General thoughts needed on web page templates/FreeMarker/Velocity/XSLT

Discussion in 'Java' started by Chris, Apr 7, 2006.

  1. Chris

    Chris Guest

    I distribute an app that uses JSP. Users edit the JSP to customize it for
    their environment. At the moment, we just call plain Java objects within the
    JSP, but users get confused when they have to work around the Java snippets.
    So we've got the classic how-to-separate-code-from-presentation problem.

    We could use Velocity or FreeMarker to insert dynamic data into easy-to-edit
    html templates. Most of our competitors, though, output XML and then have
    the users do CSS or XSLT to generate the actual html.

    Does anyone have insights on what the easiest approach is for your average
    user? I have no experience with XSLT, but it strikes me as much harder to
    handle than a FreeMarker-style template. On the other hand, XML is really
    convenient in lots of situations.

    Also, does anyone have insight into performance issues? Some of our
    customers have really, really heavy traffic (many, many page views per
    second), so page generation speed matters. My gut says that server-side XSLT
    transformation has a lot of overhead, but I have no data to back this up.
    Chris, Apr 7, 2006
    #1
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  2. Chris

    Oliver Wong Guest

    "Chris" <anon> wrote in message
    news:44369a97$0$25024$...
    >I distribute an app that uses JSP. Users edit the JSP to customize it for
    >their environment. At the moment, we just call plain Java objects within
    >the JSP, but users get confused when they have to work around the Java
    >snippets. So we've got the classic how-to-separate-code-from-presentation
    >problem.
    >
    > We could use Velocity or FreeMarker to insert dynamic data into
    > easy-to-edit html templates. Most of our competitors, though, output XML
    > and then have the users do CSS or XSLT to generate the actual html.
    >
    > Does anyone have insights on what the easiest approach is for your average
    > user? I have no experience with XSLT, but it strikes me as much harder to
    > handle than a FreeMarker-style template. On the other hand, XML is really
    > convenient in lots of situations.


    In my experience, you'll encounter a lot of people who are really
    talented at web design (e.g. XHTML and CSS), but know almost nothing about
    anything else (this includes XML, XSLT, Java, etc.) For these people I
    recommend the template solution, as it's as close to XHTML that they're used
    to as possible.

    What you could do, if some of your clients want to "take advantage of
    XML", is to use both XML and templates. That is, your product outputs the
    dynamic content into an XML file. The clients can do whatever they want with
    this XML file, including passing it to your bundled templating system. Your
    templating system allows the web designer to write mostly XHTML, with some
    slots for where the dynamic data should appear. Your templating engine
    gathers this dynamic data from the XML file.

    >
    > Also, does anyone have insight into performance issues?


    I don't. Why don't you try some benchmarking?

    - Oliver
    Oliver Wong, Apr 15, 2006
    #2
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