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SDPublisher is the successor publication system to Anastasia. Like Anastasia, it sees XML as a stream as well as a hierarchy. It is therefore highly suited to processing documents characterized by multiple overlapping hierarchies: showing a book by pages, or by chapters, for example. Like Anastasia, it does not use XSLT, and is based on open source software. However, it is different from Anastasia in almost every other respect. It provides much better support for XML standards; it uses a database to enable dynamic representation of texts (Berkeley DB XML in the default configuration); it is not limited to Apache servers; it uses Python rather than TCL for scripting; it uses the Django framework in Python for elegant and efficient implementation of complex websites.

SDPublisher is built around 'Pixelise', an XML processing engine devised by Andrew West in 2008. Development of Pixelise was taken up by Zeth Green and Peter Robinson, and SDPublisher created around it, in late 2008/early 2009. Version 1.0 was released on May 5, 2009.


  • Uses XML database back-end for dynamic content
  • Optimized for extracting non-hierarchical content streams (e.g., show text by page as well as chapter)
  • Does NOT use XSLT (though you can if you want to)

System requirements

Runs on Macintosh OSX, Windows, Linux. Uses Berkeley DB XML as the default XML database backend, though designed to be implemented with any XML database, or indeed with non-XML databases.

Source code and licensing

Open source. The exact flavour of Open source depends on which database used at the backend. The core components of SDPublisher are Django (BSD licence) and Python (which has its own OSI-approved license terms).

Support for TEI

The demonstration files use TEI documents, and SDPublisher was born and bred with TEI.


All scripting is in Python. Django is used to provide the Web publishing framework: this extends Python by offering a sophisticated HTML templating service. SDPublisher wraps these with XML support, to allow efficient feeding of XML documents through to publication.


HTML documentation is at the SDPublisher 1.0 documentation site. See further the SDPublisher site

Tech support

Peter Robinson and Zeth Green, when we can.

Sample implementations

Watch this space: Virtual Manuscript Room. This will be launched fully on 8 July.

Current version number and date of release

1.0, May 5 2009.

How to download or buy

Download and documentation

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