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From "Luis Arias" <l...@elysia.com>
Subject Re: Visual Tools ?
Date Tue, 04 Jan 2000 09:10:17 GMT
> Once I get tired of Cocoon (if this ever happens!), I'll write a visual
> XML/XSL/FO editor in Java.
> This is my next project. It's already there in the back of my mind and,
> yes, I think Stylus is a very nice tool, even if I'd do some major
> changes in paradigm.
> > Your thoughts on this would be greatly appreciated !
> The need for such a tool is _absolute_. The XML model does magic, but
> it's a pain to maintain from a regular editor. I know what this means
> because the Cocoon project has XML documentation written by 7 different
> persons. I'm doing the validation/checking part (with many flames back
> on the authors) but it would be much easier to say "click the damn
> (validate) button" before committing your changes.
> So here's my plan:
> Phase 1) write an XML editor. No IE5 tree bullshit, no visual boxes a-la
> X-Spy or such. Syntax highlighted text with namespace-driven tag
> completion + DTD/XSchema visualizer + validator. Uses Swing, Xerces-J
> and a bunch of special swing code for new UI ideas (like transparent
> context menus, a-la Alias Maya, which is a 3D rendering software)
> Phase 1.1) use it and refine it until I'm happy and others are too.
> Phase 2) apply XSLT transformation, with traces and such. Xalan-J will
> be used there. The Stylus idea is a good one to start from, but, heck,
> many things don't work: it is based on documents rather than on schemas.
> You write a stylesheet for a schema, not for a document. Otherwise
> you're totally screwed. Also I want the result page to be automatically
> refreshed when I add a new template, and other things like a more
> space-savy window placement (for notebooks) etc...
> Phase 2.1) same as 1.1
> Phase 3) write a WYSIWYG XSL editor that includes XSLT and FO, but I
> think I'll let Adobe do this first and then borrow their ideas :)
> What do you think? Would you like something like this? Would you help me
> out?

This would be great and I am ready to help !  Are you aware of Adobe working
on Phase 3 type software ?  Would you consider Phase 3 to contain site
management / editing capabilities ?  This sounds like a good roadmap, except
that we might get bogged down in early phases before finally getting to neat
Phase 3...

What we could start to do is to think about / discuss a domain model that
might work for the different phases.  See if this can be done in such a way
as to deliver some robust components all along the way.  Get a preliminary
design that goes all the way to phase 3.   Seems to me this would already be
quite a bit of work, but could be interesting from an OSS community point of
view as it would provide a place for actual and future OSS contributors to
get going.

What is interesting is that since XSLT and FO are XML it might be possible
to use Cocoon or some subset to actually generate these, before running
Cocoon again to generate the final output.  Has anyone used this approach ?
In that case, the phase3 editor would manipulate the domain model, i.e, some
high-level view of what the site is.  Do you think XSLT is powerful enough
to handle this (efficiently) ?  We would then ideally only have to write
these "meta" stylesheets once and express things in a simpler fashion using
the Phase 3 editor.

Let's exchange ideas on this...

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