Chapter 4. XSL-FO

This chapter presents a reference and detailed examples of using the features of XSL-FO (eXtensible Stylesheet Language - Formatting Objects). It is used to specify the formatting semantics of documents using an XML format.

XSL-FO is used to produce formatted output from an XML data source. One problem of Web based applications has been the difficulty of producing quality printable output to create presentation quality documents available from the browser. XSL-FO, in conjunction with Scalable Vector Graphics (Chapter 5), gives you the tools to provide this service to users in common Web formats.

XSL-FO builds on the other Web based styling technologies like Cascading Style Sheets (CSS(2)), Document Style Semantics and Specification Language (DSSSL). The W3C used these technologies, which were aimed primarily for browser rendering to produce a specification for paginated output not solely targeted to the Web browser. This led to the W3C specification for XSL, which includes XSL-FO and for eXtensible Stylesheet Language Transformation (XSLT).

Although this chapter concentrates on producing output documents for printing, the XSL-FO specification provides for other mediums of electronic communication such as text to speech. XSL-FO also includes multilingual support including options for right-to-left, bottom-to-top languages.

At the moment, Web browsers cannot directly display pages marked up with XML-FO objects. To produce output from XSL-FO documents, you use an XSL-FO ...

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