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Active Layout Engine: Algorithms and Applications in Variable Data Printing

Lin, Xiaofan

HPL-2005-6R1

Keyword(s): automatic document layout; constraint solving; table formatting; Simplex; variable data printing

Abstract: Variable Data Printing (VDP) provides a huge opportunity for HP's imaging and printing business. A core technology required by highly customized VDP applications is the automatic layout engine, whose task is to adjust the original design or generate a new layout to present variable contents. A brand-new layout engine, called Active Layout Engine (ALE), has been designed and implemented. "Active" reflects several unique features of the engine: First, through (multi)linear text block modeling and two-pass constraint solving algorithm, it supports a rich set of layout operations, such as simultaneous optimization of text block width and height, integrated image cropping, and non-rectangular text wrapping. Second, it does not rely on a particular layout description language and thus can actively pursue emerging formats and standards. This report describes the various technical aspects of ALE: Linearization of the text block modeling, two-pass constraint solving algorithm, format-neural Active Layout Template (ALT), system optimization, and typical VDP applications around the core engine.

32 Pages

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