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Kiln is an open source multi-platform framework for building and deploying complex websites whose source content is primarily in XML. It brings together various independent software components into an integrated whole that provides the infrastructure and base functionality for such sites.

Kiln is developed and maintained by a team at the Department of Digital Humanities (DDH), King’s College London. Over the past years and versions, Kiln has been used to generate more than 50 websites which have very different source materials and functionality. It has been adapted to work on a variety of flavours of TEI and other XML vocabularies, and has been used to publish data held in relational databases.

Kiln comes with XSLT code that provides support for some types of markup, but it is expected for each project to either customise it or replace it altogether and as a result of that customisation Kiln can support the publishing of complex materials with deep markup, such as medieval charters, musicological bibliographies, classical inscriptions, biographies, glossaries and so forth.


  • powerful templating mechanism that provides full access to XSLT for creating the output
  • clear separations of roles
  • templates for common types of pages
  • integration with Solr for indexing and searching
  • default support for TEI files
  • support for multilingual websites

System requirements

Java 1.7 (or at least Java 1.5+ to run Kiln webapps)

Source code and licensing

Copyright 2012 Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London

Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0

Components licences:

  • Apache Cocoon, Apache Solr and Apache Ant are available under the Apache License.
  • Sesame 2 is available under the BSD License.
  • Jetty is available dual licensed under the Apache License and the Eclipse Public License.

Support for TEI

Since DDH has in-house guidelines for using TEI P5 to create websites, Kiln makes use of certain TEI markup conventions. However, it has been adapted to work on a variety of flavours of TEI and other XML vocabularies.


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Simple Presentation and Interface Library (SPIL), a set of HTML/CSS/JavaScript building blocks.


Interface and documentation available in English.


Tech support

Kiln comes with a tutorial that covers using the main components of Kiln, and is recommended for new users.

For support try the issue tracker at

No paid-for support scheme available.

User community

There's a strong community of users at King's College London.

Sample implementations

Current version number and date of release

Kiln is in constant development (last modification correct at the time of adding this entry on 25/07/2014)

History of versions

Kiln was previously known as xMod

How to download or buy

Download from

Additional notes

User commentary

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