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Re: [RFC,wwwdocs] Ditch MetaHTML and use our own Perl preprocessor

ping? Gerald, being web pages maintainers, what's your opinion?

Answering to Janne's comment, I'm certainly not opposed to any
preprocessor/templating system. My own goal is to rewrite the fortran
pages, including the common navigation bar, and I can't use MetaHTML
to do that.

On 9/29/07, FX Coudert <> wrote:
> Hi,
> I am in the process of rewriting the Fortran part of our website
> (, part of which consists of adding the GCC
> navigation bar. To do so, I had to install localy MetaHTML, our
> current web preprocessor, and my experiences with it have left me
> less than impressed [1].  We currently use it for including headers
> and footer, making them depend on whether we are preprocessing HTML
> or XHTML, modifying in place a few tags (<title>, <h1>, <body>) and
> adding navigation bar on files that need it.  This can easily be done
> by a simple preprocessing script, and seeing that MetaHTML was last
> released 1999 and apparently unsupported since then, I suggest that
> we do this move right now.
> This patch includes the new preprocessor, changes to the script, and
> quite a few new files (footer, navigation bars, etc.) split from the
> MetaHTML file, style.mhtml.  I chose to write the preprocessor script
> in Perl, since Perl is already used for the wwwdocs/bin/preprocess
> script, so I'm sure it will be available on the webserver. The
> preprocessor does what MetaHTML was needed, but it can be extended in
> the future if we need more functionality. Also, we can in the future
> offload some of its work, such as <body> and <h1> modifications and
> part of the navigation bar to CSS, which is obviously better suited
> for the job. I intend to do so as a follow-up to the preprocessor
> change, if/when it is accepted.
> This change shouldn't change the website, but I can't check since I
> don't have MetaHTML, so I'd appreciate if someone with shell access
> to the webserver could check it.  Oh, there is one thing that I
> changed: the detailled search page,,
> currently has a "Database last updated YYYY-MM-DD" line that doesn't
> work (it displays "1900--"), so I removed it.
> Comments are highly welcome, both on the idea itself, and on the Perl
> script (my Perl is a bit rusty since I haven't used it for years).
> Thanks,
> FX
> [1] As a record, here's what my "final" status is: in addition to
> Gerald's patch and script provided by Joel Sherrill (thanks guys), I
> needed to patch of few more (~ 15) occurences of multilines strings,
> force the Makefiles to use the version of readline included in
> metahtml instead of the system one (too recent, apparently there's
> been an ABI change), and tweak the Makefiles for the shared modules,
> which aren't portable (at least, not to Mac OS). As of yesterday,
> I've managed to compile it, but the resulting binary acts as an
> endless cpu-consuming loop. At that point, I gave up.

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