A Javascript library for XML Authoring
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AXEL - Adaptable XML Editing Library

AXEL is a lightweight, open source (LGPL v2.1), Javascript library for generating XML authoring applications that run inside the browser. Like form-based systems, such as XForms, it turns a description of a Web page with some editable fields into an editor. Unlike form-based systems, it is targeted at generating a broader scope of user interfaces from data-centric ones to document-centric ones.

How does it work ?

AXEL works by transforming a document template (i.e. an XHTML file with embedded XTiger XML instructions) into an editable HTML page.

Where to start ?

This repository contains the full AXEL source code, documentation, examples and utilities. It is targeted at integrators and developers that want to use/debug/extend the library. It is also used to generate the stripped-down AXEL distribution that you can find at http://media.epfl.ch/Templates/.

If you are just interested in using and deploying AXEL, all you need to do is to copy the axel folder to your Web server. Then you can start deploying your own document templates following the instructions in examples/tutorial/tutorial.xhtml.

In all the cases, once you have cloned the main AXEL git repo by running git clone git://github.com/ssire/axel.git, you should read the readme.html.

How to build the library ?

The library comes with the latest sources concatenated and minified inside axel/axel.js. However it is wised to make a fresh version by running the build.lib target in the scripts directory:

cd scripts
ant build.lib

This requires that you have the ant tool available on your system, which is already the case on many operating systems.

This requires that you install the Yahoo UI compressor onto your machine, and that you edit the scripts/ant.properties file to point to it.

You can get the Yahoo UI compressor at http://developer.yahoo.com/yui/compressor/

Alternatively the build.debug target simply concatenates source files together, so you can use it without installing the compressor.

How to extend the library ?

The basic archicture of the library is reflected into the structure of its src folder. It contains the following sort of Javascript components:

  • plugins (or primitive editors) manage user input at a single editing field level, the library currently offers some select (a drop-down selection list), text, richtext, link, photo and video plugins

  • filters can be set on plugins to specialize their input and/or output vocabulary (e.g. the wiki filter turns a text entry field into a wiki entry field)

  • services can be spreaded within the document tree to gather data and to trigger external actions with side effects while editing (e.g. you can setup a service to translate some text)

You can extend the library by writing your own plugins, filters or services.

How to contribute to the library ?

First, you can subscribe to the axel-dev mailing list.

Then you can contribute your bug fixes, enhancements and extensions by:

  1. Forking
  2. Creating a branch (git checkout -b my_axel)
  3. Commit your changes (git commit -am "My contribution")
  4. Push to the branch (git push origin my_axel)
  5. Create an Issue with a link to your branch

Coding Guidelines

We currently do not have strong coding conventions as you will see by yourself when browsing the source code, however respect at least that one: Soft Tabs at 2 spaces per Tab !.