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From Ross Gardler <>
Subject Re: [Important] Status and future direction
Date Sat, 10 Oct 2009 14:50:38 GMT
2009/10/9 Thorsten Scherler <>:
> On 08/10/2009, at 21:07, Ross Gardler wrote:
>> I agree with Tim here, especially the bit where he can't agree with me
>> more ;-)
>> I don't know a great deal about Cocoon 3, but I have no personal interest
>> in using it here - sledgehammer to crack a nut. Since I'm not active here my
>> opinion doesn't count for much in that respect though.
> I am still developing mostly with cocoon in different versions. Just a
> couple of days back I had a chance to use cocoon 3 within droids and I have
> to say it is not sledgehammer anymore. You can use it without any sitemap if
> you want. ...

When the work on Cocoon 3 started I was excited that many of the
concepts and ideas were what I was calling for in Forrest 2
(embeddability, simplicty, programmatic control etc.) I've not kept up
with it, if you have and you say it is not a sledgehammer then I'm
happy to listen.

>> On 8 Oct 2009, at 13:35, Tim Williams <> wrote:


> I have to admit that I am not sure about whole discussion about the future
> of forrest. We have a working product with a small committer community
> behind it. Our user base however is I guess larger then we imagine however
> we do not know them since forrest seems to just work. So no problems = no
> mails = no traffic.

I think this is true. Forrest is great for knocking together web
sites. If that's all you want then plain vanilla Forrest is great,
presents no problems and therefore no traffic.

> Regarding the traffic on our commit lists is similar, we do not add any new
> functionality to forrest for a while now and more or less maintain the code
> we have with the feedback from the list and individual test cases.

Here I disagree though.

Forrest was originally created as a way of combining content from
multiple sources in a single output format. However, the only well
supported output format is HTML, so if you want to create web pages
it's great. There are some well supported input formats, but most
users just use XDoc. Hence Forrest is used to create web pages and
nothing more.

At its height we had developers who needed the more advanced features
of merging data formats. However, we live in a different world today,
most data is available in some kind of syndicated feed that can be
passed through a simple XSL sheet and we're done. We don't need
complex pipelining anymore - if we do then there are a number of
simple GUI tools to provide them in a much simpler way than Forrest

The world has moved on and the original vision of Forrest, IMHO, is no
longer relevant. It is for this reason that we are not seeing new
features - it is not feature complete with respect to the original
vision (where's version 1?)

> The fear that I have that we will replace one complex beast with another.

This is a legitimate fear.

If that's where this discussion took us then you can count me out.

> Does our framework of input, internal and
> output plugins can be slimed down to a jar that I can add to my standard
> project where I need SOME of the functionality but not all?

IMHO yes - see my weekend hacks on Forrest 2 - that's exactly what
this is (in proof of concept form). If we remove the complex
pipelining and focus on embeddable data translation I think there is
still a space for Forrest. Whilst some people might want the
pipelining features (to produce websites for example) this should not
be a part of core Forrest. I'd not object, in fact I proposed, that
Forrest translations should be embeddable in Cocoon to provide these
pipelining features. If we did it this way round we would remove the
dependency on Cocoon, thus allowing us to proceed independently of
that (or any other project).

> In which
> programming language do we want to develop to start with? ....

At this stage I don't care. I think that would be a diversion from the
important topic of whether it should be done at all.

> I do not see forrest in the attic neither. There are still quite a bunch of
> code in our rep that attracts people with certain usecase.

The attic is for code that is not being maintained. It does not mean
it has no users.  The fact that this conversation is happening shows
that there is some oversight, but how many of us have done anything
really useful for Forrest in the last 18 months? (not me)

Can those who have kept the project alive continue to do so? If so why
hasn't there been a release? I know I have grown tired of answering
questions for a project I no longer use in new projects and is not
under active development.

There have been two people in this thread say they think the right
route is X - so who is going to actually do it? If someone leads,
others may follow.


Ross Gardler

OSS Watch - supporting open source in education and research

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