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Strengths and Weaknesses of XFC

Overall, XFC's strengths definitely outweigh its weaknesses:

  • The application comes bundled with the necessary XSLT and XSL-FO processors. You don't have to download and configure any other software.

  • XFC comes with a set of DocBook stylesheets. However, most of these are older versions of the stylesheets. While they are usable, you should download the latest stylesheets from the DocBook Open Repository web site.

  • XFC is written in Java, so it's cross-platform. I regularly use it in Linux and Windows. Even if you work with multiple operating systems, you can still transform your DocBook files, no matter where you're working. You only need a copy of a Java Virtual Machine (JVM) installed on your computer to run XFC.

  • You can use XFC as a GUI application or at the command line.

However, XFC has the following weaknesses:

  • XFC doesn't support DocBook SGML. While DocBook XML is becoming more widely used, there are still areas in which DocBook SGML has the upper hand—for example, when producing high-quality print output.

  • The application supports only the PNG, GIF, and JPEG image formats. If you have other types of graphics in your document (such as TIFs), they won't appear in your document when converted with XFC.

  • XFC runs slowly on older hardware. On a Pentium 300 with 128MB of memory, XFC can take up to a minute to start, and about that much time to transform a small document.

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