[ANN] FreeMarker 2.3pre9 available

Discussion in 'XML' started by Jonathan Revusky, Jul 22, 2003.

  1. Greetings,

    A new preview release of FreeMarker 2.3 is available. FreeMarker 2.3
    introduces some powerful new XML processing functionality that should
    make it an appealing alternative to XSLT for many people. We have
    introduced some new directives -- <#visit> and <#recurse> -- that
    provide functionality roughly equivalent to the
    <xsl:apply-templates/> functionality.

    For those who do not know, FreeMarker is a 100% java library of some
    vintage. It was originally designed for the java servlet space, to
    keep presentation logic (HTML stuff) separate from the back-end
    application logic. However, it is a
    very useful tool for any application that needs to generate text.
    Other well-known tools in this space are Velocity and WebMacro.

    We believe that FreeMarker will be a lot easier for most people to
    learn and use than XSLT. The basic programming language available in
    FreeMarker templates is much more readable (less verbose) than XSLT
    and the underlying procedural logic will come more naturally to most
    people than the declarative/functional programming model embodied by
    XSLT.

    We don't have rigorous benchmarks ('rigorous benchmarks' may be an
    oxymoron anyway) but initial indications are that FreeMarker is a lot
    faster than XSLT. And I mean *a lot* faster. For example, FreeMarker's
    manual is maintained in a canonical Docbook XML format. Previously, we
    generated the final HTML output using using some XSLT stylesheets by
    Norman Walsh. The XSLT transformation was rewritten in FreeMarker, and
    runs 15x faster than the previous XSLT-based system using Saxon. Also,
    the FreeMarker templates are less verbose and seem more maintainable
    than the XSLT stuff was. You can see the FM-generated FM manual here:

    http://freemarker.org/docs/index.html and the chapter specifically on
    using the tool for XML processing is here:
    http://freemarker.org/docs/xgui.html

    Though the latest version is still labelled a preview, the codebase is
    really quite solid at this point. The main reason for the preview
    label is that we are still more open at this stage to changes and
    proposals than we would be if this were labeled release candidate or
    final. We are *very* interested in feedback from hard-core XML and
    XSLT type people. This is your chance to have some input into how an
    XML transformation tool should work. (I suppose most of you never got
    any input into how XSLT works. :))

    Best Regards,

    Jonathan Revusky
    --
    lead developer, FreeMarker project, http://freemarker.org/
    XML transformation with FreeMarker
    http://freemarker.org/docs/xgui.html
    Jonathan Revusky, Jul 22, 2003
    #1
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