XML Director Project started
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The high-level goal of the XML Director project is building an enterprise-level XML content-management-system on top of existing solutions instead of starting from scratch. The foundation of XML Director will be the Python-based CMS Plone (Version 4.3, later 5.0) in combination with one of the open-source XML database eXist-db or Base-X. For now both databases are supported because it is easy to integrate with Plone over their WebDAV layer.
I started the project as a result of customer work where an existing publishing workflow (DOCX -> HTML -> PDF) is currently on the move to a more professional solution with XML as central data format. This project already used Plone as CMS for years. The foundation of the XML Director project is a Plone extension xmldirector.plonecore that is already released on Github. This extensions provides basically the two approaches for dealing with XML inside Plone:
My vision is that XML Director provides the foundation for building individual XML CMS solutions because every project has its own requirements, every publisher has different workflows. So it does not make much sense building a fully-fledged CMS dictating certain workflows or approaches. Instead I want to build a system that is open and flexibel in order to fulfill customer needs easily.
- all data is natively stored in eXist-db/Base-X and Plone is only used as web frontend for accessing the data without keeping any data directly within Plone
- content is represented in Plone as content objects where content-types can be designed individually either through the web or with Python code. The Plone rights management, content workflows fully apply for this approach
XML-Director will also provide options for importing and converting documents from formats like DOCX or generating high-quality PDF documents from XML content. This technology exists already and can be integrated easily - however depending on the underlaying DOCX or PDF converters further costs can apply.
(Professional) bootstrapping a new project is a lot of work and takes some time. There will be an official and more professional looking project website available within the next weeks. There will be also an demo website where you can try the most recent version of XML Director. This will be based on Docker. There is already a work-in-progress Docker image for Plone and eXist-db. I will regular report on the progress of the project on blog.xml-director.info.
XML Director is an open-source project and lives from contributions. Everybody is invited to participate in the project with code, ideas and funding. You can find further informations about my person and experience in the publishing business here.