is the bottom line for a
 > serious format interchange-language.

Probably a fair aim. Since I have not used Word remotely seriously
since 1984, I cannot be sure, but my impression is that Word has no
abilities that are not easily catered for by the XSL FO spec - it
depends whether you call things like the equation plug-in part of Word?

 > >  > look at Word Perfect, FrameMaker+SGML, Cost, etc, there are many
 > >  > products
 > > am i being dense? what is the common factor between an ageing
 > > word-processor, an ageing page formatter with SGML tagged on, and an
 > > SGML processing setup?
 > I would hardly think "aging" should be a perjorative term from someone
 > who loves TeX :-)

TeX has developed very nicely over the years, thanks. No age problem there:-}

 >  My point was that if someone thinks that FOs are too
 > complicated, there are systems which are not nearly as complicated and
 > may be completely acceptable for many kinds of publication, depending as
 > always on the amount of effort one puts in. 

Perhaps thats the attitude that has put us in the situation where so
many people use Word. Its good for short documents, not bad for
medium-sized ones, and abysmal for vast huge ones. You get sucked in
for your easy work, and then its too much fuss to switch to something
better when you need more bang. At least XSL FO spans a greater range.

 > In some faroff corners of the world, perhaps in distant plantations,
 > there may be some people who will insist on typesetting without a firm
 > grasp of Hart's rules.
they may *call* it typesetting...

 > I just don't believe that professional quality
 > typesetting can be achieved automatically without tools that are smart
 > enough to try different strategies which depend in turn on the
 > particular page design being used

I dont see how that goes against FO. You'll write a different
myXML->FO transformer, depending on your eventual page design. Maybe
FO is not expressive enough, of course; the lack of a dialogue with
the formatter is almost certainly a fatal Achilles Heel (are they
always fatal? I suppose so), since it precludes certain designs.

 > eye. But for a production process, one needs as much sophistication as
 > possible available, and the ability to teach the system new tricks (e.g.
 > by improving macros, etc over time as new cases arise).

I could not speak for other FOers, but I certainly agree with the
thesis that serious production use, one will depend on, and tweak, a
particular FO renderer. So in my setup (XSL FO in TeX), I certainly
expect to make use of the fotex.cfg local configuration file, where I
will tease around with TeX low-level stuff to affect my results.


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  • References:
    • FOs again
      • From: Amy Lewis <amyzing@talsever.com>
    • Re: FOs again
      • From: Rick JELLIFFE <ricko@geotempo.com>
    • Re: FOs again
      • From: "Sebastian Rahtz" <sebastian.rahtz@computing-services.oxford.ac.uk>
    • Re: FOs again
      • From: Rick JELLIFFE <ricko@geotempo.com>


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