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From Wendell Piez <>
Subject Cocoon version for classroom use
Date Sat, 24 Jan 2009 17:38:43 GMT

I am teaching a graduate-level university course this term on 
XML/XSLT and I am intending to use Cocoon to provide for dynamic 
server-side XSLT transformations (XSLT 1.0 and 2.0).

I've used Cocoon successfully in the past for this: last year we used 
Cocoon 2.1.11.

Now I have to decide whether to take the plunge and try to use Cocoon 2.2.

The complications are as follows:

   * We need to be able to map individual students' directories into 
Cocoon for dynamic development of their XML/XSLT. In the past, we did 
this with the mount-table.xml file, which was very nice. We simply 
mapped particular URI prefixes to subdirectories within students' 
directories, which they had permissions to write to. They then could 
create and manage their own sitemaps with their own pipelines, 
pointing to their own XML and XSLT. Everything just worked.

   * However, we did have trouble with getting UTF-8 in and out of 
the system. With the help of an expert web developer and longtime 
Cocoon user (who is unfortunately not available this term, or I'd be 
asking him this question :-), we got something sort-of working, but 
it was spit-and-duct-tape. I couldn't duplicate this. Whatever 
version we use, we need to be able to handle UTF-8 in forms, in 
request parameters and of course on output. (One student is doing a 
project using Cyrillic.)

   * We need XSLT 2.0 support (a recent version of Saxon), plus at 
least FOP, Batik, and possibly other blocks and capabilities, which 
are generally supported in the 2.1.11 default build. (Last year a 
student serialized MIDI. That was cool.)

In the Cocoon 2.2 docs, I don't see anything resembling the 
mount-table.xml mechanism. This, plus the fact that I need to be able 
to set it up and leave it alone for weeks (and not being a Java 
developer, I need the setup to be easy), leads me to think I should 
stick with 2.1.11. But in that case, I'm going to need help getting 
the UTF-8 support right this time.

What do the experts advise?


Wendell Piez                  
Mulberry Technologies, Inc.      
17 West Jefferson Street                    Direct Phone: 301/315-9635
Suite 207                                          Phone: 301/315-9631
Rockville, MD  20850                                 Fax: 301/315-8285
   Mulberry Technologies: A Consultancy Specializing in SGML and XML

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