• Apache Cocoon web development framework for XML processing, built with integrated eXist XML database that can be used for storage, indexing and searching using XPath expressions.
  • Apache Solr searching platform for indexing, searching and browsing of contents.
  • Sesame 2 for storage and querying of RDF data.
  • Apache Ant build system that has tasks for running the built-in web application server, running the Solr web server, creating a static version of the website, generating a Solr index of all the desired content.
  • Jetty web application server for immediate running of Cocoon with automatic refreshing of changes.
  • An XSLT-based templating language that supports inheritance, similar to Django’s template block system.
  • Foundation, a set of HTML/CSS/JavaScript building blocks.


Kiln architecture

In a production web server context, Kiln integrates with other web publishing tools to support images (IIPimage/Djatoka), maps (GeoServer; MapServer; OpenLayers) and other data sources, like relational data (MySQL or other RDBMS).


Kiln has been developed around the concept of the separation of roles, allowing people with different backgrounds, knowledge and skills to work simultaneously on the same project without overriding each other’s work. The parts of the system used by developers, designers and content editors are distinct; further, the use of a version control system makes it simpler and safer for multiple people with the same role to work independently and cooperatively.

Since it is impossible to predict every eventuality with regards to a project’s specific XML markup, Kiln offers basic output options which cover the functionality and formats (HTML, PDF, etc) common to all websites, together with an extensible framework supporting the development of any custom functionality that is needed. The system provides for a high-level of customisation, beyond the usable and useful defaults, in the following other areas:

  • Schematron validation based on, and linked to, encoding guidelines published in ODD.
  • Editorial workflow validation. Kiln provides web-based management pages that allow XML files to be checked for inconsistencies and errors.
  • Templates for common types of pages, such as search and search results, indices, and bibliographies.
  • XSLT for indexing contents for Solr. By default it indexes the full text and all the references to marked up entities.
Customisation levels of Solr components

Kiln provides native support for multilingual websites, RSS feeds, form processing, and automated navigation such as sitemaps and indexes, but with some customisation can support the publishing of more complex materials with much deeper markup, such as medieval charters, musicological bibliographies, classical inscriptions, biographies, glossaries and so forth.


Kiln provides a templating mechanism that provides full access to XSLT for creating the output, and an inheritance mechanism. Templates use XSLT as the coding language to create any dynamic content. Template inheritance allows for a final template to be built up of a base skeleton (containing the common structure of the output) and ‘descendant’ templates that fill in the gaps. In addition to supplying its own content, a block may include the content of the block it is inheriting from.

  • Example of basic structure:

            <!-- Extend another template by including it. -->
            <xi:include href="base.xml" />
            <!-- Override a block defined in an ancestor template. -->
            <kiln:block name="title">
                <h1>Title here</h1>
  • Example of inheriting content:

    <kiln:block name="title">
        <!-- Include the parent template's content for this block. -->
        <kiln:super />
        <!-- Add in new content. -->
        <h2>Smaller title here</h2>

Fuller documentation is available.