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From Marc <kli...@saphor.de>
Subject Re: Lenya -- questions and observations
Date Tue, 27 May 2003 07:30:40 GMT
Hi Andreas,

> Marc wrote:
> [...]
> > What is Lenya meant to do?
> >
> >  However, is that really so or is it more of an CMS
> >  construction framework?
> I - personally - see Lenya as a flexible CMS framework that comes
> with some example / showcase publications (websites). It provides
> some basic structure and functionality that is shared by all
> publications, but gives the opportunity to configure and extend
> almost everything.
> - If you want an out-of-the-box CMS, take an exsisting publication
>    and just replace content and presentation.
> - If you want to create your own Cocoon-based CMS, you can certainly
>    re-use some features of Lenya.
> But IMHO the real power is somewhere in between - build your site
> using the Lenya site structure and CMS components and expand it
> as far as you want.

This is as an approach which I find appealing and suspected from my first

> >  What are its specific strengths that
> >  distinguish it from the literally hundreds of competitors on the CMS
> >  market?
> In my eyes:
> - flexibility - no limitations for URI space, document types, ...
> - browser-based WYSIWG XML editing
> - presentation requires only XSLT / HTML / CSS knowledge
> - clear data storage (file system usually similar to URI space)
> - "you know what you do"
>    OK, that's my point of view as a Cocoon user :)

Thanks for these points which clarify a lot.

However, I don't quite agree on the advantages of file system storage (cf.


> >  As far as the presentation on Lenya's start page is concerned, the
> >  implementation details are from a user's perspective far less
> >  important than the functionality the tool offers -- and the second
> >  paragraph which supposedly answers the functionality question, is far
> >  too technical in nature to be very useful. Unfortunately, I'm not yet
> >  involved enough with Lenya to suggest a replacement text.
> OK, this is a good hint - we have to work on this. Thanks!

I believe that it is the sort of style of this reply that you should use
on the Lenya homepage. In fact, your very text as such is better than what
you currently have.

I'll try find the time to draft something today based on your input and
put it up for discussion.

You may be surprised why I harp so much on your homepage -- but as it
stands, at least I personally would find it extremely difficult to sell
Lenya as the basis for any of our upcoming or potential projects to our
clients or indeed even to my colleagues. They would want to see a pointer
to Lenya's homepage and what they currently find there, both text and
non-working sample applications such as http://demo.wyona.org/lenya/,
would in all likelihood be the end of it.

That's a pity because it looks extremely promising in my eyes and fits in
well with Cocoon and our general strategy.

> >  I can comment on the documentation separately, if desired.
> We would greatly appreciate this, but don't hurry - we have
> enough work for months :)


> > Reference implementations?
> >
> >  Of course, I'm highly interested to hear about reference
> >  implementations. Under Demo -> Apache Lenya Introduction (BTW, why is
> >  this important page not linked from documentation?
> The docs are very under construction, this is an item on the list.
> >  And its online
> >  version doesn't work right now) I read about the NZZ and also about
> >  Computerworld, Forum, Oscom and Unipublic. Are all of these also
> >  reference implementations or just examples?
> NZZ, Computerworld, OSCOM and Unipublic are real websites that
> are authored using Lenya or its predecessor XPS, respectively.

Thanks for that clarification.

Actually, very much worthwhile a point in the navigation under "Project
information" -- with links to the demo applications and the real stuff.

> > Database support?
> >
> >  The CVS version seems to rely exclusively on filesystem based data
> >  storage. It is possible to use Lenya-managed database-based storage?
> We haven't implemented db-based storage and probably won't do this.
> But it is planned to integrate Slide as a repository layer.

Unfortunately, I'm not familiar with Slide beyond what they state on their
homepage. Maybe that's the way to implement the repository layer.

Some form of db-storage seems to me mandatory. At least in my experience,
customers require it (or think they require it, but that's the same thing
for a technology supplier). This does not necessarily mean a Lenya-managed
SQL datasource, but can also be an XML-database. In fact, IMHO Lenya
should support any URL as a potential datasource for its generators just
as Cocoon does. This includes the xmldb pseudo-protocol. Given the way
Cocoon works, that shouldn't be all that difficult to implement.

This is for me at least a make-or-break feature, one which I would be
quite prepared to put work in myself if we come to the conclusion that
Lenya is the way to go.

> > Demo applications in the CVS version?
> >
> >  None of the demo publications works out of the box.
> There must be something wrong with your configuration.
> What problems are you running into?

For example, when accessing
http://SERVER:8080/lenya/docs-new/authoring/index.html I get the following
stack trace:

<error:notify error:type="error"
<error:title>An Error Occurred</error:title>
<error:message>Failed to execute pipeline.</error:message>
org.apache.cocoon.ProcessingException: Failed to execute pipeline.:
(Datei oder Verzeichnis nicht gefunden)
<error:extra error:description="full exception chain stacktrace">
Original Exception: java.io.FileNotFoundException:


Corresponding errors exist for all the other demo applications, the reason
being that the dtds and their helper files are indeed not at the place
where they are supposed to be (at least in my CVS version)

 > > It
is necessary
> >  to copy around DTDs, entity files etc. into the given directories to
> >  stop Cocoon from throwing FileNotFound-Exceptions in their various
> >  forms. Are there plans to move towards a catalog-based handling of
> >  DTDs?
> This is strange, that should work. At the moment, the only entity
> catalog is in the docs-new publication, but we're thinking of a
> solution to allow multiple catalogs. You shouldn't have to move
> any files. Could you describe your problem in more detail?
> >  Some files such as xopus2-xhtml.xsl don't exist at all.
> Strange. Does anyone know this issue?

> > So much for today -- sorry for writing a first mail to the Lenya list that
> > seems so negative and is so long. However, it's indeed crucial what you
> > write yourself in the preamble -- "we made two crucial mistakes: Bad
> > Documentation and a bad installer. We hopefully do a better job this
> > time."
> Thank you very much for your mail.
> We certainly need such comments, but what we need even more are
> people that help us solving the problems :) I hope that answering
> mails can motivate people to participate.
> You seem to be very familiar with the technologies that we use.
> Could you imagine to become a member the Lenya community?
> A great starting point would be the entity catalog issue :)

Thanks for the invitation. In fact, I'd be quite prepared to do so if we
come to the conclusion that Lenya is the way to go for us. That will also
depend on our projects, evidently.

Best regards,


> BTW, you'll find a list of recently implemented and planned features
> at http://cocoon.apache.org/lenya/project/roadmap.html.
> Andreas
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