XSLFO is an abbreviation for Extensible Stylesheet Language Formatting Objects. This specification is used to describe how XML documents should be formatted for printing or viewing in mediums other than traditional web browsers. It is a tool in the computing world that helps determine how XML documents should look when presented visually. Essentially, XML is about structuring data; when it comes to deciding how this data should look visually, XSL:FO comes into play.

What does XSL:FO do?

To explain what XSL:FO does, imagine a situation where a company has thousands of invoices stored as XML files. XML provides all the necessary information, like who the invoice is for, the amount, the date, and more, but it doesn’t dictate how this information should be displayed on paper or on the screen. XSL:FO can create a template that specifies where and how each piece of information should be displayed.

Advantages of XSLFO

XSL:FO has several advantages, here are three of them:

  1. Thanks to XSL:FO, precise control of layout and presentation can be executed.
  2. Advanced page layouts, including multi-page documents with different page layouts, footnotes, page breaks, column layouts, and more, can be handled by XSL:FO.
  3. It also supports international writing systems and multilingual text, making it possible to create documents in multiple languages with the correct text flow and typography.

Despite its many advantages, there are also challenges with XSL:FO as it has a steep learning