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Enhydra: User management, resource management, and some other features


Hamilton, Locomotive, Enhydra... Choice is difficult ;-)

I took a look at three APIs and Enhydra seems to provide the best
fundations for a robust application server and I'm very impressed by the
work done by UI designers and documentation writers. Nevertheless some
necessary features are currently not implemented:

1. User management (users, usergroups, domains)
2. Resource management (documents and lower granularity elements)
3. Comprehensive HTML support
4. XML, XSL, RDF support
5. Language translation support
6. POP, IMAP, LDAP support

Some of these features extend the scope of a simple application server
but I found them very useful when I used PHP (http://www.php.net) for
developing Intranet/Extranet applications. Having all of them in a
single software package is one of the reasons of the huge success of
PHP. I suggest the following ways for implementing them:

1 & 2. User management & Resource management

User management and resource management seem to be well implemented in
Hamilton (http://www.microstate.com). Everything is provided in a single
package (com.microstate.hamilton.resource) and should be easily added on
top of Enhydra. I'm just not easy with licensing issues: Enhydra has a
BSD-like license and Hamilton is licensed under the LGPL. What would be
the resulting license?


3. Comprehensive HTML support

Enhydra provides a very limited HTML support in com.lutris.html.
Hamilton offers a comprehensive HTML 3.2 support in
com.microstate.hamilton.html.compound and
com.microstate.hamilton.html.document. Should we add these classes in
Enhydra? HTML 4.0 support would be a useful feature to?


4. XML, XSL, RDF support

Adding an XML parser would allow dynamic content generation based on XML
documents. SAX and DOM APIs should be supported. XML parser for Java by
IBM offers it (http://alphaworks.ibm.com) with support for XLink and
XPointer, but licensing terms are not very well suited for an
integration into a BSD-like licensed product (license may be terminated
by IBM at any time). What is the best currently available GPL'd XML
parser for Java?

XSLP (http://www.clc-marketing.com/xslp/) offers a free implementation
of XSL which supports ECMAScript via FESI (free ECMAScript interpreter).

SiRPAC (http://www.w3.org/RDF/Implementations/SiRPAC/) is a free
implementation of RDF provided by W3C.

Question: how XML elements should be stored?

Using the filesystem does not offer a good level of granularity for
storing complex XML documents. A RDBMS does not offer inheritance
mechanisms necessary for submitting queries on large data sets. An
object-oriented database is the only solution to handle it in a good
way. A database like PSE ObjectStore (http://www.objectdesign.com) would
be perfect for it, but it's not free software. Does anyone know about a
GPL'd object-oriented database management system which could fit these


5. Language translation support

Enhydra provides advanced mechanisms to separate the work done by
designers from the work done by developers. This approach should be
extended for language translation. Language translation support should
have the following features:

* Sentence granularity
* Embedded variables in sentences
* Language-dependent variables order
* Source code using a single default language (American English?)
* Translations provided by single-language files separated from source
* Support for language-dependent punctuations (": " is " : " in French)
* Support for language dependent objects (date, currency, ...)


* How translations should be accessed? Database? Collection?
* What should be the granularity of translation files? The document? The


6. POP, IMAP, LDAP support

ODBC support is provided as a default feature in Enhydra. It should be
the same for POP, IMAP, LDAP. POP and IMAP support could be offered by
JavaMail from JavaSoft (http://www.javasoft.com). LDAP support could be
offered by JNDI from JavaSoft to.


Some other questions:

* Adapting the content to the browser

Content can be adapted to the browser in several ways:

# Support for JavaScript or not
# Support for HTML 4.0 (and not just HTML 3.2)
# Support for CSS
# Support for XML

The perfect application server should allow the designer to provide XML
documents with XSL stylesheets embedding ECMAScript scripts for
procedural actions (like form entries validation). According to the
technologies supported by the client browser, the document should be
sent in XML with CSS style sheets, in HTML with CSS style sheets or in
simple HTML. Procedural actions should be run on the server or on the
client according to the client ability to run ECMAScript scripts. How
Enhydra, Jolt and XMLC solve these problems?


Some of these features may be currently developed by the Enhydra team.
Please tell me if I'm trying to reinvent the wheel... I plan to use all
of them to work on a groupware framework offering email, newsgroup,
calendaring and publishing support. I would be pleased to share my work
with volunteers.

Anyway, many thanks for your Open Source supporting.

Best regards

Ismaël Ghalimi, CEO

ExOffice, Inc.

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