Lambda the Ultimate

inactiveTopic End-User XML oriented proramming
started 2/5/2001; 12:17:53 PM - last post 2/8/2001; 2:04:54 PM
Ehud Lamm - End-User XML oriented proramming  blueArrow
2/5/2001; 12:17:53 PM (reads: 1330, responses: 11)
I've been thinking on a system based around an XML data store, which should be configurable/extendable by people with little or no programming background. The idea is basically a CMS (like Manila), but where renderring etc. is created gradualy by 'super users'.

I was wonderring about (scripting?) languages that may be applicable to this task. Any suggestions or ideas here?

Another interesting thing would be to hear of experiences you might have with end-user or novice programming in an XML env. I am thinking of things like creating simple XSL, adding/manipulating DTDs etc.

Tool suggestions are also welcome.


Ehud Lamm - Re: End-User XML oriented proramming  blueArrow
2/5/2001; 1:00:27 PM (reads: 1378, responses: 0)
Re tools, see work on XML query languages

andrew cooke - Re: End-User XML oriented proramming  blueArrow
2/5/2001; 1:46:47 PM (reads: 1391, responses: 0)
Have you looked at Zope? - afaik it's not XML based, but otherwise it seems to fit in with your ideas. (It's like a Python based object store, where the objects produce html, IIRC). I suspect it has similar functionality to what you're considering, but a rather more complex (but more compact - I remember being surprised at the small amount od code necessary) internal structure (if you remember that Python objects can traverse other Python objects then it's not quite as different to XSL/XML as you might first think). And it exists.

andrew cooke - Re: End-User XML oriented proramming  blueArrow
2/5/2001; 1:50:39 PM (reads: 1380, responses: 0)
Actually, I've just looked at Zope myself (well, the site) and it looks like it's being pushed as a rather standard web publishing system. I guess when I looked at it (way back) it was still pretty new and showing a lot more of the innards...

Ehud Lamm - Re: End-User XML oriented proramming  blueArrow
2/5/2001; 1:54:50 PM (reads: 1378, responses: 0)
I know of Zope, but never really checked what functionality it provides. From occasionaly browsing Zope Newbies It seems more 'complete' than what I have in mind, I was looking for simple bulding blocks. But I'll have a closer look.

How easy is it to use? The people I have in mind are going to be people with little or no programming experience.

Ehud Lamm - Re: End-User XML oriented proramming  blueArrow
2/5/2001; 2:29:52 PM (reads: 1387, responses: 0)
The DTML they show looks pretty ugly... Much uglier than the XML for this site.

It also seem quite complicated. Can anyone share experiences?

I was thinking of something conceptualy simpler (but maybe that's just because I haven't really designed it, just had some random thoughts). Basically a way to have layered XML (i.e., people can add tags late in the life cycle) and decoupled rendering engines (that can also be layered, at least in theory, but this requires more thought). After that you need some env that allow picking and choosing the rendering tools.

I know this is simplistic, and I wasn't really asking about the design but about programming tools for such an environment. But I'd be happy to hear any comments LtU readers might have.

andrew cooke - Re: End-User XML oriented proramming  blueArrow
2/6/2001; 12:11:54 AM (reads: 1377, responses: 0)
You're impressions are right - I don't think my post was very clear. IMHO the Zope code was a rats nest of complicated Python (I'm no expert on Zope, but I once tried to understand the code to do see if I could use it for a project). But (again, IIRC) the internal structure is similar to how I might build something with XML et al; it's just that Python objects are used for everything, with no clear separation between data and data manipulators. But, as I said, this was all from a long time ago and I was no expert even then.

Sorry, it was only meant to be a small comment...

Ehud Lamm - Re: End-User XML oriented proramming  blueArrow
2/6/2001; 1:49:37 AM (reads: 1373, responses: 0)
No need to apologize. It was a good suggestion. Zope is interesting and I should have checked it out earlier.

I agree that the seperation of data and data manipulation is important. Indeed it is at the crux of the matter. My approach is in essence data driven - where the data is defined and manipulated by users.

Ehud Lamm - Re: End-User XML oriented proramming  blueArrow
2/6/2001; 11:19:15 AM (reads: 1401, responses: 0)
As an aside, the W3c is holding a workshop on XML and web services. (xmlhack blurb; W3C workshop page)

Chris Rathman - Re: End-User XML oriented proramming  blueArrow
2/6/2001; 7:26:51 PM (reads: 1389, responses: 1)
One other project that might be worth mining for ideas is Enhydra. Enhydra has the XMLC mechanism that I've heard good things about, though it may still be way too involved for what you are looking for. Great Java platform, though, if that's the way you want to go.

And then there's a project over on Apache called Cocoon that's also an interesting use of XML, though I'm even less familiar with that implementation.

Ehud Lamm - Re: End-User XML oriented proramming  blueArrow
2/7/2001; 7:54:58 AM (reads: 1507, responses: 0)
Thanks. Cocoon seems to be designed according to similar principles.

No one tackled the programmability angle, which is what made me raise the topic here in the first place. I was looking for suggestions of programming/scripting languages for end-user programming in sucn an env. Best would be something either visual of based on natural language. But good scripting languages may also be ok.

Ehud Lamm - Re: End-User XML oriented proramming  blueArrow
2/8/2001; 2:04:54 PM (reads: 1362, responses: 0)
This paper on XML and databases looks interesting. (Seen on HtP)