UML Class Diagrams in Altova UModel

Altova products have long been recognized for their rich, intuitive user interface. One example is the UModel diagram window, which includes multiple display options for class diagrams to facilitate ease of use and improve information clarity in objected-oriented models. Class diagram style for projects that generate .NET (C# and Visual Basic) application code UModel 2011 Release 3 includes a new option for displaying class diagrams for .NET programmers. If your project will generate source code in .NET programming languages (C# or Visual Basic), your classes may contain .NET properties that can be called from outside like attributes, but are implemented internally as methods. To better organize .NET classes, UModel offers an option to display .NET properties and methods in separate operations compartments inside classes. UML class diagram for .NET This view is an optional setting in the Styles helper window for class diagram display and editing. Choosing to display separate .NET properties compartments or a single traditional UML operations compartment has no influence on code generated from the class.

View or Hide Class Properties and Operations Developers can collapse Properties and Operations compartments using convenient grab handle tools along the right edge. They can also customize the display of classes to show or hide individual class properties and operations. The right-click context menu offers a Visible Elements dialog for any selected class. UML class diagram showing properties and operations

Altova UModel visible elements dialog

This feature lets users simplify the diagram to focus on the properties and operations relevant to the task at hand. Hidden items are indicated by ellipses. UML class diagram with some properties and operations hidden Clicking on an ellipsis re-opens the Visible elements dialog. Options for Interface Notation UModel 2011 supports alternate diagram styles for interfaces between classes. By default, new interfaces are created in class diagram style with arrowhead styles and notations to indicate the interface creator and interface users. In the class diagram below, the developer wants to concentrate on class relationships and interfaces, so all the properties and operations compartments are collapsed. UML class diagram showing interfaces Interfaces have a special Toggle Notation quick-editing button to switch from the class diagram style to the UML ball and socket interface notation. UML class diagram toggle notation helper UML class diagram with alternate interface notation Visibility Icons vs. Mathematical Operators The UModel visibility icons, along with the visibility pull-down menus in the drawing window and properties menu, have been praised because they avoid confusion with common mathematical operators that can also appear in definitions of properties and operations. But users who prefer the traditional view can choose UML Style in the Project Styles helper window. Altova UModel Styles window and traditional visibility notation All the style settings selected to display class diagrams on screen are also applied when rendering project documentation in Word, RTF, or .html formats Find out for yourself how you can improve development of your object-oriented application by customizing the display of class diagrams with Altova UModel – download a free 30-day trial today!

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Service Pack 1 Available

Just a quick note to let customers of Altova Software Version 2011 Release 3 know that Service Pack 1 (v2011r3 SP1) is now available for all Altova products. In addition to bug fixes, SP1 includes important enhancements:  

Support in all XBRL-enabled MissionKit tools for the 2011 US GAAP Financial Reporting Taxonomy. Support for this latest version adds to existing options for working with US GAAP 2009, US GAAP 1.0, and IFRS taxonomies in XMLSpy, MapForce, and StyleVision.

SP1 also provides Firefox® 5 compatibility in the Authentic Browser Plug-in, which adds to recently announced support for Firefox 4 and Internet Explorer® 9 in the WYSIWYG XML and database content editor.

  Please note that v2011r3 SP1 is a new product version (not a patch). All customers with a license for Altova Software v2011r3, as well as any customer with an active Support and Maintenance Package for their Altova product(s), can simply download and install this update.

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Visit the Altova Team at FOSE

clip_image001The Altova trade show season continues as we head to FOSE in Washington, D.C. next week, July 19-21, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. We will be demonstrating the comprehensive support found in the Altova MissionKit for healthcare and financial regulatory standards. If you are looking to build solutions for achieving compliance with HL7, HIPAA, NIEM, or XBRL, we hope you’ll stop by to see us in booth #1428! We’ll be on hand to answer any questions you may have about these topics or the numerous other features added to the latest release of the MissionKit. As always, we would love to hear about what you are working on and what you think of the show. You can also enter our Altova product raffle for a chance to win a license for Altova MapForce 2011 Basic Edition. We hope to see you there! IMG_0576a

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Use Built-In XPath Functions

In developing one of the Altova Online Training courses, I sorted a list of books by the authors. I realized that my author field was a string of the author’s full name, so the books were sorted by the first letter of the string, or the author’s first name. It did not fit into the course to fix the sorting, but you can easily extract the last name from a string and use it for the sorting key using XPath functions. If you then use the books’ titles for a secondary sort key, you run into an issue with titles that start with “A”, “An”, or “The”. I want to use the title for the secondary sort key, but ignore a leading definite or indefinite article.Output the book list with a  sort corrected using XPath expressions Let’s take a look at how we created this XSLT code.

