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[xsl] Word -> XSL

Subject: [xsl] Word -> XSL
From: "Schultz, Len" <len@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 4 Jan 2010 13:29:36 -0500


I am building a web application that will allow restaurants to easily create
custom beverage (e.g. wine) menus utilizing a central database of beverage
products.  Key to this is making it really easy to have each restaurant
specify and implement their look and feel into their menus.  The effort needs
to be extremely light weight: we'll have to do potentially 1000 different menu
templates for 1000 different restaurants.  FYI, today 90% of menus are done in
MS Word, another 9% done in MS Excel, and the remaining 1% is probably Adobe
InDesign, Quark, and MS Publisher.

I want to implement this using XML and XSLT.  The question I have for this
group is the plusses and minuses of 2 different targets for the

Option 1 is to transform to WordML and SpreadsheetML.  This has the benefits
of 1) having the restaurant send us their design in Word/Excel, then all we
have to do is create an XSLT to replace the data.  And 2) if there are changes
or adjustments to make in the layout, the restaurant can then make those
changes in Word/Excel, and we just create a new XLST.

Option 2 is to transform to XSL (aka XSL-FO).  This has the benefits that 1)
we can transform to PDF, which would cover the 1% that don't have Word/Excel. 
And 2) we can keep people in our system to make.  But I don't know how we can
easily create the XSL from sample menus sent to us in Word.  I also don't know
what kind of layout change process would work (our web application might need
to be robust enough to allow users to fine-tune layout changes online)

I'd like to tackle the first issue first.  Does anyone have insights into how
XSL could be created from a sample Word document, and the effort involved in
creating that XSL?


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