Today I've started work on a completely new web application for the Despatches project. The first stage has been to get a good working build script; I'm using the one Greg created in the svn/hcmc/utils repo, but I've tweaked it a bit (and recommitted the changes) so that it will include the Scheduler extension, which I think we may use for building OAI files.
I've decided to build this app (initially at least) in the form of an eXist .xar file, so I've been learning how xar files work and how they're built. I've configured the ant build.xml script so that it can update the svn copy of the data and copy that into the xar file from the original svn location, excluding certain files. This is a good start, and it means we should be able to create an easily-updated, easily-deployed version of the webapp for testing with new builds of eXist as we move forward with the rewrite. There's a lot of stuff from the standard xar setup that I'm not going to follow, and I definitely won't be using any of the templating stuff, but I see no reason not to use the basic xar deployment functionality.
I'm also going to reconfigure the SVN file structure a little too, to make it more friendly for XQuery targetting the despatches. I'll move the "year" directories into a single "despatches" directory.