Formatting XML with XSL-FO

XSL-FO is a very high-powered style language that is particularly well suited to print. It allows you to take exacting control over every little detail of the printed page, including margins, headers, footers, and so on. XSL-FO could also be applied to the Web as a high-end replacement for CSS but browsers have yet to adopt it as a page formatting and layout standard.

XSL-FO, an XML stylesheet technology that is in some ways akin to a supercharged CSS. XSL-FO is the other half of the XML stylesheet equation, with XSLT being the original half that you learned about in XSL Basics, and Transforming XML with XSLT.

So, for now you have to consider XSL-FO as a technology primarily useful for print. Fortunately, there is a need for such a technology. This tutorial introduces you to the XSL-FO language, and how it is used to render highly formatted printed pages based upon XML code.

In this tutorial, you'll learn

  • What XSL-FO is and how it came to be
  • About the nuts and bolts of the XSL-FO language
  • How to validate XSL-FO documents
  • How to convert an XSL-FO document to a PDF document that can be viewed in Adobe Acrobat Reader