cocoon-users mailing list archives

Site index · List index
Message view « Date » · « Thread »
Top « Date » · « Thread »
From Alex McLintock <>
Subject New Riders book review
Date Thu, 19 Sep 2002 17:37:16 GMT
I've reviewed the New Riders Cocoon book and the review is available here.

Oh ok, here it is too.

Title: Cocoon: Building XML Applications
Author: Matthew Langham
Author: Carsten Ziegler
Publisher: New Riders
ISBN: 0735712352
Price: 30.99 UKP
Topic: non-fiction
Topic: computing
Topic: XML
Reviewer: Alex McLintock
Reviewer URL:

If you have a genuine need for an XML backed website and you want to build 
it using java tools then you could do a lot worse than to choose Apache's 
Cocoon suite of tools. Cocoon is built up froma a large number of different 
java based programs (all from Apache Software Foundation) but has suffered 
up till now from a lack of paper based documentation. This is the first 
Cocoon book which I have seen and I recommend it as such... your first 
Apache Cocoon book.

The book starts off with far too much information about web applications 
without specific relevance to Cocoon. I don't see how this could be 
relevant to someone wanting to build a web application - surely they would 
know this already. Do we really need step by step instructions on how to 
install Tomcat? Surely it is the readers' responsibility to sort that sort 
of thing out. We don't expect explanations of how to run Unix for instance.

The step by step explanation of the sitemap and pipelines whilst looking at 
the Hello World app is most welcome. Understanding the sitemap is the most 
important feature specific to Cocoon. It does use Java, JSP, JDBC, XML, 
XSLT, and loads of other techniques, but these aren't unique to Cocoon. The 
sitemap is an XML file which basically describes the whole site... and how 
to respond to any request.

I have been using Cocoon for several months now and so I was hoping for a 
book which could teach me a lot. Unfortunately it only taught me a few 
things, but what it did show me were gems. One thing which I have been 
looking for for ages was how to do a photo album which changes often. This 
book gives a nice clean example of that so I can drop files in a directory 
and have them listed in my website properly.

But... There is always a "but". This book doesn't have enough examples. 
They could have put loads on the CD, but didn't. For instance, one could 
write a whole book on the subject of FOP - the component of Cocoon which 
can take XML and convert it to PDF and other fancy formats. There is an SVG 
example, but just the one.

There is one big example: a news portal. It is fine as far as it goes, but 
I wanted more. There are some reference chapters for those who want to 
understand more about the Internals, and the different sitemap components. 
Chapter 10 introduces XSP (the XML equivalent to JSP) which is used to 
enhance the news portal example.

The reference Appendices are a hefty 120 pages long, and much more readable 
than the online equivalent, but we shall see how up to date it stays."

Openweb Analysts Ltd, London.
Software For Complex Websites
Open Source Software Companies please register here

Please check that your question  has not already been answered in the
FAQ before posting.     <>

To unsubscribe, e-mail:     <>
For additional commands, e-mail:   <>

View raw message