December 9, 2014

Announcing the "XML-Director" XML CMS project

XML-Director will be a new-generation XML content management system based on the Plone 5 CMS with either eXist-db or Base-X as backend. Additional components will provide DOCX to XML and XML/HTML to PDF/EPub conversion, support for desktop and web-based XML editors.

I am pleased to announce the start of a new big project in 2015: XML Director

XML-Director will be a new generation XML content-management-system focused on

  • openness
  • easy-to-use
  • flexibility
  • combining the best technologies on the market into a superb XML solution

Based on almost 20 years of experience in the electronic publishing and publisher business and based on our experience with Produce & Publish over the last years it is time to bring our tools to the next level.

What will XML-Director be?

  • First, XML-Director will be a classical open-source project open to everyone interested in Plone, XML, CMS, PDF, EPub, conversions etc.
  • A classical CMS solution for XML content with Plone as the basis. Plone's content-type framework Dexterity makes it very easy to create new XML-ish content-types either through code or through the web. The existing core feature of Plone like security, role-based user management, fine-grained security model will be full available within XML-Director.
  • XML-Director will be a storage for XML content (from small to large). XML-Director will support out-of-the-box both XML databases eXist-db and Base-X.
  • DOCX to XML conversion: XML-Director will provide a pluggable API for integrating external conversion services like C-REX or solutions build on top of open-source software like LibreOffice encapsulated through a webservice. Our goal is to provide out-of-the-box conversion support of DOCX to Docbook and DITA.
  • PDF generation will be based on our Produce & Publish solution that exists now for many years with PDFreactor and PrinceXML as primary converters. However free solutions like WKHTMLTOPDF will also remain supported. In addition we are looking into further PDF conversion options like Antennahouse Formatter and Speedata Publisher.
  • Configurable content-types
  • Support for XML metadata either in Plone or XML or mixed

Usecases for XML-Director

  • Technical documentation
  • Authoring and production of guideline documents, SOPs etc.
  • classical XML production and publishing workflows

Technical foundation

  • Plone CMS (version 4.3 and later 5.X)
  • eXist-db or Base-X
  • ElasticSearch
  • PDF conversion: PDFreactor, PrinceXML, WKTOHTMLPDF
  • EPub conversion: Calibre, custom implementation
  • DOCX conversion/import: C-REX, custom implementation

Development approach

  • All modules of XML-Director will be freely available as open-source (GPL2)  on Github
  • Exceptions:
  • specific custom solutions build on top of XML-Director where confidentiality is an issue
  • commercial converters like PrinceXML or PDFreactor
  • Everyone is invited to participate the project. The code is on Github: fork it and improve it