[XSL-LIST Mailing List Archive Home] [By Thread] [By Date]

Re: [xsl] xsl-fo and professional publishing

Subject: Re: [xsl] xsl-fo and professional publishing
From: "Eliot Kimber ekimber@xxxxxxxxxxxx" <xsl-list-service@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 13 Jun 2014 13:24:22 -0000

Most publishers do not use an XSL-FO process for books that have unique
page designs--publishers today almost without exception use InDesign as
their page composition tool.

While it is possible to use XSL-FO for professional publishing there are
limitations, both in what you can achieve through a one-pass FO process
and the overall typographic quality of the result relative to what tools
like InDesign can achieve (albeit with human intervention).

For one-off page designs it usually wouldn't make sense to have a process
that requires creating custom FO generation for that one book, certainly
not within the context of typical publishing workflows. There is also the
issue of available skills: InDesign operators are essentially a commodity,
XSLT and XSL-FO programmers are rare, so even if it made technical or
economic sense it can be hard to staff and FO-based workflow, especially
one that requires new engineering for each new title.

For publications that represent a series or consistent page design, then
it can make sense to use XSL-FO because the cost savings over manual page
layout are tremendous (easily 10x or greater cost reduction and time
reduction from weeks or months to minutes). Even the cost of implementing
multi-pass FO processes can be easily justified. There are publishers
pursuing this approach but they are still relatively rare.

Some specialty publishers they may be happy to have you produce the final
pages yourself if you can otherwise meet their layout requirements and
some technical publishers, like O'Reilly, already have sophisticated
XML-based composition automation. The smaller the publisher, the more
likely they are to be flexible and receptive to non-traditional production


Eliot Kimber, Owner
Contrext, LLC

On 6/13/14, 8:09 AM, "jfrm.maurel@xxxxxxxxx jfrm.maurel@xxxxxxxxx"
<xsl-list-service@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

>I wonder whether xml + xsl + xsl-fo is a current practise in
>professional publishing for technical books at least in Europe.
>My use case is as follows:
>I have home made xml file database with their schema, xsl stylesheets
>and xsl-fo style sheets that I am currently using to create various
>output formats such as xhtml and pdf in the context of training courses.
>This works fine up to now.
>Now I would like to use the xml stuff to publish a paper book (300
>pages). I don't expect a very large audience as it is technical stuff. I
>know some publisher are interested but before contacting one of them I
>would like to have information on the current practise. So my question is:
>- is it current practise to develop specific xsl-fo stylesheets for one
>paper book or is it efficient only if several formats are needed ?
>- is xsl-fo competitive compared to direct loading of xml files in
>professional publishing software ?
>- is there a reference book on the subject of xsl-fo and professional
>publishing ?
>any information is welcome.
>Jean-FranC'ois MAUREL

Current Thread