Here is a small section of the site that spawns out of writing down my ideas during, while or after something has been done. Hopefully my decisions within this project are straight forward and understandable, if not you'll find them here.
At the moment, the code is a mess of half-converted hack-like methods and stuff I'm proud of. Sooner or later I'll throw parts through a UML 'reverse engineer' tool and explain what went on.
I'm not too sure about the hype and hope for what XML delivers, but for building web pages you can't go too far wrong. Personally (and generally) I hate dynamic (PHP like, not ASP/JSP) and customisable content on the web (forgoing IG for now) as it seems lazy and inefficient. Also I like my web content to be just that: content. I can't see how HTML can be written with CSS to achieve this, so XML via a XSLT translation suits me nicely.
Now this doesn't come for free. Firstly I had to get a site template up that was flexible enough to translate together. I'm sure you could download, steal of lift one from a book but I doubt you'd learn much from it (or explore your expletives lexicon as thoroughly). My choice here was to follow standards as closely as sanely possible but still have acceptable results within Internet Explorer 6.
Secondly was to find a free desktop translator (using Apache dynamically would be neat) that would automate well with the build process. After an afternoon of searching and playing with tools, it turned out that Ant does XSLT processing and integrates well as the only other secondary path within the build XML.
The last step (though should have been mid way through) was to test as much content as possible and get the whole lot validated. Of course XSLT is going to verify that your XML is 100% valid so you just need to make sure that what gets generated conforms to some standard. In this, there is the 'special' popup window that launches the applet which is coded in HTML and just copied via the build script and only had to be verified to work once. Here I found out that most [online] validation system just dumps out problems in an incomprehensible fashion, with some slapped on suggested fixes to explain what probably went wrong.
Once everything was working fine, I got stuck into making things a little more dynamic (and almost impossible to debug and see changes easily). That means that the XSLT relies heavily on the Ant build script for parameters and loads of file copying. It originally produced a separate XML file for import but that became unwieldy if you needed to use the values more then once.
If you want to follow my path again, use: