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From Jeff Turner <je...@apache.org>
Subject [mini-RT] Using Forrest
Date Wed, 11 Sep 2002 05:06:56 GMT
Hi,

The chief argument against using Cocoon (and hence Forrest) as a doc
system is it's slowness. I think this is undeniable (generating Forrest
docs takes 8 minutes) and unfixable (simpler tools like Anakia will
always be faster).

But we have a secret weapon :) When developing xdocs, simply use Cocoon
as a live webapp instead of as a static site generation tool. You get to
see changes rendered almost instantly, and there is no need to run a
stupid Ant script between edits. From a usability POV, this kicks the
butt of every other doc tool out there. Nothing comes close to the
flexibility and speed that a live Cocoon gives you.

The problem with doing this currently is that all content is copied from
src/documentation/* to build/webapp/*, and you need to run the 'webapp'
target between every edit. This neatly eliminates the speed advantage.

So I propose the existence of a new Forrest distribution, that embeds a
Tomcat 4 instance. There would be the following commands:

forrest_startup.sh        # Start the embedded Tomcat
forrest_shutdown.sh       # Stop the embedded Tomcat
forrest_register.sh       # Register a project with Forrest
forrest_unregister.sh     # Unregister a project from Forrest
forrest_genstatic.sh      # Generate a static HTML version of the site
forrest_gendynamic.sh     # Generate a webapp version of the site

The 'register' command would use Tomcat 4's Ant scripts [1] to deploy a
new webapp, without restarting Tomcat. The webapp would have it's context
root at the project root, not in ./build/, so that edits made to
src/documentation/* are immediately picked up, and files like status.xml
in the project root are inside the context.

Does it all sound decent?


--Jeff

[1] http://jakarta.apache.org/tomcat/tomcat-4.1-doc/manager-howto.html

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