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From Davanum Srinivas <>
Subject Re: [RT] Super Simple Site Generation Tool
Date Tue, 27 Dec 2005 15:36:00 GMT

Example: last apachecon, Geir was trying to update geronimo.html, it
took 30+ mins before asking for help. It took me 15+ minutes to figure
out that geronimo.html was not being linked from any page in the web
site. So we lost close to an hour of hackathon time trying to do
something really simple and silly - add a line of text to the
geronimo.html asking folks to go to the geronimo actual web site.

We did get into a debate on pros and cons then and there. We
definitely knew that if someone proposed such a measure like Leo's all
the forrest aficionados will come out of the woodwork (like you did!)

A simple script that required no setup and that generates the html for
the web site with no fuss is what we want. IMHO, Forrest to put it
mildly is a pain in the neck for a total beginner to bootstrap himself
to do something useful.


PS: I am an ex-cocoon guy myself

On 12/27/05, Thomas Dudziak <> wrote:
> On 12/27/05, Leo Simons <> wrote:
> > It pains me to say this (Forrest is a cool project and I
> > consider at least some of its active developers and community
> > members my friends) but we've muddled around long enough.
> >
> > I think that, for the incubator website, Apache Forrest
> >
> >   * is too unstable as a codebase
> >   * is way too complex
> >   * has too many features we don't need and solves
> >     too many problems we don't have
> >   * has a learning curve that is too big
> >   * does not work well with the SVN-based publishing
> >     process we want to use
> >   * is not well-understood by enough of the current
> >     Incubator volunteers
> >   * has caused frustration for too many of the current
> >     Incubator volunteers
> >
> > I think this needs solving. I think this needs solving in
> > general, not just for the Incubator (I have the exact same
> > problem over at Gump, which also has a horrendously outdated
> > website which also uses Apache Forrest).
> Hi Leo,
> since I'm rather new to this, I don't have a deep understanding of the
> problems you're trying to solve. However, to my naive understanding
> its two things:
> * make the process of documenting incubated projects easier for their community
> * make the process of publishing this documentation easier (and more
> stable) for infra/incubator people
> Now I don't really know about the problems that you have with Forrest
> regarding the second point - it works for the projects that I work in,
> but then again we probably have fewer/simpler requirements. It would
> be nice if you could perhaps provide some details, e.g. regarding
> SVN-based publishing ?
> Anyway, I think there are several possible things that could be done
> to deal with this (in the line of "eating your own dog food"), aside
> from implementing a new tool:
> * Get Cocoon/Forrest developers to help in the Incubator.
> If Forrest is too complicated to use, let Forrest/Cocoon people help
> out. This would help them see where complexity has to be removed. And
> the community of the incubated projects would have experts available
> that can help them with their problems.
> And more helpers for Incubator should be a good thing, not ?
> * Simplify Forrest for 'admins'.
> Same as above. As I said, I don't really know about the problems, but
> I think all projects that use Forrest, can benefit from a
> simpler/faster/more stable site generation.
> * Simplify documentation writing for end users.
> Actually, I think this is quite an important point. Writing a new tool
> probably means yet another XML (or some other format) to learn, which
> is Not A Good Thing (tm). IMHO it would be better to get away from XML
> completely and pursue simpler solutions.
> One such thing might be the OpenOffice plugin that generates Forrest
> files, which would help new projects a lot in writing/converting
> existing documentation.
> Another thing might be abandoning Forrest altogether for Incubation
> docs in favor of, for instance, a protected Wiki that only the project
> developers (and mentors, PMCs, ...) have write access to. And there's
> is probably a not-too-complicated technical way to convert this later
> on to Maven or Forrest format once the project comes out of
> incubation.
> Anyway, I hope you don't mind me making a case for using this as an
> opportunity to make Forrest better instead of abandoning it.
> regards,
> Tom
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