Andrew Hendrickson wrote:
> This is a fishing excursion to see if anyone here at UVM has any
> experience with transforming XML into PDF files? In the few minutes of
> Google research I've done it appears that the two formats are kindred
> and that "all" you need is an XML Formatting Object file (XFO).
Almost. FO is part of the XSL specification. Basically, you create an
XML file, preferably one that conforms to a specific Document Type
Definition or schema. You then transform that document by way of an XSL
(Extensible Stylesheet Language Transformation) stylesheet file to
create a new file. That file might be an XHTML file or another XML
file--depends on what you need to accomplish. Part of the transformation
might also include formatting, which is where XSL-FO comes in. In some
ways it is similar to CSS but in actuality it is much more robust: CSS
formats a file with a top down approach. XSL-FO allows you to mix,
extract and otherwise rearrange a file and then format the bits and pieces.
So, what you will need is an XML file, an XSLT file (with FO-formatting
objects) and something to do the transformation. There are some free
ones: Apache FOP, XEP. Or, better yet, get a copy of OxygenXML (30 day
free trial, academic price under $50) which is an XML and XSLT editor.
It has FOP built in to do the transformations.
Now, having said all that I should also add that, while I've done some
other transformations, I haven't actually done one to PDF. So, here are
some links that you might find useful to continue the quest:
Here's the Voyager entry for the O'Reilly book on XSL-FO
or several of the O'Reilly books are available online through the
library (http://library.uvm.edu/books/index.html, then got to Safari
Tech Books link at the bottom of the page)
Another option would be to do a transformation from your XML document to
XHTML, which is pretty common, open that in OpenOffice and go from there
to PDF. I guess it depends on how static the documents are, how often
you are processing them, whether you want to process them on the fly,
etc. And if you are trying to do real-time access to these transformed
FileMaker/XML files via the web you should also be aware that not all
browsers are as xml-aware as others.
I hope that provides a starting place...