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June 28, 2004

"XML Publishing with AxKit": Managing Web Content with Perl and XML

Sebastopol, CA--Publishing XML to the Web shouldn't be hard, but many web developers find that if the myths and fallacies surrounding the use of XML don't deter them, then the shortage of available, accessible tools for transforming and delivering content will. AxKit--short for Apache XML toolkit--uses the mod_perl extension to the Apache HTTP server to turn Apache into a cost-effective, easy-to-use XML publishing and application server. AxKit allows developers to quickly design modules to create faster web sites, and deliver them in a wide variety of media formats. It also takes care of caching so the developer doesn't have to worry about it. AxKit meets the demands of the web developer nicely, but, as with any new toolkit, there is a learning curve.

Web developers who want to flatten that learning curve and get right to work will find a step-by-step introduction to the technology in XML Publishing with AxKit (O'Reilly, US $29.95) by Kip Hampton. The book walks readers through the initial setup and configuration, and then addresses coding, testing, and final delivery of an extensible system. It explains how to set up AxKit on both Windows- and Linux-based systems, and how to build a simple but functional site using AxKit.

XML Publishing with AxKit will be useful to any web developer or designer who is interested in learning about XML publishing in general, and the practical aspects of XML publishing, specifically with Apache. According to Hampton, readers are not required to know Perl at all, or be Apache HTTP server gurus, or possess more than a basic familiarity with XML. "If you don't know XML and dread the thought of consuming a pile of esoteric specifications to understand what is being presented, don't worry," says Hampton. "This book takes a fiercely pragmatic approach that will teach you only what you need to know to be productive with AxKit. A quick scan of XML's basic syntax is probably all the XML knowledge you need to get started."

After covering the basics of getting started with AxKit, XML Publishing with AxKit moves on to more complex possibilities, including:

  • Configuring style processing
  • Using AxKit as an XSLT pipeline processor
  • Transforming XML with AxKit's own XpathScript
  • Using extensible Server Pages (XSP) with AxKit
  • Building on the AxKit architecture
  • Extending AxKit with custom plug-ins, data providers, and language modules
  • Joining the AxKit community
  • The AxKit framework can bring XML publishing to life (on a budget), providing support for online publishing tasks ranging from yesterday's HTML-only sites to today's multi-client web interfaces, and even into tomorrow's RDF/XML-based Semantic Web. With XML Publishing with AxKit, web developers have all the tools they need to deliver complex XML-based systems quickly, the power to develop their own systems for style sheet negotiation, and the flexibility to design completely new style sheet languages.

    Additional Resources:

    XML Publishing with AxKit
    Kip Hampton
    ISBN 0-596-00216-5, 243 pages, $29.95 US, $43.95 CA
    order@oreilly.com
    1-800-998-9938; 1-707-827-7000

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