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FOP 1.0 Rounds Out Apache XML Software Stack

07.21.2010
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Today marks the release of Apache FOP 1.0, an open source XSL Formatting Objects Processor.  Donated in 1999, FOP is one of the industry's first print formatters driven by the W3C's standard XSL-FO.  It is also one of the most common output-independent formatters.  With the release of FOP 1.0 and the recent addition of Apache Xerces 2.10, the Apache XML Stack (FOP, Xerces, and Xalan) is getting a significant upgrade.  The redesign of FOP in 1.0 includes enhancements in the layout engine and improved user experience.

Here is the list of major changes in version 1.0

  • Added support for addressing all glyphs available in a Type 1 font
  • Added support for auto-configuring TrueType Collections. XML font metrics files for *.ttc fonts are not required anymore.
  • Added support for rendering pages using Java Printing System.
  • Support character-by-character font-selection strategy on fo:character element.
  • Implemented word-by-ford font-selection strategy on text.
  • AFP Output: Various enhancements
  • FOP now creates ToUnicode CMaps for single-byte fonts that don't use built-in encodings
  • Introduced a new, additional intermediate format optimized for performance. See the intermediate format documentation for details.
  • Added an initial set of extensions for prepress support.
  • Added limited support for different page widths within a page-sequence.
  • Added support for TrueType fonts with symbol character maps (like "Wingdings" and "Symbol").
  • Added an event handling framework which allows to get better feedback from within FOP with the ability to customize problem management.

FOP converts XSL-FO files to PDF, PostScript, SVG, RTF, or XML.  It is the default implementation bundled in XML editors such as XSLfast, Oxygen, and XMLSpy. 

The FOP project is already in widespread use by companies like Accenture, BNP Paribas, FedEx, the European Patent Office, Ford, HP, IBM, Siemens, the US Army, and the US House of Representatives.  "FOP's popularity is undisputed," said Apache XML Graphics PMC Chair Simon Pepping.  However, the developers still consider it a work in progress with more features yet to be implemented.  "Some 'overnight successes' take ten years or more," said James Governor, Analyst and Founder of RedMonk. "Apache FOP seems to be one of them."