|OverviewXSL-FO ConverterXML Editor|
Frequently Asked Questions
This page provides answers to the most frequently asked questions regarding XMLmind XSL-FO Converter (XFC for short) and XMLmind XSL Utility, its graphical user interface.
Q: I'm supposed to be allowed to upgrade Professional Edition for free. How can I do that?
Q: I would like to purchase a license for integration of XFC into a web application. This application would run on a server hosted in the Cloud. Can you please tell me which license I would need to purchase?
A: The Server License and Site License do not apply to running our software in the Cloud. They apply to well-identified, physical host machines (no matter their number of processors, processor cores or use of virtualization software), whether located at your offices or hosted by a “traditional web hoster”. The only license which applies to your case is the Developer License which is basically an unrestricted deployment license.
Q: I use the page-number-citation object to print the number of pages in my document, but the displayed value is always 0 when I load the document in MS-Word. How can I get the correct value?
A: Page references are implemented with fields (more information ) The values of these fields are not automatically updated when loading a document in MS-Word. The easiest way to update all field values is to force a repagination of the document, for instance by switching to the Page Layout view. This will work fine for fields in the body of the document, but not for those in the headers/footers. To update fields in the headers or footers of a document, proceed as follows:
Q: Vertical space between blocks (e.g. <xsl:attribute name="space-after.optimum">0.75em</xsl:attribute>) is almost always incorrect. Is there a workaround for this bug?
A: This problem happens only when the XSL-FO file processed by XFC is indented (generally for debugging purposes). The workaround is to instruct the XSLT engine generating the XSL-FO file not to indent it, that is replace something like:
<xsl:output method="xml" encoding="UTF-8" indent="yes"/>
<xsl:output method="xml" encoding="UTF-8" indent="no"/>
This instruction is generally found at the beginning of the main XSLT style sheet.
Q: My .fo file contains a fo:external-graphic element which points to an existing JPEG file, but this image is not showing in the document generated by XFC. Are there known bugs related to image support in XFC?
A: No, not all. This symptom is almost always caused by a problem in the .fo file or a problem in the image file:
Q: What is the option of XFC which allows to generate MS-Word documents making use of named styles (Normal, "Heading 1", "Heading 2", etc)?
A: There is no such option. XFC:
Q: I cannot get the results that I want. Can you help me tweak my XSLT stylesheet?
A: I'm sorry but we definitely don't help our customers tweak their XSLT stylesheets. This would be a (expensive) service. We don't sell a service, we sell a (reasonably priced) software product.
Here's what we do for our own stylesheets (which are often large and complex and nevertheless, work the same whatever the XSL-FO processor being used):
Q: I cannot start XMLmind XSL Utility on my PC running Vista 64-bit. Xslutil.exe pretends that there is no suitable JavaTM runtime installed on my machine, which is simply not true because I have installed the latest 64-bit JavaTM runtime. Is there a workaround for this bug?
A: Upgrade to XMLmind XSL Utility v4.3.2.
Q: I have tested XFC using Evaluation Edition. But now, I need to estimate how long it will take me to integrate XFC in my application. How can I do that?
A: XFC is really easy to integrate in any application. As of XFC v4.3, you can use XFC Evaluation Edition to test the integration in your application. More information in Evaluate Professional Edition.
Q: This XSL technology seems elegant but also terribly complex. What can you say to convince me to take the time to learn it?
A: This technology is not that complex. And it is certainly less tedious to learn than the following formats: PDF, PostScript®, RTF, WorprocessingML, OpenOffice, etc.
XSL-FO is conceptually simple. Basically Formatting Objects are just nested blocks and text containers with attached style properties. XSL-FO is not harder to learn than HTML+CSS.
XSLT is clearly more challenging to learn than XSL-FO.
Also note that, for some applications, directly generating XSL-FOs is the simplest and most efficient solution.
Q: XFC is an XSL-FO processor written in JavaTM and, by experience, I know that XML processing in JavaTM is slow to the point of being unusable. Is XFC really usable in a production environment?
A: Yes, if you do not implement the XML processing pipeline naively and if you carefully choose your software components:
Q: Now that all major office automation formats are publicly available, well-documented, XML-based standards, why would I need a software component such as XFC?
A: Nowadays, all major office automation formats are based on very low-level XML vocabularies expressing in great details how to layout some text on a page.
WorprocessingML example (paragraph containing the following text "Some unnamed character level styles: underline, italic, bold."):
<w:p> <w:r> <w:t>Some unnamed character level styles: </w:t> </w:r> <w:r> <w:rPr> <w:u w:val="single"/> </w:rPr> <w:t>underline</w:t> </w:r> <w:r> <w:t>, </w:t> </w:r> <w:r> <w:rPr> <w:i/> <w:i-cs/> </w:rPr> <w:t>italic</w:t> </w:r> <w:r> <w:t>, </w:t> </w:r> <w:r> <w:rPr> <w:b/> </w:rPr> <w:t>bold</w:t> </w:r> <w:r> <w:t>.</w:t> </w:r> </w:p>
The documentation of these formats is always very large and often obscure. Therefore, learning these formats is uninteresting and takes a long time.
This being said, now let's compare the different methods which may be used to automatically generate documents in office automation formats:
Q: XFC in its .NET version has been developed in Visual J#. Does this mean that my application integrating XFC also needs to be developed in Visual J#?
A: No, not at all. You may use any .NET language. Isn't this one of the main selling points of the .NET technology?
Note that nobody actually develops in Visual J#. Not even us, XMLmind. XFC is written in the JavaTM language. The JavaTM source code is then compiled using the Visual J# compiler. But, in order to have an API which feels native to the .NET programmer, we have also written a facade in C# which is specific to the .NET version.
The only drawback of this approach for you the programmer integrating XFC, is that your software will need the Visual J# 2.0 Redistributable in order to run.
A: No. XMLmind XSL-FO Converter is a .NET 2.0 assembly which requires the Visual J# 2.0 Redistributable in order to run. As long as .NET 2.0 assemblies will be compatible with the very latest .NET framework (this is the case for the .NET 3.5 framework: we have tested that), XMLmind XSL-FO Converter in its .NET version will not be obsolete.
© 2003-2013 Pixware. Updated on 2013/5/16.
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