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From Stefano Mazzocchi <stef...@apache.org>
Subject Re: [midgard-dev] Formatting engine for Midgard
Date Tue, 20 Jun 2000 12:06:16 GMT
Hmmm, I approuved this mail right after you sent it... (I'm the
moderator of this list and every time you send your first message I get
to reject or approve the messages).

why did it take so long?

Jukka Zitting wrote:
> 
> Hi all,
> 
> I think I should perhaps clarify the idea about combining Midgard with Cocoon.
> The issue has popped up at both Midgard's and Cocoon's developer lists in
> response to a mail message that Henri Bergius sent to midgard-dev and later to
> cocoon-dev. The original message was inspired by a discussion I had with Henri a
> couple of weeks ago.
> 
> [For background you can check http://www.midgard-project.org/ for Midgard, and
> http://xml.apache.org/cocoon/ for Cocoon. I was the original author of Midgard,
> but no longer an active developer.]
> 
> I had been studying Cocoon for a while and told Henri about the great ideas and
> possibilities that Cocoon has to offer. I hadn't really thought about combining
> Midgard and Cocoon as they store and process data in very different ways. Henri
> however suggested the idea of combining the two methods. There was a short
> discussion about the possibility of using Midgard as a Cocoon Producer and
> possibly as a kind of a Formatter. This would wastly expand the different
> processing and output possibilities of Midgard content.
> 
> After thinking more about this I've come to the conclusion that the benefits
> would not overweight the problems associated with a such a solution. Rather I'd
> like to see a solution of using Midgard-like database abstractions as a Cocoon
> Processor.

I agree this is much better than having Midgard calling Cocoon for
content formatting.
 
> [The following is mostly of interest as a possible database access layer for
> Cocoon.]
> 
> For example, instead of using direct SQL like in the example:
> 
>   <query connection="foo_connection">
>     select name,number,message from foo_table order by name
>   </query>
> 
> you could use a more high-level construct like:
> 
>   <list what="messages" order="name" connection="foo_connection"/>
> 
> This way the database is handled only as an abstract repository of objects. It
> would be quite a lot easier to change the details of the underlying database
> storage.

I think a general XML-based CMS (content management system), like
Prowler for example, will give us much better ways to do these things.

> I know this is quite easy to do with XSP in individual cases, but a more generic
> solution would be nicer.

I totally agree. Falko and I have been privately exchanging visions
about this and if we get Prowler under the Apache XML umbrella, that
project will be responsible to give such "generic solution" for projects
like Cocoon or XML web apps like JetSpeed.

> You could have an XML file that contains a description
> of the database structure. The Processor would read this file, generate and
> execute the required SQL commands, and present the output embedded in semantic
> tags without references to low-level database fields.

This is a good idea indeed (I hate SQL!) but we were thinking at a more
document-centric solution where you have an XML database that you access
using XPath (or XQL) queries. A sort of huge transactionally-persistent
DOM with a bunch of XML-layers (internal xlinks, xpath capabilities, RDF
use for semantic information or metadata such as version information and
authoring...)

I believe something like this would be _awesome_ if coupled with WebDAV
(and I'm in close contact with the Apache mod_dav team for a future
dav-cocoon integration).

Mind you: these are _wild_ examples of future vision and might take
months to even start, but we have already scheduled a "let's draw the
ASF pieces on a whiteboard" meeting at ApacheCON 2000 Europe in October
where we'll try to organize a global vision of project integration.

As usual, any suggestion or idea is very welcome :)

-- 
Stefano Mazzocchi      One must still have chaos in oneself to be
                          able to give birth to a dancing star.
<stefano@apache.org>                             Friedrich Nietzsche
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