Cocoon training for non-programmers

Today I'm finishing the handouts for our annual XML course at a local engineering school.

The course module is simply called "XML class", but last year we decided to bring the students all the way from XML to DTDs and schemas to XSLT to multi-channel publishing in six days. A tall order, given that these students are not majoring in computer programming but rather in "communications engineering and management", which means their technical and programming abilities vary a lot.

Last year we were successful in bringing nearly all students to the point where they understand what XML can bring to their future projects, and how publishing frameworks like Cocoon can add a lot of value to an XML corpus. You cannot teach them everything about all this in six days, but if they understand the issues and are motivated to learn more I'm happy.

The hard part for many of them was juggling with many different tools that they just learned - I tried to motivate them to learn just what they need to get the job done, as a first discovery of the complete publishing chain, but some of them wanted to get more weapons ready before entering the jungle.

For the XML basics we use XML in a nutshell which is good and is available in many languages, a big plus for our bilingual audience (German and French), students can get the book in their favorite language.

We'll see how it works this year - let's hope the heat wave is over when classes begin, so that all students brain cells are fully operational!