So, in the unlikely event anyone is wondering what's going on, here's the big deal on why I'm not really writing...

I regrettably get obsessed about presentation. And when I get obsessed about presentation, I turn into a very bad content producer.

So here I am, not particularly producing content... and obsessing over the content management instead.

In October, I wrote on how I planned to turn this site of mine into something that looks like a real site and not some godawful hack. Guess what happened? Forrest turned out to be not yet without its weirdnesses. I tried Lenya, another Apache Cocoon-based thing, but it still leaves me a bit to be desired.

What I really need is templating with XSLT with some mechanisation. Heck, bare Cocoon does it.

Except that Cocoon is a giant monster in itself and really difficult to get started with.

Now, basically, I'd terribly appreciate it if I could get my hands on a version of Cocoon that would actually work if I'd strip the application to bare minimum. It seems that the example app from Cocoon ships with an example web application that has 62 megabytes of stuff. Of which, of course, 11 megabytes are the actual example files. One could make a barebones webapp by copying the 51 megabytes of library stuff... and making sense of which parts of the easy-to-use 2800-line cocoon.xconf configuration file are not really needed.

Ugh. Last time I touched Cocoon, it didn't quite seem this byzantine... It's probably damn powerful if I'd get it to fly, and would do exactly what I want, but right now, my brains are in such a smush that I just can't make sense of all these XML sit-ups.

Someone said someone was working on "Raccoon", which merges Ruby on Rails and Cocoon. Sounds cool and fine. What I'd like to see, however, would be... um... Rococoon. XSLT mechaniser in Ruby based on the otherwise extremely sound guiding principles of Cocoon.

Now, here's my particular list of requirements for a web template engine:

  • Source files should be in any XML variant... roll my own if I need to.
  • Versioning is out of the scope of the engine. As said, source files are in XML. They should be versioned in Subversion.
  • XML transformed with XSLT to produce XHTML out of source files. XHTML transformed further to add a site template to produce the final, static XHTML.
  • Specific requirements: Should be able to produce and preserve comments within XSLT (Creative Commons metadata is added harebrainedly in comments).

Maybe I'll just write a bit of XSLTs and a Rakefile to steer them by.

God I hate some of the code I wrote for my website. And it's really regrettable that Forrest didn't really cut the mustard and I needed to write some really awful horrible hacks to do things that it was supposed to do in the first place. Apache's Java folks write some incredible program designs and then make the implementations extremely heavyweight, puzzling, and add the general veneer of "oh, this is a wonderful app, it just has one small problem..."

That said, I'm trying to cope with my tweak-o-holia and get back to writing even if the website itself appears to be completely messed up.