As a productivity tool, our product intends to save you a significant amount of your time, and spare you the difficulties of a manual process. As explained in my previous post “How to create PDF files from XML with Apache-FOP”, XSL-FO and Apache-FOP provide a free and standard way to create PDF files in a language independent manner.
there are a number of disadvantages with that approach, e.g.:
- you have to learn XSL-FO (and therefore also XPath and XSL).
- even if you know XSL-FO you do not want to be writing FO templates using a text editor.
- there is some logic that cannot be easily defined using
XSL-FO. For example, grouping of data requires you to use the so
method , which isn't straightforward to understand.
to overcome these drawbacks, at J4L Components we have developed J4L FO
Designer. The designer is a Visual (WYSIWYG) editor that will
generate XSL-FO files for you. This makes the start into the
XSL-FO world very easy, and it is also a useful tool for experienced
developers since you can create and test XSL-FO files very
Additionally, it will also implement the algorithms for data grouping and running subtotals. Even though the tool has been created and tested for Apache FOP, the generated XSL-FO files would work with other FOP implementations.
Last but not least, we have added additional features to the FOP server (this is outside the standard) such as digital signatures and creation of PDF interactive forms.
download the evaluation version here.
In the previous post we have seen how to create a "Hello World" PDF file by using XSL-FO files. The following instructions explain how the same PDF file can be created using J4L FO Designer:
1) We use the same persons.xml file:
2) Open the designer, select the "Test Data" section on top of the left column and load persons.xml