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Apache's Lenya as Easy as 1.2.3

The Apache Software Foundation (ASF) released version 1.2.3 of its Lenya project after only two months of development, group leaders said today.

Lenya is an open source Java/XML content management system (CMS) that is based on Apache Cocoon version 2.1.7. Last updated in February 2005, the improvements include revision control, site management, scheduling, search, WYSIWYG editors and workflow.

Lenya 1.2.3. also has added caching to default publication; a move to Ant 1.6.3 and Jetty 4.2.23; a FileUser that is now serializable; and an improved Windows installer to make the latest Lenya version more explicit and launch Lenya start page at the end of the install.

One of the most visual improvements to Lenya, however, is the update to its authoring capabilities.

The Apache Lenya authoring area is used to edit individual pages. The author browses through the authoring area just like a visitor to a Web site would. A menu at the top of the screen is the only indication that you are inside the authoring environment, the ASF said in its description. Everything else is just like it appears on the live site.

As for improved site management, ASF said Lenya can use its perform operations that concern multiple pages, like moving pages around, renaming sections of the site.

Finally, Lenya comes with different editors for content editing. One of the more advanced ones is Bitflux Editor -- or BXE.

Using BXE, the Apache Foundation said users can edit arbitrary XML in WYSIWYG and validate a document against a Relax NG schema while it is being edited.

The foundation said BXE in Lenya uses validation to restrict the editing choices instead of allowing free-form input and then generating validation errors on save. The group said that approach alone makes it stand out against most other content editors.

"While some CMSs allow users to change the styling of pages in the graphical interface of the application, Lenya does not," Jon Linczak, an ASF contributor and Lenya user said during a tutorial last month. "Some consider this to be a big negative for Lenya, and for a large institution with multiple designers and CSS developers, it can be."

Linczak said Lenya's other benefits are that a page layout is done in XSL files, and when the page is accessed through your Web browser, the content and the XSL template merge and get transformed into a valid HTML or XHTML document.

The CMS platform is certainly getting its fair share of accolades. In a September 2004 study by MIT, the technical institution chose Lenya as its No. 1 recommendation for CMS usage.

For the next release, ASF said it is planning to move Lenya to a block-based system, which should make it much easier to mix and match Cocoon and Lenya components.

The group said it has two Lenya presentations scheduled at its upcoming ApacheCon 2005 event in Stuttgart, Germany in mid-July.