These are great ideas and I think that getting the DITA community which is skilled at document management and document authoring connected with the people here who are looking at these issues from a technical point of view could energize the modernization of document production. DITA provides an authoring language that is independent of the output format and media. The language is XML so the processing technology has to start with XML but could have the output in any form (currently HTML and PDF but there is no theoretical restrictions).

More comments in-line.

On 30/03/2014 5:19 PM, Jan Tosovsky wrote:
On 2014-03-26 Ron Wheeler wrote:
On 26/03/2014 2:59 PM, Jan Tosovsky wrote:
On 2014-03-26 Christopher R. Maden wrote:
Although I don’t get a vote, I completely agree with Glenn that DITA
integration into FOP is completely inappropriate.
+1

FOP consumes standardized XSL-FO.

DITA-OT should produce standardized XSL-FO. Period ;-)
It does but FOP does not support all PDF features so some of the things
that people can express in DITA's XML can not produce the PDF output
that people want/need.

There are two possible interpretations:
(1) user's intent cannot be achieved by XSL-FO
(2) user's intent can be achieved by XSL-FO, but the given functionality is not 
supported by FOP
Another possible reason
(3) the DITA-OT developers have not been able how to build the XSLT to get the required XSL-FO.

I think that it will take a collaboration between the DITA-OT developers and the developers of FOP to determine which features are blocked by each of these reasons.

Anyway, it would be nice to collect these requests (wish list) and create a 
poll targetting DITA community to get real demand for them. If there is 
something FOP related, FOP devs could roughly estimate mandays (and thereof 
costs). The final part is to find sponsors or involve crowdfunding.

But keep in mind that XSL-FO is loosing its attraction. Its standardization has 
been discontinued and no one can expect new features in the near future. I 
strongly suggest joining already mentioned W3C PPL group 
http://www.w3.org/community/ppl/ which is trying to move these things forward.
I can not imagine that PDF will disappear in the intermediate term but mobile is likely to shift the emphasis on DITA->HTML and CSS.
Standardization has moved primarily into the CSS. There are many proposals 
trying to enhance this standard with paged media related stuff. It is clear 
that this is considered as the future. Check also this article:
http://alistapart.com/article/building-books-with-css3


I personally think it would be much easier to attract developers to create a 
completely new paged media CSS engine than to add several niche XSL-FO features 
into FOP. But when mentioning the new engine, I don't think it is a good idea. 
Sooner or later these CSS features will be adopted by major browsers and in 
that time it won't be necessary to produce PDFs at all :-)
The supposes that paper documentation will disappear. There are regulatory issues, industry practices, etc. that need to change. There will still be face to face meetings where someone wants to hand a piece of paper to someone for the next few years.
PDF engines (XSL-FO, CSS) will survive only if they offer any added value. I 
can think of an export into other formats (PS, AFP), a sophisticated index 
rendering (XSL-FO 1.1) or microtypography features 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microtypography (not covered by standards yet). 
But AFAIK the latter would require major FOP redesign...
Collaboration with the largest authoring community might help keep the XMLGraphics group at the forefront of these ideas.
Jan





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Ron Wheeler
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Artifact Software Inc
email: rwhee...@artifact-software.com
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