This article was written using XMLSpy as the platform, but the same XPath expressions can be used inside MapForce or StyleVision to achieve similar results. We can start with a simple XML book list. We have 4 books with author and title nodes. List of three books An XSLT to create a list of the books would look like this: Output the book list without a sort This will generate the following output: Unsorted Book List The books are output in the order they appear in the original data file. If we add xsl:sort to the xsl:for-each loop, we can arrange our output in other ways. Output the book list with a basic sort This will generate a sorted list, but not sorted properly. Output from XSL with Basic Sort Sorting author as a string, results in “Jules Verne” appearing ahead of “Mark Twain”. Also, “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court” appears ahead of “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”. We want to ignore the indefinite article, “A”, so that “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” appears ahead of “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court”. We can use XPath expressions to extract the sorting keys we want. Output the book list with a  sort corrected using XPath expressions Let’s examine the code before we look at the output. We replace “author” with “reverse(tokenize(author, ‘ ‘))[1]”. Tokenize breaks the author string into tokens using a single white space as the break point. So, “Jules Verne” is tokenized into “Jules” and “Verne”. Reverse reverses the order of the tokens to “Verne” and “Jules”. The one in square brackets chooses the first item in the list, “Verne”. This is the value that is used in for the xsl:sort function to arrange the books. This is not the perfect solution, but it works in our case. The title looks convoluted, but the logic is straightforward. The “tokenize(title,’ ‘)[1]” expression extracts the first word of the title. So, the first if test is “Is the first word of the title the word “A”? “. If it is, then we return the substring of the title that starts with its third letter, thus eliminating “A” and the space. If the first word of the title is not “A”, then we need to test it again to see if the first word of the title is “The”. If it is, we use the substring of the title starting with its fifth character, thus eliminating “The” and a space. If we fail both tests, then we just pass the title along as the sorting key. We could add another test to our code to see if the first word is “An”, but it is not needed for this data set. Executing this last XSLT, we get the following output. Output from XSL with Corrected Sort “Mark Twain” is now ahead of “Jules Verne”. “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” appears ahead of “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” and “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court”. The flaw in our approach to the author string is that we want “Jules Verne” to be treated as “Verne, Jules” for the sort, so that if we had a book by “Jimmy Verne”, the sort would treat them as different authors. Our code does not. Using “concat(reverse(tokenize(author, ‘ ‘))[1], reverse(tokenize(author, ‘ ‘))[2])” would sort “Jules Verne” and “Jimmy Verne” correctly, but this solution only will work with 2 word names. If an author had a suffix (“Martin Luther King, Jr.”) or multiple words (“George Herbert Walker Bush”), the code would fail. There are many exceptions to the general rules on alphabetizing names, and the code to allow for all variants goes far beyond the scope of this article. What we wanted to show was the ability to manipulate XML data on the fly using XPath expressions. We do not always have complete control on the format of our data sources, but using the power of XPath expressions, we can transform the data into the format that we need. A copy of the files used in these examples is available here.

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The Maryland Association of Certified Public Accountants (MACPA) transforms data to XBRL in-house

What is XBRL and how can it help your organization? Members of the Maryland Association of CPAs (MACPA) found out how using the interactive XBRL (Extensible Business Reporting Language) format can help not only larger, public companies, but also smaller, non-profit organizations like themselves.clip_image004 MACPA invested in the Altova MissionKit tool suite to support their XBRL project. Using our XMLSpy XML editor; MapForce, our graphical data mapping, conversion, and integration tool; and the StyleVision visual stylesheet and report design tool, MACPA was able develop a comprehensive system that employs XBRL data for a variety of reporting functions, both internal and external.
For example, MACPA used the generated instance document from MapForce to populate their financial Key Performance Indicator (KPI) system, significantly reducing the amount of time and effort required to prepare the KPI documentation. XMLSpy was used to extend the US-GAAP taxonomy to accommodate entries specific to MACPA. clip_image002 MapForce also came in handy for mapping the Global Ledger (GL) Taxonomy to the extended GAAP taxonomy. clip_image004 As a result, MACPA has increased its working knowledge of XBRL, automated previously burdensome data collection and transformation tasks, and have gained more insight into their financial data. To read more about how MACPA utilized the Altova MissionKit to convert all their financial data to XBRL and create a model for public and private business of any size to leverage the powers of XBRL, the latest case study from Altova is a must read! Do you have a story to tell about your use of Altova tools? If so, we want to hear from you. Case studies generate great publicity. Check out recent press coverage from the MACPA case study. Plus, if we choose to use your story you will receive a $200 Amazon gift card!

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