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From Gianugo Rabellino <gian...@apache.org>
Subject OXF rebuttal (was: Re: Interesting comparison)
Date Wed, 17 Sep 2003 10:17:28 GMT
Ricardo Rocha wrote:
> http://www.orbeon.com/oxf/cocoon
> 
>

Well, at a very least the information is incomplete, not to mention that 
it's a bit biased and somewhere just plain wrong. Some marketing is 
understandable, but I think that a few corrections are due to make it fair.

However, Orbeon is solicitating comments, so I've put them in CC: I hope 
that they will be so kind to discuss and possibly update their informations.

Walking through the page:

Plaing wrong stuff
==================

   OXF provides the following advantages over Cocoon:
   [...]

   Professional support. The OXF mailing-list provide free support
   from our responsive development team. Additional professional
   support from the people who designed OXF can be obtained.

Cocoon here is no difference. There are a lot of free support resources, 
like mailing lists and Wiki (I might even market the Wiki as a 
"Knowledge Base"). Additional professional support is also available: 
there is a whole organization of (currently) six companies supporting 
Cocoon in Europe in a consistent way (Orixo, that is) and there are 
quite a few independent companies providing the same services all over 
the world. Maybe it's time to add a prominent page on the Cocoon web 
site about it.

    Application-Agnostic	
    The Cocoon sitemap was initially designed to handle linear
    pipelines according to a generation / transformation / serialization
    pattern suited for Web publishing.

This is quite stressing the truth. Cocoon can be used in every 
request-response based environment. There is both a CLI command and a 
bean that allow Cocoon integration in heterogeneous environments. Cocoon 
is completely abstracted from the Web (Servlet) environment.

    Conditionals
    No. Very limited flow control with actions requiring Java.

Untrue. There are selectors too, at a very least. And there is Flow.

    XML Validation
    No

Uh? Just set your parser as a validating parser and you have validation.

    XPointer Support
    No

The Xinclude transformer has XPointer support.

    Support for J2EE Datasources	
    Configuration involves several files and does not appear to
    be encouraged.

Unfair and wrong: a J2EE datasource can be defined in a snap in 
cocoon.xconf. There is no need to involve several files and definitely 
Cocoon does not disencourage using J2EE stuff.

    EJB Support
    Possibly, through XSP.

Wrong! EJB's can be used all over the place and at a very least in 
Actions, XSP and Flow. Not to mention that nothing forbids writing 
generators/transformers/serializers based on external EJB components.


    XSLT 1.0
    Yes, built-in Xalan.

Nope. Cocoon is pre-configured to use TraX, plain Xalan, plain Saxon or 
XSLTC, just as OXF.

    JSP	
    With Tomcat only?

No. I'm not JSP guru, but I don't see any Tomcat dependency. One of the 
implementation uses the generic servlet RequestDispatcher, so it should 
be portable across application servers. Besides, there is a specific WLS 
implementation.

Flexed truth
==============
There are a few points hinted as Cocoon limitations such as 
sub-pipelines, aggregation, J2EE authentication, XForms. These are 
actually design choices, all with pros and cons, so blaming cocoon (at 
different levels) for not supporting it is somehow misleading.

Cocoon strong points
====================
OXF doesn't mention a few Cocoon strong points. I would like to see at a 
very least:

- Views;
- Pluggable URL-like extensions (the Source interface);
- WebDAV support, as client (stable), server (partial) and proxy 
(development);
- XML:DB support;
- SAP R/3 connectivity;
- Scheduler components;
- Velocity support;
- Python (Jython) and generic BSF support;
- PHP support;
- Lucene integration;
- Text to XML conversion using generated grammars (chaperon);

That's it for now, but I've sure left out something. I hope that Orbeon 
is willing to talk about their feature matrix in order to give a 
reasonable, fair and useful comparison tool to their potential customers.

Ciao,

-- 
Gianugo Rabellino
Pro-netics s.r.l. -  http://www.pro-netics.com
Orixo, the XML business alliance - http://www.orixo.com
     (Now blogging at: http://blogs.cocoondev.org/gianugo/)


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