Use Inkscape and XSLT to Create Cross-Platform Reports and Forms
Shortly after we finished the project, we were faced with making two rounds of changes to the layout of the form. The first round of changes dealt with the positioning of text objects. The second round was far more extensive—we had to draw a series of new boxes on the form to accommodate a new identification system. Because we could not open the modified SVG in Inkscape, we had to make our changes to the master SVG and then apply them manually to the XSLT version.
At first, we thought making the changes would be hard and tedious, but it turned out that the process was simple. For the first round, we simply made the changes in the master using Inkscape, careful to keep a note of the objects we changed. Then, using a text editor, we replaced the old portions of XML with the new ones in the XSLT. Because the second batch of changes was additions only, we decided simply to make another layer in the master to which to add the boxes. When we finished adding the new boxes, we simply copied the new layer into the XSLT using a text editor.
From start to finish, our project took a little more than a month to design, build, test and publish. Our solution has made all of our applications more agile and effective. We also have saved terabytes' worth of storage space on our servers.
Currently, the SVG adaptation rate is rather slow. We are looking forward to seeing what other tools will be built that utilize the versatile SVG file format.
Chad Files is a software developer who resides in Conway, Arkansas. He is an avid hiker and longtime Linux user. He welcomes your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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