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From Jeff Turner <>
Subject Web services and Cocoon (was: Re: Central repository for taglibs)
Date Fri, 30 Mar 2001 15:02:29 GMT
On Thu, Mar 29, 2001 at 03:20:43PM +0200, Ulrich Mayring wrote:
> Jeff Turner wrote:
> > 
> > I've seen this demo, and it's extremely cool. I doubt if anyone else is
> > pushing web-based, open source xsl:fo this far. This is the type of
> > showcase application that can do wonders for Cocoon PR if it was more
> > widely publicized.
> The best is yet to come. The next generation of the DocHandler will
> provide a way to call Cocoon via SOAP, thus getting rid of the
> ProducerFromRequest-paradigm. The PDF archive index will be moved from
> files to a database. These two features already work, but haven't been
> put into production yet. If Ron ever finds the time to give me my own
> mysql login and db tables, I'll be able to upgrade the live samples :)

Cool.. it sounds like you're aiming at full-on "web services", SOAP,

IBM is very active in this area. A few days ago, they came out with a
"TSpaces Development Kit":

 ".. to assist the creation, discovery, and integration of Web services.
 [..]  Development tools provided in the first version of the package
 include .. Universal printing solution: a sample printing service that
 enables printing from any computer to any printer, regardless of the
 host computers (workstations, PCs, handheld devices), operating
 systems, or file format."


"Universal printing solution" sounds what you're aiming at.

Wonder how C2 could do as a generic SOAP server, into which SOAP
services could be plugged.

> Also, while it may sound a bit dry, the first feature is very important,
> because it allows me to use Cocoon to generate the PDFs dynamically.
> Now, you might think this is not very hard, just open an URLConnection
> and see what Cocoon gives you. But what if you want to supply parameters
> to Cocoon on how the PDF is supposed to be created? Of course you can
> use HTTP request parameters, but they are flat. So, for example, you can
> never send address data to an XML file via HTTP request parameters,
> since address data needs a more complex structure like:
> <address type="person">
> <name>Mayring</name>
> <firstname>Ulrich</firstname>
> ...
> </address>
> <address type="company">
> ...
> </address>

Well.. XML over HTTP works for a lot of people. You just open a socket
and POST a bunch of XML.

> This type of structure cannot be encoded in HTTP request parameters,
> unless you do things like
> address1=person&name1=Mayring&firstname1=Ulrich&address2=company&...
> but this is hardly elegant, hell to maintain and very prone to errors.
> Not to speak of the 1024 character limit for URLs. Alternatively you can
> make one URLConnection per address, but what if I want just one PDF with
> perhaps 1000 addresses on it?
> So I devised a way to actually build a rich XML structure like shown
> above and make it possible to pass this to an XML page as parameters.
> Then you can select the bits you need with XSLT and let XSLFO and fop
> make a nice PDF from it. Since this technique is not really related to
> SOAP, I should take it out of the SOAP taglib and make something more
> generic. But first I want to test this in production to see if it is
> easy and stable enough to use.

Hmm.. that sounds useful if it's a generic tool. I've often wanted to
pass structured data from a HTML form (where XML isn't an option) to a
servlet, and once invented a mini-language for this (parser written in
JPython). Berin or someone on cocoon-dev recently proposed an XForms
project, which this might tie in with.

> Next up is to make it so that I can actually print over the Internet,
> not only locally like now. I want to replace lpr with something more
> suited to bulk printing. Then perhaps upgrade the fax feature
> accordingly and implement an emailer. Then I'll open a direct marketing
> firm and draft a W3C standard on XML-based spamming :-)

Wohoo :) "<lies>Make $$$ fast!!</lies>"


> Ulrich
> -- 
> Ulrich Mayring
> DENIC eG, Systementwicklung

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