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Subject: Re: [docbook-apps] Two nagging problems with docbook2pdf in texlive 2019

On 11/06/2021 14:53, Kevin Dunn wrote:
Thanks, Dave. You were helpful to me 10 years ago. The XEP PDF output looks pretty nice with the default xsl stylesheet. There are some fancy things I achieved with dsssl and jadetex, and I'm not sure how easy they would be with an xsl-fo toolchain:

 1. the Lettrine tex package did a great job producing drop caps.

You can do that with AH Formatter.  See
https://www.antenna.co.jp/AHF/help/en/ahf-ext.html#DropCapitals and also
from the 'XSL-FO Samples Collection' page at

 2. I wrote custom dsssl to make xref link to page numbers, for example
    "These are found in Appendix A (page 127)."

See http://www.sagehill.net/docbookxsl/CustomXrefs.html

 3. pdfjadetex produces nice ligatures, including, for example, ffi.
    Using the default xsl stylesheet, fop doesn't do any ligatures, and
    xep does fi, but not ffi. Maybe it depends on the font?

It depends on both the font and the formatter, but I would expect that
every formatter can use ligatures if they are in the font. (Some will
also let you disable ligatures, but that is the opposite of what you say
you want.)

 4. The titlepage used a custom graphic for the title, rather than
    rendering it in a font.

The DocBook XSLT 1.0 stylesheets have a template mechanism where you
define a lot about the titles and the templating (for want of a better
word) stylesheet generates the XSLT to make it work.

See http://www.sagehill.net/docbookxsl/HTMLTitlePage.html.  My recent
attempt to explain it is at

I'm willing to learn xsl-fo, and I'm willing to spend hundreds, but not thousands of dollars on commercial tools. I've tried xsltproc-fop and xsltproc-xep. Are there other combinations for less than a thousand dollars?

The 'Lite' version of the 'Standalone' (single end user) AH XSL
Formatter is USD 400.  The not so good news is that 'Lite' means that it
doesn't implement all of the AH Formatter extensions, and drop caps
require the 'Standard' version, which is USD 1,250.  See


Tony Graham.
Senior Architect
XML Division
Antenna House, Inc.
Skerries, Ireland

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