The Next Stage in Composition -- McIlroy
Another great advantage is that elusive Holy Grail, a process to automate cross-media publishing. There is certainly a lot of work to be done, but I have no doubt that it's well within the capacity of XML semantics and XML engineering to build a basis for that workflow. The cross-media promise of XSL is real, if nowhere near realization.
But most significantly, XSL-FO will catch on because the adoption of XML (and, more importantly, XSLT) has become so widely entrenched across all industries, and has the unequivocal support of all of the largest and most important vendors across the business process landscape.
Working with XSLT moves a developer a big step closer to being able to implement FO, and that's a significant undercurrent of experience and energy propelling the standard forward.
The publishing industry has demonstrated repeatedly that it will favor standards over proprietary approaches, provided the software functionality related to the standard meets its business needs. As the XSL spec continues to mature, and as the software supporting it becomes more robust and user-friendly, I think we'll have a winner on our hands.
An altered and expanded version of this article appeared in the Gilbane Report, February issue.
About the Author
Thad McIlroy is an electronic publishing consultant and analyst, based at Arcadia House in San Francisco. He welcomes your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.