Those who've been reading my XML tips over the past 5 years will have noted that I keep coming back to the various XML developer tools from Altova from time to time. The company has a brand-new 2006 edition of its XML program suite, so the time seems appropriate to talk about what's inside, what's new and what kinds of packages the company builds around its XML technologies.
For those not already in the know, Altova has long offered its XMLSpy editing and document design tool, for which a free home edition is available to anyone interesting in playing with and learning more about this great tool. That package acts as the cornerstone for the Altova XML Suite 2006. Differences between the Professional and Enterprise flavors of XMLSpy also set the tone for the differences in functionality between the Enterprise and Professional versions for the entire suite. Suffice it to say that the two packages are nearly identical, except that Enterprise includes support for Web services (SOAP client, debugger, graphical WSDL editor, WSDL validation and auto-generation of WSDL documentation), as well as code generation for Java, C#, VS.NET, Borland C# Builder, Mono and C++, whereas the professional version does not.
Other elements in the Altova XML Suite 2006 currently include the following items:
- MapForce 2006: A data integration and Web services implementation tool that converts data on the fly and autogenerates data mapping code in multiple programming languages. It handles arbitrary combinations of XML documents, database contents, text files and /or EDI files to build Web services by mapping data between WSDL operations. As noted above, this tool is much more limited in the Professional than in the Enterprise version of the suite.
- StyleVision 2005r4: An electronic forms, database reporting and stylesheet designer that lets developers easily transform XML and database content into HTML, PDF and Word/RTF formats. Supports XSLT 1.0/2.0, XSL:FO and all major databases.
- SchemaAgent 2006: A tool for modeling and managing advanced schemas and related components using a visual programming approach. Also permits XML Schema relationships to be visualized and graphical construction of complex schemas using distributed schema elements.
- SemanticWorks 2006: A brand-new visual RDF/OWL editor that supports graphical design of Semantic Web instance documents, vocabularies and ontologies that can then be output in RDF/XML or N-triples format. Includes tabs for classes, properties, instances and more, along with context-sensitive entry helpers and automatic format checking.
An update to StyleVision, to be named StyleVision 2006, is planned to ship later this year. Those who buy Altova XML Suite 2006 will receive an upgrade to that new version of this tool at no charge as soon as it becomes available.
The Professional version of Altova XML Suite 2006 costs $740 for a single license, plus $185 for a year's worth of software maintenance and updates. The Enterprise version costs approximately twice as much, or $1,490 for a single license, plus $372.50 for a year's worth of maintenance and updates. Discounts get progressively deeper as the number of licenses purchased goes up and special volume licenses are available to customers in need of more than 50 licenses for this package.
About the author
Ed Tittel is a full-time writer and trainer whose interests include XML and development topics, along with IT Certification and information security topics. E-mail Ed at email@example.com with comments, questions or suggested topics or tools for review.