The Apache FOP Project

The Apache™ FOP Project

Apache™ FOP Development: Developer Tools

This page documents items that may be helpful to other developers, especially to those who are new to Apache™ FOP. Exhaustive treatment of these topics is better suited to other fora, but the information presented here is intended to deal with FOP-specific issues related to these tools, especially "gotchas", and to help developers get jump-started.

Developer Checklist

Here is a (probably not comprehensive) list of tools you will need to be a successful FOP developer:

General Developer Information

See the Apache Contributors Tech Guide for useful information and links for Apache developers, including help with tools and procedures.

Subversion (SVN)


Visit Apache XML Graphics Code Repositories for useful information.

You will need a SVN client to be able to gain access to the FOP repository. For general SVN information, visit Subversion Home. A comprehensive list of clients for all operating systems and many IDEs can be found at the Subversion Links page. For Microsoft Windows we recommend TortoiseSVN. The command-line client that comes with Subversion is also very easy to use.

Step-by-step instruction for downloading FOP using the SVN command-line client

On the command-line (Windows or Unix), simply run:

svn co fop-trunk

This will download the FOP trunk into the directory "fop-trunk".

Step-by-step instructions for downloading FOP using TortoiseSVN (on Windows)

Creating Patches


Integrated Development Environments (IDEs)

An IDE is not required, but will generally be found to be helpful, especially for serious debugging and refactoring.

Borland's JBuilder 7/8 does not support Ant builds unless you have the Enterprise Edition (which is quite expensive). This causes problems with any code that is generated by the Ant build. First, you must run the Ant build before you can use the IDE. Second, when you are editing in the IDE, you must be editing the generated files, which means that you must make any changes to the source files in another editor. This is less serious for development on the trunk, but in the maintenance branch, all source files were "generated".

Sun ONE Studio Four does support Ant, but seems to use a built-in version, and as of this writing chokes on the FOP build file, saying that it is not valid. There is awkward because there is no official DTD for Ant, and it may be merely an Ant version issue.

Additional notes on setting up FOP within an IDE (ex. Eclipse) in the Wiki.