[1] Challenge: Creating a template on a graphic user interface without programming. Answer: The Page Layout Designer.

The process of creating an XSL-FO template and then carrying out a 100% layout production will only make you happy when the layout can actually be produced at 100%. This may sound redundant but in reality many customers find it very problematic to form a set of rules from their actually existing documents, which can then be laid down in the XSL-FO template.

Meaning the creation of such templates may be tedious for the programmer and also for the customer who is always of the opinion of having told the producer “everything”. “Telling everything” is often just handing over a lot of ‘representative documents’. The process becomes repetitive and most of the time turns out more expensive than expected at first.

When the template is finally stable all modifications are expert knowledge as it is indeed a “program” The creation is expensive, makes the customer inflexible and dependent on his producer and the programer.

This problem can only be avoided when the customer himself can create the layout on a graphic user interface without programing. It is irrelevant that also a Page Layout Designer will always be a tool for layout experts. It is crucial that the number of users can be extended from “XSL-FO programer” to “trained technical writer with layout knowledge” and hereby the customer gains the flexibility and independence he wishes for. The customer does not want to phone the producer for each small problem…

We at SCHEMA have long pondered the idea of developing the Page Layout Designer. As not only the huge challenges of problematic details are amazing. It all needs to be integrated into the system as well, as only this grants total benefit…

The fact is: We have put several years into the development of our Page Layout Designer and today our customers use it productively.

[2] Challenge: WYSIWYG preview. Answer: The ST4 Layout Preview.

Independent of the fact that many other online formats can be generated from an XML based system, the production of printable documents (at least PDF) is and will remain obligatory – also for the near future. It is natural that users need an appropriate WYSIWYG layout preview directly in the system and without further aids.

Also this has been included for free in ST4 for some time now. This is not the only interesting fact for our customers but also that no PDF file needs to be written onto the file system – not even temporarily. From there these files often tend to start their journey into the big wide world partly unchecked, without necessity and not released…

In ST4 nothing needs to be installed for this preview, no additional costs nor security flaws occur and: It really looks as if it had been produced.