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Subject: Re: DOCBOOK-APPS: Newbie-esue question

On Sun, Jan 06, 2002 at 09:11:45PM -0500, Rory Hunter wrote:
> Hi,
> <newbie>
> For generating documents for print, what's the difference between rendering 
> using DSSSL and XSLT (etc)? I'm just curious.

Now, back to the original question.

In general, the print solution using DSSSL is more mature,
having been around longer.  It has more format outputs
(pdf, rtf, ps, mif), and most of the bugs have been worked
out.  Many people are using the DSSSL tools for publication
quality output.  You can still customize your output to
some degree by setting DSSSL parameters.  But if you want
to customize something beyond the parameters, you have to
learn DSSSL (or you learn to imitate Norm's coding, which
often works even if you don't know what you are doing 8^).
There is a small number of DSSSL processors out there.
DSSSL is not under active development, and few people know
it well, so it doesn't have much of a development future.

The XSL print solution uses XSLT to output an intermediate
XML FO file, which is then converted to print using an FO
processor.  It uses the XSL formatting objects (FO)
standard, which was only recently finalized.  It is a
complex standard, and none of the current FO processors
handle all of it.  Norm's FO stylesheets are pretty
complete, but they haven't been used as much as the HTML
stylesheets.  You can generate useful output now to PS or
pdf, but it may not be of sufficient quality for
publication, depending on your typographical standards.
You can customize the output by setting parameters in XSL.
The XSL stylesheets are also more flexible for changing
title pages and generated text.  You can also customize
Norm's stylesheets by writing XSLT code to output different
FO code.  More people know XSLT than DSSSL, and the FO
processors are under active development, so FO processing
has a good development future.

To sum up, DSSSL works well now but has no future,
and XSL/FO doesn't work quite as well yet, but will
in the future.  The big question is:  when?

Bob Stayton                                 400 Encinal Street
Publications Architect                      Santa Cruz, CA  95060
Technical Publications                      voice: (831) 427-7796
Caldera International, Inc.                 fax:   (831) 429-1887
                                            email: bobs@caldera.com

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