[xep-support] Next Installment of CoolTools - Huge Document Formatting

From: Kevin Brown <kevin@renderx.com>
Date: Thu Nov 12 2009 - 10:38:40 PST

Yes, we are still here working on some interesting things and thought it was
time to discuss some interesting concepts that we are rolling into another
product at RenderX.

Many of our high volume formatting customers -- those that produce monthly
statements, invoices, receipts, direct mail, etc. have always had the
requirement to produce very large "documents". And by large, we mean on the
order of 50,000 to 150,000 or more pages in one document. in reality, this
is a series of documents -- like all the phone bills for a particular month
for a telephone company. They want a single file, usually in PostScript or
AFP format for print. Oh, and also they want it generated fast ... much
faster than the printer can even print.

So, an interesting challenge but one that RenderX took on actually long ago.
But since we had many new requests, we decided a white paper to describe how
to do such things with RenderX almost out-of-the-box was in order. You can
find this on our website here:


In short, the paper describes methods for splitting large incoming XML
files, concurrently formatting these smaller chunks across a grid of
renderers -- in multiple threads, multiple JVMs, multiple cores, even
multiple machines to achieve very, very high performance. For those in the
know, this is our EnMasse developer's kit that has existed for years. We
again leverage the XEP Intermediate Format (XEPOUT) to stream individual
chunk results through another RenderX XEP rendering thread to generate the
output. This is really nothing new also, ConcatFormatter is a sample Java
application in our Java Developer's kit.

With these techniques in hand, we built some very large applications for
customers -- likely the largest XSL FO formatting applications in the world.
They are creating 150,000 page documents at speeds exceeding 200

Finally, we wrapped all of these into an application soon to be released
called VDPMill. The paper has some more details on this but this application
is the Splitter, interface to a grid of renders to format the load, and a
generator that can format multiple, simultaneous streams of output (like
individual PDFs as well as one giant Postscript) from this collective. It
is, in fact a Document Factory.

And we consider it "cool" so we are posting here to our regular "CoolTools"
section and offering anyone who wishes to give it a try. Just drop me an
email and I would be happy to send you a license and help you get started.

Kevin Brown
(650) 327-1000

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Received on Thu Nov 12 11:19:19 2009

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