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From Andy Clark <an...@apache.org>
Subject [Announce] CyberNeko Tools for XNI 2002.06.18 Available
Date Tue, 18 Jun 2002 12:15:29 GMT
When I made the announcement a few days ago about the
first version of the CyberNeko Tools for XNI, I was
busy working on another tool. At the time, it wasn't
quite ready for release so I pushed out the first
collection of tools without it. But now it's ready! :)

I am pleased to announce the 2002.06.18 release of
NekoXNI! This release adds a new tool to the lineup:
the CyberNeko Style Processor, version 0.1.

NekoStyle is an XML batch processing framework that
is similar to the StyleBook tool we've been using for
several years to generate documentation of XML projects
here at Apache.

Why have I chosen to create yet another XML batch
processing framework? Because I wasn't happy with the
other ones. Because I like doing things *my* way.
Because I could. Because we just don't have enough of
them. ;) Because of a million reasons... Take your pick.

But before you decide whether it was worthwhile to
write in the first place, check out the web page[1],
download the code[2], and try it out for yourself.
You may find that you like it! Or not. Either way,
it works extremely well for what I need to do. :)

NekoStyle offers the following features:

   * simple, flexible, and extensible framework for
     automating XML processing
   * JAXP/TrAX compliant
   * parses HTML documents (using NekoHTML) as well
     as XML documents
   * dynamic pipelines
   * an Ant task for executing within build scripts
   * small size (the Jar is only 25K!)

and perhaps the most important is:


One of the primary reasons I delayed the initial
release was so that I could write more documentation
about how it works. I hate writing docs as much as
the next person but I knew it was important for
people to understand the framework.

In fact, the HTML documentation included with NekoStyle
is actually generated *by* the NekoStyle processor at
build time. So this is a good way to learn how the
system works in practice.

Most of the content is written in DocBook and then
transformed to the HTML output. However, there are
some files that are written using custom DTDs so that
they can keep the semantic meaning behind the data.
These files (e.g. the change log) are first converted
to DocBook and then to HTML.

(This is one of my first attempts at using DocBook so
you'll have to excuse me if I used it incorrectly in
certain places. That grammar is HUGE! ;)

The real reason that I wrote NekoStyle was that I
needed specific features for other things that I'm
working on. So that's what I designed it for. There
are a few limitations and things I want to improve
but I think it's a nice little system for performing
XML processing. And I already have plans for features
to add in subsequent versions.

The most important feature I want to add is a
template processor that people can use to write the
output HTML. This would allow them to change the
design of the output without needing to edit XSLT
stylesheets. *And*, using NekoHTML, these templates
can be written in standard, "dirty" HTML much like
the templating functionality in other systems (e.g.
PostNuke, etc). This would alleviate a lot of the
trouble in maintaining documentation and adapting
the old docs to fit new requirements.

Anyway, if you need a small library to automate
batch XML processing, then NekoStyle may be what you
need. So check it out and let me know what you think.
You can also download all of the NekoXNI tools in a
single package[3] if you don't already have NekoHTML
or NekoDTD.


[1] http://www.apache.org/~andyc/neko/doc/style/
[2] http://www.apache.org/~andyc/neko/nekostyle-0.1.zip
[3] http://www.apache.org/~andyc/neko/nekoxni-2002.06.18.zip

Andy Clark * andyc@apache.org

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