Hi Andrew

Interesting stuff!

On 16.11.2007 15:54:54 Love, Andrew wrote:
> Hello Jeremias,
> I absolutely want to develop a solution that is not proprietary and follows
> the standard, so I really appreciate your ideas and suggestions.
> A little more background of the product and usage:
> - The product is a pharmacy management software system.
> - We use FOP throughout the application, but the enhancements I need are for
> generating prescription labels.
> - In this case, we use a Zebra label printer and the PCL language is ZPL.  I
> am planning to develop a ZPL renderer for the new FOP framework and submit
> it to the open source project.

I'm speaking only for myself here, but something "exotic" such as ZPL
could become problematic in terms of maintenance/testing if we accept it
into the project. We've basically turned down another renderer (ESC POS) in
the past because of that. Even for something as "common" as RTF we have
a maintenance problem today because not enough people are there to fix
bugs and further develop the component. You might be better off
publishing the renderer elsewhere (Google Code, SourceForge etc.). If it
turns out that there is enough interest to make it a part of FOP that
can still happen. It's actually what happened with the AFP renderer.

> - Typically a label is 4in by 4in with multiple stickers on the label.

...and you're using block-containers for the positioning of the
individual stickers on the label? That sounds more like a job for an
imposition [1] (2-up, n-up) feature. Our intermediate format [2] is
theoretically capable of doing such things. I just never had a concrete
need to try it out before. If I'm right here, it might actually be
easier to try this using imposition than to try and hack something
non-standard into FOP. WDYT?

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imposition
[2] http://xmlgraphics.apache.org/fop/trunk/intermediate.html

> - The stickers are placed on the bottle and a bag. 
> - Sections on the label have the text rotated 90 or 270 degrees.
> - Usually a bar code is placed on the label.
> -The value for overflow-to is the ID of another block-container.  Actually
> the value is another custom attribute that identifies the block, but ID is
> the best usage for this.  Typical usage for overflow are the dosage and
> instructions placed in one of the stickers. Example- Take 1 pill twice
> daily.  Warnings such as do not drink with milk, if you miss a dose do not
> take until the next dose is due, etc.  Since we are dealing with a small
> label the text usually does not fit, but the remaining warnings are placed
> either on another section of the label or page 2 in a specific block.  
> -The Whitespace Management Extension will fulfill my requirement for
> smallest-font-size.  

That's good news.

Jeremias Maerki

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