24 Jun 2002 vdv   » (Master)

    Pushed by a need to find a home for xvif, I have finally started opening some sections of XmlSchemata.org, an "equal opportunity web site for XML schema languages". Currently available are: All this powered by "best of the breed" open source software.
    The next problem I'll have to face is the need for some level of integration and common look and feel for XmlSchemata. So far, I have been solving this kind of issues (for instance for XMLfr) the hard and classical way by using the customization features of each open source application to present it in the look and feel of the site. It's perfectly possible to achieve a pretty good result since most if not all these softwares are flexible enough to look as you like. It's painfull though since the customization is different for each of them and it's also very difficult to maintain: to apply any change to the whole site you need to edit the configuration of each of the applications you've installed.
    I am considering using a different approach for XmlSchemata.org and developing a kind of "presentation/proxy server" which would act as a proxy adding the presentation through XSLT transformations. I have started developing a simple prototype using Python and libxml/libxslt and this looks very promissing. The benefit of using libxml/libxslt is that it's very fast and has a good HTML parser.
    The idea is that this presentation server would receive the requests and apply a XSLT transformation on the HTTP request formalized as XML. This transformation would read some kind of site map and when needed either execute a CGI script or pass the request to another HTTP server and format the (X)HTML result of the CGI or HTTP request. I am quite confident that the customization of open source applications can be much less painfull and much easier to maintain using this kind of techniques... But I still need to prove it!

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