Displaying a compensation statement on the web as a pdf


Chidananda Sulur


The objective of this project is to build and demonstrate a framework for converting XML data to a pdf. The Compensation data in the form of XML will go through the XSL-FO transformation process to have the result displayed in the form of a pdf.


The project will demonstrate and apply technologies including XML, XSL, XSL-FO, FOP and SVG in displaying a pdf. The input Compensation data is in the form of XML. This will then be transformed into XSL-FO using a stylesheet and finally transformed into a pdf using FOP. The pdf will be formatted to present the resulting information in a user-friendly format.


This project will give me insight and understanding of the XML technologies involved and its practical applications. There is an ongoing project at my work which is requiring a design for displaying Compensation statements within a portal website. This information needs to be displayed dynamically to the user in a printer-friendly format. There are already Java-based Business objects in place that transform the Compensation data into XML. So by applying technologies like XML, XSL-FO, FOP learnt during this course, I will be able to work hands-on to deliver this solution as a pdf. This will meet the project goals and thereby help me gain a deeper understanding of the technologies involved. It will also showcase these technologies at my work and act as a reference for future use.


The process for generating the pdf is outlined below. The plan is to use the infrastructure present on the nice.fas.harvard.edu machine for this project.


The Compensation XML data is generated from Business Objects. It is assumed that the input XML information is already present in a pre-defined format. This XML data will be transformed into FO by using a XSL-FO stylesheet to generate the .fo file. Xalan processor will be used for doing this transformation. FOP will then be applied on this resulting .fo file to generate the pdf file. FOP framework deployed on nice.fas.harvard.edu machine is planned to be used for this process.It will also make use of SVG for displaying some of the data graphically.

I need to obtain a deeper understanding of XSL-FO framework and the syntax involved. It will also require an understanding of the HTML formatting skills for visually pleasing display of the resulting information. Additionally, I will need to look into SVG  for incorporating graphics within the XSL-FO document.



a) Are there any recommended links/sites/books for looking into XSL-FO, SVG technologies other than the ones already mentioned on the CSCIE259 website?

b) Are there any other components that I need to be aware of or consider during the design and development process?