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From Donald Ball <ba...@webslingerZ.com>
Subject idle suggestion on building webapps with c2
Date Mon, 11 Feb 2002 03:59:29 GMT
i've been thinking recently on what it's like to get starting with c2, and
what one has to do to build a new webapp using c2. i just scanned the bulk
of the c2 user docs and note that there's nothing that tells you how to
get started building your own webapp using c2. it's easy and
well-documented how one installs the c2 sample webapp, but that's only
half of the story, and maybe not even the best starting point for a new
webapp. i guess the idea is that users are supposed to take the sample c2
webapp, rip out the sample stuff and modify it for their own purposes.
and at least one useful option, precompiling the sitemap and xsp pages, is
only easily available to users if they choose that approach and continue
to use c2's build file and directory structure in their webapp.

but like i said, that might not be the best approach for new users. for
one thing, the configuration files and sample content are very thorough
and complex - not necessarily the best starting point for a new webapp.
the c2 build file is not only responsible for building the c2 sample
webapp, but also for building the c2 library and documentation, neither of
which are necessary or even useful for c2 users. also, the c2 repository
isn't frozen, it changes. but the user has to fork from the repository
when they start to build their webapp, and then has to manually keep their
cocoon configuration files in sync with the distro. that's a hassle.

so i was thinking that a (partial) solution would be to make available,
and maintain, a c2-skeleton distro, with a minimal directory tree and
configuration files, no sample content, a build file that just builds the
webapp and can precompile things. sort of a best practices c2 skeleton for
others to use. something like:

/WEB-INF
        /etc
            sitemap.xmap
            cocoon.xconf
            logkit.xconf
        /lib
            cocoon2.jar
            ...
        web.xml
build.xml

(i suggest hiding the cocoon configuration files under WEB-INF so that
they'll be more protected in case of a malfunction. there can be passwords
and such in cocoon.xconf, at the very least.)

i know this is a pretty boring and simple suggestion, but based on my
experiences watching and reading about people trying to get started with
c2, i think it could help a good bit. i mean, now you, you download the c2
binary distribution, unpack it, and don't have any roadmap for going
anywhere after installing the sample webapp. providing a c2 webapp
skeleton would start to fill that void.

- donald


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