I have at last released a “final” version of my web server framework, XProc-Z, for testing. The last features I had wanted to include were:
- The ability for the XProc code in the web server to read information from its environment, so that a generic XProc pipeline can be customized by setting configuration properties.
- Full support for sending and receiving binary files (i.e. non text files). XProc is really a language for processing XML, but I think it will be handy to be able to deal with binary files as well from time to time.
- A few sample XProc pipelines, to demonstrate the capability of the platform.
Now the software is out there for people to try, and already I have a friend — a medievalist — who has installed it and started to use it to develop a web application. It’s exciting to have an “installed base” (one person, but it’s a start!) for the software which previously I was the only one to use.
Also, now that the XProc-Z platform is more or less complete, I will be using it myself to build an application for Library and Archives people to convert their collection metadata into Linked Open Data form.
I hope that the platform will turn out to be useful generally in the Digital Humanities and Library fields; there’s a lot of processing of XML going on, and XProc is an ideal programming language for that. Since it’s designed to run XProc pipelines, on the web, with minimal extras, XProc-Z is also highly appropriate for web-based XML processing applications, making it one of the most concise and simple ways to write applications of that nature. If you are a DH developer and you already know XSLT, XQuery, or XPath, you will find XProc a pretty amenable language – I totally recommend it!
If you’re interested to see it in action, you can view it on this server, running the sample pipelines which I’ve included. You can also view the Java source code or the sample XProc pipelines on the github site. The “main” pipeline is xproc-z.xpl.
If you’re interested to give it a try, and you know — or don’t mind learning — a bit of XProc, feel free to download the software and fire it up on a machine of your own. I am happy to answer questions about it and generally help to get people going. You can comment here on the blog, email me, or post an “issue” on the github site.