R – what are the leading XSL-FO implementations? How to decide among them


I'm evaluating PDF rendering technologies. XSL-FO is our chosen path because its an open standard and our source data is XML. What experiences have people had with the various implementations of XSL-FO?

The implementations I've found so far are:

The criteria I'm using to evaluate are: performance, stability, supportability,
price, template management tools. Also important: good java APIs and ability to run on Unix.

Whatever product we end up choosing, we will also be asked to find consulting services to help us build our templates, so the ability to find developers versed in the the technology is important.


The Ecrion folks did a performance comparison which is disputed by the renderX
people. However, renderX has so far declined to offer their own benchmarks or tests for comparison. I guess I'll have to run my own benchmarks.

So far I'm leaning toward Ecrion because it supports WordML output, and the renderX guy was kind of rude.

Best Solution

Ibex pdf creator is a good XSL-FO engine with Java and .NET implementations.

I have used their Java implementation and it did pretty much everything we needed and was performant. Their licensing model is really good, especially if you are building clients that need XSL-FO processing. You pay a per-developer fee, not a per-client distribution.

Antenna House and renderX. are the leaders in the XSL-FO space. They have great tools and overall support/implementation for the XSL-FO specification.

Regardless of which FO engine you decide on, it is helpful to have several available for development. Rendering through different FO engines helps test out your XSL-FO and determine if incorrect output is due to a problem with the rendering engine or with your XSL-FO.

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