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From Frans Englich <>
Subject Efficient serving of Docbook
Date Mon, 27 Sep 2004 17:09:30 GMT

Hello all,

I've done a shallow reading about Cocoon, and that amazing piece of machinery 
excites me.

For a large Docbook project, I'm looking at if Cocoon could help us with the 
grunt work. The sources stretches over several books(over 500 pages), and 
multiple authors are working and updating on a daily basis. 

It's maintained in a CVS repository, and, for the sake of this discussion, the 
document's primary usage is on a website which occasionally should handle 
traffic corresponding to a slashdotting without requiring manual 
intervention(switch to serving true static files, for example).

This is what I want to achieve:

* Docbook transformation should be transparent so authors doesn't have to 
bother with generation.

* Nifty per-page PDF downloads, as the Cocoon website has.

The perfect solution would be if transformation, PDF and XHTML, was done 
on-demand, cached, and only generated what was actually necessary -- "lazy 
loading". For example, if a PDF was requested, it was generated, cached for 
later deliveries, and only the sources necessary for the actual content to be 
viewed, was loaded and transformed, instead of sources for the whole book(s).

But here's where Docbook spoils everything, AFAICT; it requires all sources to 
be loaded in order to resolve references and so forth. This leads to that no 
efficient generation a la Cocoon can be done, and that it have to be done 
manually; a script run periodically, for example. This would generate tons of 
usually unneeded files, and put a great deal of stress on the server.

In this context Cocoon wouldn't be useful, and all customization would be done 
within Docbook. 

Right? The correct answer is perhaps not that dark?



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