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XML Application Servers

by Coyote (Deacon)
on May 07, 2001 at 23:03 UTC ( #78609=perlmeditation: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

Some time ago, I wrote a prototype application using XML::Twig,, and the Template Toolkit for serving up academic journal articles marked up in XML in a variety of formats including HTML, LaTeX, and RTF. The publishers of the journal have asked me to implement my application and add functionality (full text searching, PDF and MS Word output, aggregation of data across XML documents, report and graph generation, input from MS Word, etc.) I am leaning toward adding the addtional functionality to my prototype and moving to mod_perl, however I thought I should check and see if there are other options available that might already include some of the features I need. My search for XML application servers turned up quite a few Java based solutions and AxKit on CPAN. It looks like AkKit can handle the transformations my application already does, but it doesn't look like it adds any significant functionality over my current application other than caching and being mod_perl based.

Does anyone have any experience with AxKit? Are there any other perl based XML application servers out there? Should I continue to work on my own solution? Thanks in advance. Any advice will be greatly appreciated.


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Re: XML Application Servers
by mirod (Canon) on May 08, 2001 at 01:02 UTC

    As far as I know Axkit is the only XML application server in Perl. I don't have any practical experience with it, but from, AxKit.orgthe traffic on the AxKit mailing list and the fact that it is written by Matt Sergeant it looks like it is well supported.

    AxKit supports 2 stylesheet languages: XSLT (through interfaces to Sablotron, Xalan and libXSLT) and XPathScript, which I think was once called notXSLT, which is a more Perlish stylesheet language written by Matt.

    I am not sure about the PDF and RTF output though, but you can certainly subscribe to the AxKit mailing list which should be at and ask for more info.

      The AxKit-CMS product ( looks like it will do about 80% of what I need, however after looking at XSLT (which makes my eyes hurt) and XPathScript (much better) I'm not sure I understand the advantages to using a transformation language such as XSLT over doing it directly in perl. Anyone have any insight on this?


        Hey! Don't press my buttons!

        I have no idea why people like XSLT. My theory is that it is an easy sell: it is not too difficult to write a demo thingie that converts baby-xml to not-so-good-looking HTML, so people can get started with it quite easily. Plus it can be sold as a "stylesheet language", which makes PHB's happy because it sounds like they can hire cheap designers to develop with it.

        Of course as soons as you need to do serious processing with it you realize it is not a complete language (before I get flamed for that, I just mean that it lacks the power of a real language (not to mention CPAN)), and that the ugly syntax makes it very hard to maintain (and a pain to write).

        So I guess there is a niche for XSLT, for simple transformations that require very limited interraction with the world outside of the document,. The only problem is that it is now sold as the one and only way to process XML, which tends to rub me the wrong way...

        Plus generally speaking I hate languages with a bracketty syntax!

        OK, I feel better now, back to hacking Twig!

Re: XML Application Servers
by KM (Priest) on May 08, 2001 at 01:07 UTC
    I just started evaluating AxKit last week and have been very happy with it so far. There is also an interesting article on about creating PDF and various formats with XML/XSLT. AxKit also, as you stated, provides a range of outpust.


Re: XML Application Servers
by princepawn (Parson) on May 08, 2001 at 01:34 UTC
    Gerard Lanois' homepage is built entirely from xml, but it was done in a homebrew fashion.

    He might serve as a resource if you have some questions.

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