Kiln provides a templating mechanism that provides full access to XSLT for creating the output, and an inheritance mechanism.

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.

This inheritance system works in much the same way as Django’s template inheritance.

Using a template

To apply a template to a content source, a Cocoon map:transform is used, as follows:

<map:transform src="cocoon://_internal/template/path/to/template.xsl"/>

The matching template looks for the file assets/templates/path/to/template.xml. Note that the extension of the template file is xml.

Writing a template

The basic structure of a template is as follows:

<kiln:root xmlns:kiln="http://www.kcl.ac.uk/artshums/depts/ddh/kiln/ns/1.0"
        <xi:include href="base.xml"/>
        <kiln:block name="head-title">

In a base template (that is, one that does not extend another template), there are no kiln:parent or kiln:child elements, only kiln:root and kiln:block elements (and whatever content the template may hold, of course).

In a template that extends another, the template being extended is referenced by an xi:include, the only allowed content of kiln:parent.


Block names must be unique within a template.

Attribute blocks

In order to create a block to cover the contents of an attribute, define a block immediately after the element holding the attribute, specifying the name of the attribute it is a block for in the attribute attribute.

    <kiln:block name="ul-class" attribute="class">
        <xsl:text>block default</xsl:text>

Multiple attribute blocks for the same element should simply be defined in series. It is only necessary that they occur before any non-attribute blocks within that element.

Inheriting content

In addition to supplying its own content, a block may include the content of the block it is inheriting from. To do so, an empty kiln:super element should be added wherever the inherited content is wanted (multiple kiln:super elements may occur within a single block.

<kiln:block name="nav">
    <p>Extra navigation here.</p>

If the block being inherited also contains an kiln:super element, then that referenced content will also be included.

Dynamic content

Templates use XSLT as the coding language to create any dynamic content. xsl:stylesheet and xsl:template elements must not be used; the process that compiles the template into an XSLT wraps the template’s XSL statements in a single xsl:template element matching on “/”; all processing occurs within this template, or imported/included XSLT.

xsl:import and xsl:include elements may be used (and the compiler will move them to the beginning of the XSLT), as may xsl:apply-templates and xsl:call-template.

Referencing assets

To reference assets (such as images, CSS and JavaScript files), ensure that the default variables XSLT is imported, and append the path to the file (relative to the assets directory) after the variable reference {$kiln:assets-path}.

<xsl:import href="cocoon://_internal/template/xsl/stylesheets/defaults.xsl" />

<kiln:block name="css">
  <link href="{$kiln:assets-path}/foundation/css/normalize.css"
              rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" />

This ensures that nothing that might change between installations (such as development serving the files files through Kiln, and production serving them off another dedicated server) is hard-coded into your templates.

See the settings in stylesheets/defaults.xsl for possible configurations.