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Comparison to other products

How does XWeb relate to Cocoon?

Both process XML documents with XSL. Both offer some help for managing input. That's probably all and in fact the first part is in both programs done by libraries.

Cocoon offers a number of features to do dynamic XML processing. If you have documents that change often (e.g. since they are generated all the time), Cocoon offers you an environment where this can be managed very easily and in a performant way. Also it offers some ease of managaging the input: you just put your files in the right directories and Cocoon will handle the rest.

XWeb doesn't offer any support for dynamic pages (although you can include CGIs and similar things) but it offers you a number of features for creating the navigation like rendering the buttons and giving your stylesheets every information they need to create the navigation. The process is managed by a single input file which is similar to a makefile.

Cocoon needs a Servlet engine to run on, XWeb is designed to run on a workstation or PC and creates a website ready for upload on any HTTP-server. XWebs targets mainly small sites with (mainly) static content while Cocoon is focused on dynamic content and too complex for small sites.

Which programs are similar to XWeb?

XWeb was designed with programs like NetObjects Fusion in mind. These programs allow you to easily create a website, they separate content and layout and they take care about the navigation. This is what XWeb should do, too.

There are a number of differences, the most obvious one is that XWeb doesn't offer a WYSIWYG interface like these programs do -- this might change later but doing this is complicated and not our main focus. If you care about WYSIWYG (that's ok) you probably should use one of those tools until we write better frontends.

There are other tools like w3m, Lagoon or Transmorpher using similar approaches -- check out the links.

If you used a tool like this and always wanted more control, don't like to use proprietary binary formats or found some things you couldn't do with your tool and you don't care much about WYSIWYG since you know that it doesn't work for any browser -- you are probably an archetypical XWeb user.


What does "Exception in thread "main" java.lang.NoClassDefFoundError: org/jdom/adapters/DOMAdapter" mean?

That the jdom.jar file was not found in your classpath. If you use the script files (e.g. wp) it probably means that you didn't set the XWEBHOME environment variable correctly.

I get the error message "Can't connect to X11 windows server". What does this mean?

Unfortunately some of the AWT functions XWeb uses for creating the images assume that there is an X server available. Therefore XWeb can't run without a properly set DISPLAY variable on Unix and Linux machines unless it is used in combination with a local X server.

There are some ways to get rid of the problem. The most obvious is to set the DISPLAY environment variable to an available display somewhere. If you want to do scripting on a server you probably better use the X virtual framebuffer (xvfb, comes with X11) or VNC. Both should be able to offer the needed functions without an actual display.

Java 1.4 promises to offer an headless mode -- so we might get rid of this problem soon.


Where can I find useful examples?

Start reading the manual, then check the examples directory in the distribution. You can also find the sources for this site in the distribution.

Can I contribute examples?

Of course! We will collect links to pages created with XWeb and if you do something not yet described in our examples (a lot) we will be happy to add your example to the distribution. Just post some links on one of our mailing lists.

A good example for us would be well documented and introduces some specific usage or trick -- most important examples still missing are more complex navigations (different ways of handling subsections) and more complicated input files, maybe processed in different ways (e.g. DocBook as HTML for online viewing and as PDF for download -- created from one input file).

Where do I get buttons?

Ask your favored search engine for something like "free buttons". If this shouldn't help, try Google instead. Or use SVG or some paint program for creating buttons yourself -- there are some howtos around that show you how to create nice buttons (mail links to me and I put them on this site).

Helping the Project

How can I help?

One of the most important things at he moment is feedback. So the best way to help us is to use the program and to tell us your experiences. Don't be shy -- we don't like negative comments but they are a lot better than no comments. We don't bite ;-)

Contributing examples or even templates would be great. We still are not sure where XWebs limits are but we are quite sure we didn't find them yet. If you have some new way to use XWeb -- tell us. If you can contribute a template for a specific usage we will be happy to put it in the distribution package.

And we are looking for people like frontend programmers, someone managing our website (content/layout) and testers (important!). If you think you can help in any way -- tell us about it. If you would like to help but don't know how -- just ask and we probably can find something to do ;-)


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