Re: [xsl] Cocoon

Subject: Re: [xsl] Cocoon
From: Wendell Piez <wapiez@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 01 Jul 2008 11:31:49 -0400

At 06:49 AM 7/1/2008, Andrew wrote:
> The biggest con with Cocoon is managing the beast. Cocoon 2.2 does
> configuration/application management better, but it has fewer (stable)
> features.
> I can give you a better assessment if you give me more info on XProc and
> what you are trying to do.

It's just that someone told me they were thinking of using Cocoon for
a project and my initial reaction was "don't do that"... based on
nothing more than sentiment and distant memory of people complaining
about it (sorry Cocoon!)

I didn't speak up on this thread at first, since the OP asked about large-scale systems, and I have done only small-scale and demonstration systems.

Nonetheless I do use Cocoon and generally like it very much. For example, I have, which I use as a teaching application.

What I don't like about Cocoon is that once in a while you get into a sticky problem with an edge case, which requires a workaround. Then, either you use a workaround suggested by the gurus (whom I have found to be helpful and responsive) -- which may require a deep understanding of arcana to understand (and I'm allergic to workarounds I don't understand) -- or you have to engineer your own workaround (taking you deeper into the arcana). I could give a couple of examples, but they're tedious. If one spends plenty of time with the application and/or has the proper sort of background, I imagine much of this stuff might iron out. But I'm speculating there.

On the plus side, Cocoon has a wide range of functionality, it does a lot, and what it does it does very well. Assuming I was confident I wouldn't have to push the edges too hard, I'd happily use Cocoon for up to medium-scale systems, and for larger systems if I could engage the expertise to help. When done right, these sites can be very low maintenance, while offering huge leverage in XML/XSLT-based scalability/extensibility.

I'm also looking forward to using XProc quite a bit, but more as an Ant replacement (or a replacement for custom lightweight pipelining implemented in Saxon) than as a Cocoon replacement.

Personally I sometimes think that for all the initial gains you get
from using something like Cocoon you lose further into the project
when you have to workaround the limitations/quirks of the system...

Andrew has a point here -- but it's hardly the only occasion you'll be facing this particular risk.


Wendell Piez                            mailto:wapiez@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Mulberry Technologies, Inc.      
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