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Formatting XML as ascii Text

I have a project where I need to take XML and format it as ascii text.
Sounds simple right ? But alas the requirements are subtle.  It seems 
people dont do text formatting much anymore.
I fondly remember the days of nroff where I could do good text 
formatting and achieve things like word splitting (hyphenating),
justification etc on text content.  In particular a challenge is to 
support multi column tables.  Thats right, text spanning 5 columns,
that needs to wrap in each column.   Oh and do that with 40 column line 
widths. Piece of cake.
Oh and its a Variable width text font ... ha !

What I tried so far which almost works sorta, just enough to not work 
well enough :)
Translate the XML to HTML with XSLT then I downloaded one of the free 
"HTML to Text" tools which are prevalent on the net.
It sorta did work, except for the tables.   But I need something that 
can work in a production environment.   Open Source is prefered,
but if it does an excellent job then a commercial product could be 
justified (pun intended).

My next attempt will to try Apache FOP.    I looked at RenderX but they 
dont claim text output.
Apache FOP claims a text output but with caveots, the claim is its not 
robust code with poor results.
Maybe they are being kind and it really works great.   I will try.

Any other suggestions ?   I can always 'roll my own' but this project is 
not on the budget yet and were trying to see if we can do something with 
minimal work.


David A. Lee

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