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rapple usage guide

assuming that you have correctly installed and configured rapple it is now time to start building your website. it is assumed that you have source files ready for processing along with an XSLT (if you do not have one then try using the XSLT used to generate this website).

rapple does not take any file arguments and is invoked according to the follow option syntax:

%rapple [-chvVx] [-f configfile] [-H host] [-d srcdir] [-o webdir]

the following table describes these options

Option Description
-c checking configuration
-d specify alternative sources directory (overrides configuration file srcdir setting)
-f specify configuration file (overrides RAPPLE_CONF variable setting)
-h displays help message
-H specify alternative host (overrides configuration file domain setting)
-o specify alternative output directory (overrides configuration file webdir setting)
-v, -V specify version information
-x deletes any content in datastore and quits

finding your configuration file

rapple looks for control information in a configuration file and searchs for it in the following order:

  • the file specified by the -f option on the command line;
  • the file specified by the value of the RAPPLE_CONF environment variables;
  • a file called rapple.conf in the current working directory.

if rapple does not find a configuration using the above methods then it will fail.

building your website

before building your site for the first time it is worth running rapple with the -c option to check that your configuration looks fine. assuming that all is in order let us suppose that your sources are located in the directory /home/joesoap/html/src, that you want to build your website in /usr/local/www/html/mysite and that you are using the datastore location /home/joesoap/html/dsi.

you can have rapple locate your configuration file by setting the RAPPLE_CONF environment variable to point to it. for example in the bash shell this is doing using the export command:

%export RAPPLE_CONF=/path/to/my/rapple.conf

alternatively if RAPPLE_CONF is not set then you can place your configuration file in the root directory of your sources (make sure that it is called "rapple.conf".) In either case the site can be built by issuing the following command:


if you need to use a different configuration file then use the -f option. for example you might to experiment with an alternative configuration in which case you could issue:

%rapple -f /path/to/alternative/rapple.conf

if you wish to use source and/or web directories other than those stated in the configuration file then use the appropriate -d and -o options:

%rapple -d /home/joesoap/html/othersrc -o /home/joesoap/html/web

finally you may wish to specify an alternative host (i.e., domain) for your site in which case use the -H option. for example you may wish to build a local test site for development purposes hosted at http://localhost/mysite/, a (public but restricted) test environment website for user testing hosted at http://test.mysite.com/ and, a live site for production hosted at http://www.mysite.com/. rather than have three (nearly identical) configuration files you could define a configuration file based on your development environment and when finished developing your local website build your test site by overriding the development host (and, if necessary, the output directory) using:

%rapple -H http://test.mysite.com/ -o /home/joesoap/html/test

and your live site using:

%rapple -H http://www.mysite.com/ -o /home/joesoap/html/live

removing files

you may wish to remove some of the files that rapple creates once you are finished building your website. to remove the datastore by-products issue the following:

%rapple -x

note that as a precaution only the rapple subdirectories of the datastore are removed (tidy products and parsing etc.) and that the datastore affected is the one indicated by the configuration that controls rapple (if you intended to delete an alternate datastore then include the appropriate -f option)


many vendors abuse HTML standards by adding their own extensions which can cause problems for rapple (and other standards based web tools). there are several sources of information you can go to if you encounter problems:

  • check your logfiles: to see if any problems occuring during processing take a look at the log file
    %more /path/to/your/logdir/rapple.log

    tip: whilst running rapple in one window you may wish to open another window and issue the following command to continually track changes to the logfile:

    %tail -f /path/to/your/logdir/rapple.log
  • look into the datastore: since the datastore cotains copies of tidy transformations (along with error reports) and output from the rapple parser it is a useful place to look to investigate before/after behaviour of the tool.
  • ask for help: if you think you have found a bug or have a question then contact the rapple development team (mail the users mailing list) providing a sample of the input you are using.

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