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Re: Publican question

Hi Jared, we do indeed use FOP 0.20.5, and although I have some configuration data I used when testing FOP 0.93, it is by no means complete and I have no idea if they work with FOP 0.94.

FWIW I have found FOP 0.20.5 to be significantly more reliable than FOP 0.93, I haven't had time to test FOP 0.94 yet :(

Jared Smith wrote:
On Mon, 2008-02-18 at 09:47 -0500, Jared Smith wrote:
I'm sure I'll have more questions later, but I figured I'd throw this
one out here -- Is anyone else able to build PDFs using Publican?  I've
been playing with it all weekend, but I keep getting errors from FOP
when I try to build PDFs.

OK, sorry for the noise on the list... I think I've made some pretty
good progress on tracking down this problem.  To make a long short,
publican is assuming that we're using FOP 0.20, while what's in rawhide
is 0.94.  This meant xsltproc was adding fox:destination elements to
the .fo file, instead of the new fo:bookmarks instead.  To work around
this problem, I had to pass two additional string parameters to xsltproc
(in Makefile.templates):

 --stringparam fop1.extensions 1 --stringparam  fop.extensions 0

That got the .fo file generated so that FOP 0.94 would handle it
correctly, but then FOP died complaining that it couldn't find Batik in
the classpath.  (Which is strange, because I have batik installed.  I'm
wondering if the version of FOP in rawhide needs to be rebuilt with
something to tell it to look for batik, but that's just a wild guess.)
FOP needs batik to render the SVG graphics.  To get around this problem,
I removed the SVG logo from my document, and I passed one more parameter
to xsltproc to tell it to use the .png admonition graphics instead of
the SVG versions:

 --stringparam admon.graphics.extension .png

Ah, lo and behold, I was able to render a PDF!

I'll go ahead and create a diff against Makefile.templates and post it
to bugzilla tomorrow, but this raises a few questions:

1) Do we want the toolchain to be able to detect the version of FOP and
adjust itself accordingly?

This is probably the best approach, however different versions of FOP require different configuration files and font metrics files. So we really want to keep the number of supported version to a low number, like say 2 :)

2) Do we want to expose other parameters to xsltproc?  In my very
rudimentary home-grown toolchain, I create a custom XSLT stylesheet that
exposes a bunch of settings (paper.type, double.sided, draft.mode,
shade.verbatim, etc.) which imports the standard XSL stylesheet.  Would
this be more manageable in the long run that passing a bunch of
stringparam arguments to xsltproc?

The custom xsl has been specifically modified to give the best layout for the targeted formatting. It _may_ break horribly if you change parameters like single page and paper size. By "break horribly" I mean it may output ugly things, which I'm assured is close to criminal ... Andy likes his pretty things!

The thing about brands is that you don't want people changing things arbitrarily, if they want that they need to make their own brand.

The first custom brand will probably be a little difficult, I'll be happy to help anyone trying to setup a custom brand to get any kinks worked out.

I think the best way of doing this is to check for Brand specific xsl files, and if they exist use them. This way you can guarantee that books built using your brand, on your build server, will always be "on brand". But it also allows people to make custom brands and change the layout however they want.

If you wanted to offer two different outputs for a single real format, i.e. two flavors of pdf, one way would be to make a new main-<format>.xsl file.

e.g. Say you were wrong, yes wrong, and wanted to use US Letter (he he he :P) and single page, you could make a new target, say pdf-LS, you just cp main-pdf.xsl to main-pdf-LS.xsl, and make your changes to main-pdf-LS.xsl.

The slightly tricky part is to add the extra build targets to the appropriate Makefile, and viola you have an easy way of building US Letter, Single Page, PDFs (make pdf-LS). This is tricky since it uses Makefile templates, but the actually changes are easy once you grok how they work.

This would allow you to heavily customize the pdf-LS output without impacting the standards compliant, highly correct, extremely sexy, A4 pdf output ;)

I'll be adding Brand specific Makefiles to allow Brands to customize the build process, so this kind of thing will be easier for Brands to do.

3) Makefile.templates currently tells FOP to use the fop configuration
file in $(COMMON_CONFIG)/fop/fop-0.20.5.xconf, but that doesn't come as
part of the publican package.  Should we remove the reference (and
assume people have a valid FOP config file in /etc/fop.conf), or expose
this via a variable in the Makefile?  (This isn't a big deal -- I just
thought I'd mention it in passing while I was thinking about it.)

It's at /usr/share/publican/fop/fop-0.20.5.xconf

There is also /usr/share/publican/fop/fop-0.93.xconf

The default fop config file lacks font entries, causing most translated PDFs to be unreadable.

Definitely need to be able to switch fop config files, I'll poke around to find a workable way of doing this.

Cheers, Jeff.

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