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Advanced Cross-Publishing with XML and XSLT/FO using Platform Independent Open Source Tools

Alexander Schatten
Vienna University of Technology
Institute for Software Technology and Interactive Systems
http://www.schatten.info | schatten@ifs.tuwien.ac.at

Required Audience Experience
Knowledge of XML and related technologies is required as well as basic knowledge in XSL (Extensible Stylesheet Language) programming.
Basic Experience in Programming (Java) would be advantageous.

The Tutorial will be based on Open Source frameworks and tools and is strictly committed to open protocols and standards (like recommendations from World Wide Web Consortium W3C). A brief review about required standards and protocols will be given: XML, XSLT, XSL:FO, XHTML, eventually Webservices (SOAP).

Framework (s), Tools

Three basic strategies will be demonstrated and explained in detail:
• “manual” publishing using Editors like JEdit with XML plugins and
direct use of XSLT/FO processors like Apache Xalan and FOP
• off-line pre-processing using batch tools like Apache Ant and
   Apache Cocoon
• on-line publishing and integration of publishing techniques in
web-applications using Apache Cocoon

Data Sources
In XML based multi-channel publishing the datasource often is XML. It will be presented, that other data sources can be easily integrated. Examples will be: relational database systems, XML databases.

Target Formats

Cross publishing or multi-channel publishing means targeting different audiences as well as different devices. Both problems will be addressed: For example: from the same data source selected information could be published for Internet and complete information for Intranet.
Moreover data for different devices like web browsers, mobile clients and print formats (PDF, PS) will be produced.

XML/XSLT Concepts
XSLT and XSL:FO allow flexible publishing, yet pitfalls exist: A clear strategy is necessary to produce XSL(T) applications that integrate well with existing processes and allow to integrate templates of graphical designers. A key part of this tutorial will be focused to create XSLT scripts that offer this flexibility. Again, different approaches will be demonstrated:

• Cocoon offers mechanisms to integrate different sources,
   design as well as data.
• A “callback” concept will be presented that allows flexible use of HTML    templates with XSL processing.