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From Apache Wiki <wikidi...@apache.org>
Subject [Cocoon Wiki] Update of "AlternativeFrameworks" by SebastienArbogast
Date Fri, 29 Apr 2005 20:20:10 GMT
Dear Wiki user,

You have subscribed to a wiki page or wiki category on "Cocoon Wiki" for change notification.

The following page has been changed by SebastienArbogast:
http://wiki.apache.org/cocoon/AlternativeFrameworks

The comment on the change is:
This is just a first draft. It needs to be reviewed and completed !

New page:
'''Objectives'''

Cocoon has started as a simple XML/XSLT processing framework and has grown over the years
to become much more than that. This page should be sort of a technological overview of what
is Cocoon and how it integrates into nowadays server-side development background.



__''Caution''__

''This content is inevitably biased by the personal experience and point of view of people
who write it. It's meant to be as objective as possible and shouldn't become a competition
argument between different tools (whether Open Source or not). So if you feel this content
doesn't represent reality so well, feel free to edit this page and add your own user experience.''


= What is Cocoon ? =

Let's position ourselves in the context of Java server-side development. Java because .NET
has its own tools, most of them are commercial and very specialized products and when you
come to develop your first server-side application, you are likely to be forced to make a
choice between those two worlds (or even more exotic ones like Python/Zope for example). And
server-side tools that are compatible with both environments are quite rare. And server-side
because desktop or system development is completely out of the scope of Cocoon.

That said, there are many technologies involved in Java server-side development (or J2EE).
For instance, you might be familiar with the following concepts (FIXME : it would be great
to associate some links with thos different concepts):
 * web applications
 * application server
 * servlets, JSP's
 * databases/persistence
 * transactions
 * security
 * J2EE design patterns (MVC, SoC, etc.)
 * 3-tier development
 * etc. (to be extended...)

And sometimes it can be somewhat tricky to understand how those concepts fit together and
especially what tools implement which concepts. There are so many development environments
and frameworks in that field that you can get a few headaches while trying to make the link
between your specific needs, your solution's architecture and which tools to choose to help
you implement that solution.

So here we are : let's see things from a newbie point of view. I'm a developer, I know many
general concepts about Java server-side development and I have to start a new project which
implies certain features and certain needs. So according to this, how can Cocoon be part of
(or all of ;-)) my solution and what are the other tools that could be useful to consider
(even if obviously Cocoon is the best one ;-P).

This question can be sort of a guideline to organize and structure this technological overview.
And for each aspect there should be a first short paragraph explaining what technologies are
used in Cocoon to play that role, followed by one short paragraph for each alternative tool
in that domain, ideally extracted from project's website but possibly completed by experience
feedback and personal opinions.

/!\ There is already a Wiki page, SimilarServers, which gathers information about alternative
tools, mainly XML-oriented. This content is very interesting as soon as you have determined
that XML will be an imperative need for you. Maybe it could eventually be merged with this
page...

As far as I see it, Cocoon can be viewed as a...

== XML processing framework ==

Cocoon : SAX implementation, Xalan integration, etc.

Other tools : PHP5/libxslt ...

== XML Publication server ==

Cocoon : sitemap, pipelines, etc.

Other tools : Orbeon PresentationServer, XMLRAD (?)

== MVC framework ==

Cocoon : M = database logicsheets/SQL transformer, V = XSLT/CForms, C = sitemap/flowscript

Other tools : Jakarta Struts, Spring, WebWork...

== Web application abstraction ==

Cocoon : in fact Cocoon is it self a web application which provides a supplementary abstraction
layer above J2EE to manipulate XML files instead of JSP's or servlets

Other tools : ...

= Typical configurations =

It could be a good idea to list a few typical architectures where Cocoon has been successfully
used like:
 * Cocoon as a presentation layer : [http://cocoondev.org/main/117/43.html Cocoon/Hibernate/Spring]
: 
 * Cocoon as a core publication server : [http://lenya.apache.org/ Lenya], [http://cocoondev.org/main/117/42.html
Daisy], [http://freshmeat.net/projects/myotis/ Myotis]
 * etc. (to be extended)

= Future extensions =

Cocoon has grown quite fast. It's only in version 2.1 and it has already covered much more
than its initial purposes. And with blocks it's going even further. For example... 
 * With a better integration of Axis block into Cocoon, it can become a real Web Service producer/consumer
(see WebServiceServer)
 * With recent Sylvain's work on AJAX implementation with Cocoon forms, it could become an
interesting interactive GUI development framework
 * etc. (to be extended)

Of course for each of those possible evolutions, it could be interesting to see which alternative
tools will be concerned.

= Conclusion =

Feel free to give your own personal experience in order to enrich the collective one and help
newbies choose their development tools.

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