7 Replies Latest reply on Nov 18, 2015 1:26 PM by $haronK

    XSLT file



      I am very new in using XSLT to format XML file.

      I would like to know if there is a tool to generate an xslt/fo file from an xml?

      Thank you,

        • 1. Re: XSLT file
          Loic.Aigon Adobe Community Professional



          In my very first attempts with coding XSLT, I used XSL-Easy. It's a windows app that let you create XSLT files in a graphical way. Once you get some confidence you can start overwriting this file or writing your own.


          XSLT isn't that hard to understand the idea. The only tough part is to get the limitations



          • 2. Re: XSLT file
            Daniel Sterchi Level 3

            Hi machipot


            I use Oxygen on the mac. It cots a bit but its worth it.


            kind regards


            Daniel (from Switzerland)

            • 3. Re: XSLT file
              machipot Level 1

              Thank you for your answers.

              I am looking for an InDesign cc 2014/ or 6/5.5 scripting book or online tutorials on how to generate from xml & xslt  a pdf document.

              Thank you,

              • 4. Re: XSLT file
                Loic.Aigon Adobe Community Professional

                I think you are messing two things here. Getting a PDF file from XML through XSL-FO has no link with inDesign Scripting and is generally produced with command-line tools.

                Getting a PDF from a XML through InDesign can be automated with Scripting in InDesign but it has no link with XSL-FO.

                So you may save you some time by starting clearing your mind about what technology you want/need to use

                • 5. Re: XSLT file
                  Dirk Becker Level 4

                  The original XSL project yielded several technologies -  XSLT for transforming XML into other XML, XSL:FO as an intermediate output format and XPath.


                  When you import XML into an InDesign document, you can specify an XSLT stylesheet. You would do that for several purposes: the imported XML may be closer to the original data including rich nested structures, some information may not be needed in print, be in wrong order or hiding in attributes. Besides sorting in XSLT is wicked fast.

                  Unfortunately XSLT is a very different world from most other programming languages, so you will get better support in dedicated outside forums or lists, even though a few of us here also know it (see above).

                  Another problem with XSLT is the age of the implementation provided by Adobe, don't expect features from EXSLT or from XSLT version 2 to work. In one of my plugin projects I just gave up on InDesign's XSLT and used libxslt instead. I can't tell for InDesign versions beyond CS6, though.

                  The biggest problem of XSLT within InDesign is that it only can output other XML, spiced up with few attributes as directives to trigger styles, but you can't create a new page or text frame, anchored page items and so forth. Looking back to XSL, that would be the domain of XSL:FO. There is completely no support for that in InDesign.


                  Instead, formatting is where scripting comes into the play. Back when InDesign had no XML support at all (around CS2) I wrote an experimental plugin with an approach similar to a StAX parser - basically feeding all the XML artifacts into matching methods, rather than loading them into the document structure. My first larger script to utilize that plugin was a partial XSL:FO processor that would map FO objects to InDesign objects, e.g. a fo:page-sequence would be turned into an InDesign section, and so forth. The problem with FO is that in most areas InDesign's possibilities are much richer so you would only want FO if you have an existing workflow with external processors, and need to improve the output quality by utilizing InDesign's better typography, image handling and so forth. When you start from scratch, you'd bypass the whole FO stuff and adopt the XML to your own complicated layout templates.

                  That project was never completed as I saw that major XML related efforts by Adobe were forthcoming with CS3, besides by then I had come to the above conclusion that typical users of FO have much simpler technical output needs better served by dedicated FO processors, comparing to the more elaborate use cases typical for InDesign. Besides I had to focus on a different project.

                  • 6. Re: XSLT file

                    Edge turned into Brackets as the go-to application from Adobe for xslt DEVELOPMENT... if that is what you are looking for, would recommend you take a look at it.

                    • 7. Re: XSLT file
                      $haronK Level 1

                      Adobe Edge is no longer supported as an Adobe application but was morphed into "Brackets.io" as a free application to the world... If you look up the Public Relations release in 2014, they point you with high recommendations to the Brackets app since it is based on the Edge application... Oasis approved and standards accepted. It is not perfect but I was delighted with it for the beginner and expert alike; I have been doing markup coding since 1987... starting with SGML and highly recommend you dive into it because every fortune cookie out there is recommending it and can't find enough experts.