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   ANN: The new XSL FO implementation

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  • From: Alexey Gokhberg <alexei@bluewin.ch>
  • To: xml-dev@lists.xml.org
  • Date: Mon, 18 Sep 2000 13:25:53 +0200

Dear colleagues

The new product - Unicorn Formatting Objects (UFO) - is available. It
implements the substantial subset of the Extensible Stylesheet Language
(XSL) Version 1.0 specification (W3C Workung Draft 27 March 2000,

The software is free (see the license included in the distribution) and
can be obtained at < http://www.unicorn-enterprises.com/ufo_1_00_00.zip

It runs on Windows NT 4.0 and Windows 95.

The product is optimized for composition of business-style documents
(e.g., catalogs, orders, invoices, banking statements, etc). The
extensive support is provided for various features (for instance,
collapsing border model in tables), which are not yet supported by many
existing XSL implementations.

The product design was inspired by work of Sebastian Rahtz (JadeTeX,
PassiveTeX) and James Clark (Jade). The renown TeX typesetting system is
used as the back-end formatting engine.

The software can be used to generate output in PostScript, PDF and all
other formats supported by TeX DVI drivers.

The product contains the following functional modules:

    - XSLT transformation engine
    - XSL FO front-end
    - XSL FO back-end

The XSLT transformation engine, written in C++, implements the same
functionality as the stand-alone Unicorn XSLT Processor
(http://www.unicorn-enterprises.com/uxsl_1_02_15.zip). This module
supports the transformation part of XSL processing.

The XSL FO front-end, written in C++, transforms XSL FO trees into
sequences of TeX macro calls. It provides numerous pre-processing
functions that can be handled more efficiently in C++ rather than in

The XSL FO back-end, written in TeX macro language, implements XSL FO
transformation algorithms. The interface between C++ front-end and TeX
back-end is well-documented. Alternative back-end implementations may be
created by independent developers.

Generation of TeX code from an arbitrary source XML document can be done
in one pass, without creating intermediate files.

Using TeX as the formatting engine gives numerous benefits: excellent
typesetting quality, pre-built support for multiple output formats,
pre-built support for multiple languages, etc.

The modern TeX distribution for Windows is required. Several free TeX
implementations are listed at TeX Users Group (TUG) home page at <
http://www.tug.org >. In particular, the MikTeX implementation available
at < http://www.miktex.org > was proven to be a robust product, easy to
install and use.

Kind regards

Alexey Gokhberg
Project Manager
Unicorn Enterprises SA


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