Newbie general questions about XML/XSL relationship
I am trying to help in the design of an overall XML/XSL strategy for my comapny's CMS system which is going through its third re-write. I have spoken with a friend who is very good at XSL and would like to expand on the comments he made regarding our strategy.
Firstly our CMS is heavily data oriented (no news or blogs or similar) designed for archaeological projects trying to keep track of thier sites, digs, gis and finds information etc etc. On any given installation there may be up to 20 or 30 main data tables with several related tables containing more and/or repeating detail. Each of these main data tables has a set of forms with navigation and all the bells and whistles (edit, browse and mixed edit and browse forms). There are also lists of said data elements which link directly to the detail forms. All pretty standard stuff. There is a web based configuration tool that allows us and site administrators to add/remove and change what appears in these lists and detail forms. This means we are not writing new pages everytime we deploy our software to another group or when an existing group wants to add another main data table to their database - we just add or alter the configuration. Pages/forms and navigation are all generated on the fly using the configuration details so this would seem to be an ideal candidate for XML/XSLT.
Currently we are leaning towards getting the configuration tool to publish XSLT templates (as and when the configuration is changed) for each mode (edit, browse etc) and each target (browser, wap etc) for each main data object/aspect. I am told by my friend this is already going down a slippery slope as the XSL should not change and have all the capability in it already. We are planning on keeping the XML as pure data - so not even have attributes for table fields like 'maxlength' etc as that would all be handled using the configuration tool and hence published in the XSL template for that particular data object. Certain common elements like menus, headers and footers would all be included but I am not so sure about the main approach now.
If any of this is at all clear and you have any comments, please please do as I would really appreciate them.
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