Updated Industry Schema Library

“The nice thing about standards is that there are so many to choose from.” – Andrew S. Tanenbaum (attr.)

Maybe we can help. Altova’s updated schema library is a collection of over 100 industry and cross-industry XML Schema and DTD specifications – all in one central location. XML standards (and technology standards in general) are used to promote information sharing and interoperability across disparate software and systems. In a perfect world, this would translate to a global network of data being exchanged seamlessly between information partners… in a perfect world. However, there are some industries that are reaping the rewards of standardization, and hopefully these efforts will pave the way for more. Very recently we have seen an increased interest and even some actionable mandates in XBRL for financial data, HL7 for exchanging healthcare messages, and NIEM for inter-agency communication within the United States government. Of course, if you do find yourself working with some conflicting technology standards, you should probably take a look at Altova MapForce. With native support for visually mapping pretty much any data formats you can think of (XML, databases, flat files, EDI, Excel 2007+, XBRL, and Web services), easily adding data processing functions, and a whole bunch of automation options, you may even find that creating data integration solutions is well… kind of fun. Check out Altova’s Industry Schema Library, or download a free 30-day trial of MapForce today!

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Working with XML in Databases

More and more users are storing XML documents in database columns, especially when XML data is sent or received from other entities. Storing data in XML helps enterprises more easily accommodate revisions to industry-standard data formats as XML Schemas evolve over time. One challenge in migrating from a relational database to an XML-oriented database application is developing queries that replace traditional SQL queries of relational data to parse XML documents stored in the database. We recently had an opportunity to address XQuery for XML in databases in a presentation titled Altova Tools for DB2® in a teleconference sponsored by IBM® for the pureXML™ Devotees user group. After an introduction and brief background on Altova, we focused on the special functionality included in XMLSpy to manage XML Schemas in DB2 and to edit XML data stored in DB2. The XMLSpy Database Query Window makes it easy to edit XML database content directly in XMLSpy. XMLSpy_editDB2_blog Altova has built specialized capabilities for deep integration of Altova tools with the DB2 pureXML data server to help customers working with XML, XML Schema, XQuery, and other XML-related technologies. We demonstrated the XMLSpy XQuery editor, XQuery debugger and XQuery profiler, with support for executing XQuery scripts directly against the DB2 database and for the special DB2 xmlcolumn and sqlquery operators. We closed the presentation with a walk-through of the steps a user can take to migrate legacy relational data to an XML-based application, including inferring an XML Schema from relational data in a table in DB2, then importing data from the table and automatically tagging it in XML according to the new XML Schema. We have uploaded a PDF file the slides from the presentation on SlideShare. You can also get a copy at the IBM pureXML Devotees page, where you can listen to the recorded audio as well. The best way to experience for yourself how well the features of XMLSpy, MapForce, StyleVision, and DatabaseSpy work with DB2 and other databases with XML is to click here to download a free trial of the Altova MissionKit.

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Altova Adds to NIEM Support in v2010r3

Clashes between government agencies are the stuff of legends and entire TV shows: the FBI and the CIA, the local sheriff’s department and the big city CSI, Homeland Security and the Pentagon, Jack Bauer and CTU. Perhaps this has to do with the territorial nature of some of these entities, but perhaps, just perhaps, technology has a part to play in these conflicts. Incompatible architectures and data formats, legacy systems, and other technology road blocks within the United States government sometimes made it difficult for agencies to efficiently share pertinent information such as arrest reports, amber alerts, immigration details, and more.
The National Information Exchange Model (NIEM) is an XML-based standard for data exchange between United States government agencies and their information partners. It aims to provide a means for these entities to improve decision making, achieve greater operating efficiency, mitigate risk, improve public safety, and increase ROI through intergovernmental information exchange.
As a leader in XML tools and technologies, the Altova MissionKit already inherently supports NIEM on a variety of different levels. In v2010r3, we added two very specific features to XMLSpy that extend the XML editor with capabilities that are invaluable for NIEM development. For more on these features, see the recent NIEM blog post by our CEO and XML Aficionado, Alexander Falk.
Below is a brief overview of the support provided for NIEM across the MissionKit, from XML Schema editing in XMLSpy, to XMI import and UML diagramming in UModel, to data integration in MapForce, and beyond.


XMLSpy® 2010 provides a graphical schema design interface which simplifies the development of XML Schemas, allowing XML code to be generated in real-time behind the scenes. Users can switch back and forth between this view and text view at any time during their design process.

The graphical schema editor provides built-in support for creating the IEPD Extension Schema, Constraint Schema, and Exchange Schema.


