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From Mark Lundquist ...@wrinkledog.com>
Subject Re: Getting started (again)
Date Tue, 11 Oct 2005 13:45:33 GMT

Hi Justin,

On Oct 10, 2005, at 9:55 PM, Justin Fagnani wrote:

> [...]
> So I want to find existing projects and learn more about the current 
> best practices for 2.1.7.
>
> First, from quickly trying to cover docs, the dev list and a little of 
> the user list I think these are the most current, or endorsed, 
> technologies in Cocoon, but correct me if I'm wrong:
>
> JXTemplate, cforms, JavaFlow/FlowScript
>
> This replaces what I'm used to in XSP, XSLT, Actions and Generators, 
> right?

Definitely yes for XSP.

The standard generators and actions that were useful before are still 
useful now.  That's especially true for generators.  The actions I use 
are pretty much limited to the auth framework, setHeaderAction, stuff 
like that.

The real main difference is that there is now not so much emphasis 
(none, really) on writing custom application-specific generators, 
actions etc.  I started with Cocoon just after flowscipt and CForms 
(when it was called "Woody") were introduced, and I have never written 
an application-specific pipeline component.

XSLT is not obviated by the flow+JXTG+cforms paradigm.  XSLT is fine, 
and you still use it for the same things as before.  There are 
sometimes a few corner cases in implementation design where you might 
have a choice to do something using JXTG vs. XSLT (in the latter case, 
using stylesheet parameters generated e.g. using the flow attribute 
input module), but in general they serve separate needs.  JXTG is 
specifically for pushing data from the flow layer into the XML stream.  
XSLT is for transforming XML.

>  It raises a few questions for me: I always liked XSP and did a good 
> job a separating view from controller, is it really frowned upon?

Yes.:-)  Go with the "flow", you will like it even better :-)

> Can JXTemplates do most of what XSP could?

The flow+JXTG combination, yes.

> What can't it? Most importantly, for a competent Java developer, which 
> is easier/faster to work with?

I've never used XSP, so I can't compare from direct experience... I'll 
leave that question to somebody else, except to say that by all 
accounts logicsheets were a nightmare to debug (I seem to recall the 
exact phrase being "a living hell" in one of the dev list emails :-)

> Considering CSS on the client and templates in Cocoon, is XSLT used 
> much anymore?

Yes, see above.  XSLT templates are transformation templates, JXTG 
templates are generation templates, and CSS doesn't affect that picture 
as far as I can see.

> I'm also unsure what the best way to store data might be since I see 
> so many references to Hibernate, OJB, ESQL, etc.

Forget ESQL.  I really like Hibernate, but unless you already are 
experienced with it, I don't know that I'd recommend that approach for 
your "simple site, need to get up and running quickly" needs.  Learning 
Hibernate is definitely worth it, but you're also in for some serious 
learning curve.  And while Hibernate generally gets you out of writing 
SQL, you do need to write Java business objects.  Hibernate can 
generate these for you (using the "hbm2java" tool), but I don't think 
I'd recommend that approach for you.  If I were in your shoes, there 
are other options (see below...)

>  I usually had custom generators that performed queries. Assuming that 
> I'm going to go with MySQL, what's the preferred method now? I'd 
> actually love to find a way to avoid writing SQL and Java business 
> objects at all, if it's possible.

You could use SQLTransformer.

Or... there is some code in the samples or scratchpad or somewhere, 
that does SQL directly from flowscript.  That could be hammered into 
shape for production use...

Or... rumor has it that somebody is doing some work on integrating JDBI 
into Cocoon (or providing code examples... maybe there isn't really 
anything to "integrate").  You could ask around about that.

>
> Here's the features I'll need to find or develop: Blog, Forum, Mailing 
> list, Wiki, Content Management, Calendar, webmail (doesn't really need 
> to be Cocoon based actually). I'm not sure which order they'll be 
> implemented, but the site will probably go live without most of them 
> and then have them added.

For content management... Lenya, Dasiy and Hippo are all Cocoon-based.

> Well, thatnks in advance for any input you can give me. I read most of 
> the "Is Cocoon Obsolete" thread on the dev list, and all I can say is 
> that I hope not.

No worries :-).  Stefano chose hyperbolic language for the subject of 
his email for "wake-up call effect" (and remember, in his mind, like 
for a lot of us, Struts went "obsolete" years ago :-)

well anyway, welcome back to Cocoon :-)
—ml—
  
  

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