In addition to the broad XML Schema support described above, XMLSpy provides comprehensive support for all other prevalent XML technologies, including:

UML Diagrams

The first stage in any development lifecycle is a thorough business requirements review. UML is particularly well-suited to modeling software projects because it provides a standardized approach to the design process. Scenario-based planning is recommended for NIEM, and though there is no UML diagram requirement, class diagrams, use-case diagrams, and sequence diagrams all provide value to IEPD documentation. In addition, NIEM provides a free tool for mapping data requirements based on an uploaded XMI representation of a UML model
UModel® 2010 is an advanced UML tool that supports all fourteen UML 2.3 diagrams, BPMN, SysML, and more. It works seamlessly with XML technologies like XMI, letting users easily import and export XMI based on their UML diagrams. UModel can even render XML Schemas in a format similar to UML diagrams and integrates seamlessly with all other MissionKit tools including XMLSpy, MapForce, and SchemaAgent. UModel also supports code generation, round-trip engineering, and reverse engineering, as well as integration with the popular Visual Studio and Eclipse IDEs.
UModel can be used two different phases of NIEM development:

  • Scenario Planning – to model and document with use case diagrams, sequence diagrams, and business process modeling
  • Map & Model – to develop class diagrams to create the exchange content model

XML Schema Management

Because of the potential to have many different schemas in each IEPD, XML Schema management can become an arduous process. SchemaAgent® 2010 is a unique file management tool that lets users visually manage their XML Schema, XML, XSLT, and WSDL assets in a project-based environment so that changes and structure of the file configuration can be easily recognized. SchemaAgent users can even view mapping files created using MapForce.


Data Mapping & Exchange

Data mapping is a crucial step at several levels in the NIEM process. Mapping helps users generate a subset schema to determine what elements can be used from the core and domain models, it is also used to perform a transform from one NIEM vocabulary to another. Some NIEM implementations also employ Web services to provide a mechanism for the exchange.
MapForce® 2010 is an any-to-any data mapping and integration tool that supports all of the potential data formats used in the NIEM lifecycle including XML, databases, flat files, Excel 2007+, and Web services. MapForce maps data based on its underlying structure (i.e. XML Schema), enabling mapping designs to be reused for recurrent transformations. MapForce also supports mapping to and from multiple source or target components. In addition, MapForce can be used to generate documentation detailing mapping projects for non-technical stakeholders in a variety of formats such as HTML and Microsoft® Word.


To try out this functionality on your own, download a free 30-day trial of Altova MissionKit now!

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Start your Engines with Release 3 of the Altova MissionKit 2010!

What's New in v2010r3It’s time for another Altova product launch! Adding to the new functionality announced in February’s Release 2 of the Altova MissionKit 2010, Release 3 delivers integration with the recently available Visual Studio® 2010, support for working with NIEM and iXBRL standards, support for mapping data to/from SAP’s IDoc EDI format, and much more. Check out just a few of the highlights below and read all the details on the Altova What’s New page. Release 3 is a free update for all Altova customers with an active Support and Maintenance Package. You can also test drive a free trial that includes all these new features.

Integration with Visual Studio 2010

Multiple Altova tools have long supported seamless integration with Visual Studio, allowing you to use their complete feature set inside the VS environment to access advanced or specialized functionality not available within Visual Studio. These include :

  • XMLSpy XML editor
  • MapForce – data mapping tool
  • StyleVision – stylesheet design tool
  • UModel – advanced UML tool
  • Authentic – XML authoring tool

With Release 3, this functionality has been updated to support Visual Studio 2010, which was released by Microsoft® last month. This adds to previous support for Visual Studio 2005 and 2008.

XMLSpy 2010 Release 3

New functionality includes:

  • Ability to validate naming and coding conventions (extended schema validation)
  • User-defined sample values for XML instance generation
  • Support for Visual Studio 2010

An oft-requested feature, extended schema validation allows you to validate naming and coding conventions outside the scope of the XML Schema standard. This gives you more control over your XML architecture by allowing you to further constrain the way that elements and attributes are created and defined. An example application of this powerful feature is within the National Information Exchange Model (NIEM), though it can be used for any set of rules defined by your organization or project. Extended Schema Validation Another feature implemented based on XMLSpy customer requests is user-defined sample values for XML instance generation. While previous versions of the XML editor supported generation of XML instances using data supplied by XMLSpy, with v2010r3 you can now specify your own sample data so that the generated files will contain arbitrary results selected from pre-supplied values. These new features are very important for users working with NIEM and other standards – and you’ll only find them in XMLSpy. If you happen to be working with NIEM, be sure to read how the Altova MissionKit provides end-to-end support for NIEM, from IEPD development and planning, to the implementation of an exchange.

More R3 Highlights

Here are just a few other highlights from this most recent release across the Altova product line:

MapForce 2010r3

  • MSXML6 for C++ code gen
  • C++ generation for 64-bit systems
  • Support for mapping SAP’s iDocEDI format
  • Integration with Visual Studio 2010
  • And more

StyleVision 2010r3

  • Support for iXBRL
  • Global templates for any element
  • Integration with Visual Studio 2010

UModel 2010r3

  • Integration with Visual Studio 2010
  • Support for C# version 4.0
  • Support for protocol state machine diagrams
  • And more

DatabaseSpy 2010r3

  • Support for inserting and retrieving external files from database binary fields

DiffDog 2010r3

  • Enhancements to child-order functionality during XML-aware diff/merge comparisons

What's new in v2010r3 Check out all the new R3 features and screenshots here, and see how the Altova MissionKit can turbo charge your next development or data integration project!