XBRL Validation and Processing Tools


When we were designing RaptorXML Server, we knew from the get-go that the engine should support XML and XBRL standards. The former standard is ubiquitous and the latter will be, as well, given increasing mandates from governments worldwide as well as adoption by enterprises for analyzing financial data in a standards-based, cost-effective manner. However, we knew that at this time a sub-set of customers would be interested in the XBRL capabilities of the engine, so we created two versions: RaptorXML Server and RaptorXML+XBRL Server.

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Let’s take a look at some of the powerful XBRL-oriented features in RaptorXML+XBRL Server.
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RaptorXML is here!


Altova RaptorXMLWe are thrilled to announce general availability of RaptorXML®, Altova’s third-generation XML and XBRL processing engine, for download and purchase.
Named for the dinosaur famous for its incredible speed and agility, RaptorXML provides blazing-fast validation and processing of XML, XSLT, XQuery, and XBRL data. Because it’s optimized for parallel computing on multi-core, multi-CPU machines, RaptorXML can scale quickly based on the amount of data you need to process.

Interface Options

In addition to numerous hyper-performance features and strict standards conformance, RaptorXML offers flexible implementation options for developers. These include command line operations, Java and COM APIs, a Python interface, and a built-in HTTP server. The built-in HTTP server allows RaptorXML to be integrated into SOA infrastructures and accept validation jobs, XSLT transformation jobs, etc., submitted via HTTP by other services or client applications.

Workflow Integration

RaptorXML may also be run as a component of Altova FlowForce Server, which provides a user-friendly Web interface for managing workflows based on customizable time or event triggers. This way you can automate validation or XSLT processing jobs based on a variety of triggers, or even pipeline RaptorXML jobs into multi-step processes utilizing MapForce Server and StyleVision Server that start with data aggregation, validation, and conversion and end with multi-channel report generation. The possibilities are many.

Product Options

There are two versions of RaptorXML available:

– RaptorXML Server supports validation and processing of: XML 1.0 & 1.1, XInclude 1.0, Xlink 1.0, XML Schema 1.0 & 1.1, XPath 1.0, 2.0 & 3.0, XSLT 1.0, 2.0 & 3.0 (subset), XQuery 1.0 & 3.0, and more.

– RaptorXML+XBRL Server supports all the features of RaptorXML Server, with the addition of processing and validating the XBRL family of standards: XBRL 2.1, XBRL Dimensions, XBRL Formula 1.0, XBRL Functions, and XBRL Definition Links.

A note to current customers of AltovaXML Reporting Edition: As Altova’s third generation XML processing engine, RaptorXML Server replaces AltovaXML, which is being discontinued. To help existing AltovaXML Reporting Edition customers transition to the new engine and get the full value from their Support and Maintenance Package (SMP), Altova is offering all AltovaXML Reporting Edition customers with current SMP an additional license for RaptorXML Server for the remaining duration of their SMP at no cost. In fact, the value of this new RaptorXML license is significantly higher than the list price of AltovaXML. The RaptorXML Server license is for four cores and can be used in addition to the AltovaXML Reporting Edition license you currently have. To upgrade visit this page.

Free Trial


RaptorXML: XML and XBRL processor RaptorXML Server and RaptorXML+XBRL Server are available for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS, and you can download a free trial for your preferred OS.

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Announcing RaptorXML, the Hyper-fast XML and XBRL Server


  clip_image001We are very excited to be at the XBRL 26 Conference in Dublin, Ireland today to announce a brand new server product in the Altova family of XML and XBRL tools! Altova RaptorXML is a hyper-fast XML and XBRL validation and processing server. It’s Altova’s third-generation XML and XBRL engine, built completely from scratch to help organizations efficiently validate, process, transform, and query the vast and ever-increasing amounts XML and XBRL data being generated as a result of XBRL compliance regulations and myriad other big data trends. RaptorXML is written to be highly scalable for today’s multi-CPU and multi- core computers and servers. This, along with high performance code optimizations and an extremely low memory footprint, has helped make RaptorXML a lightning-fast XML and XBRL server that can meet the demands of today’s data processing applications. Simply put: we architected RaptorXML to combine the performance benefits afforded by modern parallel computing environments with strict compliance to the latest versions of all relevant XML and XBRL standards. RaptorXML includes support for the very latest versions of all relevant standards and has been submitted to rigorous regression and conformance testing. The server will be available in two versions, both of which are available for Windows, Linux, and MacOS platforms. RaptorXML Server supports validation and processing of:

  • XML 1.0 & 1.1
  • XInclude 1.0
  • Xlink 1.0
  • XML Schema 1.0 & 1.1
  • XPath 1.0, 2.0 & 3.0
  • XSLT 1.0, 2.0 & 3.0 (subset)
  • XQuery 1.0 & 3.0
  • And more

RaptorXML+XBRL Server supports all the features of RaptorXML Server, with the addition of processing and validating the XBRL family of standards:

  • XBRL 2.1
  • XBRL Dimensions
  • XBRL Formula 1.0
  • XBRL Functions
  • XBRL Definition Links

Developers creating solutions using Altova MissionKit XML development and XBRL development tools will be able to power their server applications with RaptorXML for hyper-performance, increased throughput, and efficient memory utilization, giving them the opportunity to validate and process large amounts of XML or XBRL data cost-effectively.  Check out the complete list of supported XML and XBRL standards and more details on this groundbreaking new server product. RaptorXML will be available to download and purchase in May. clip_image003

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New Case Study: Automating XBRL Data Collection and Processing


Case studies are a great way to see how other organizations use Altova® technologies to develop unique projects that meet their business goals. We’re often asked, however, what comes next. Did the project take off? Has it grown since the case study was published?

We’re happy to bring you a follow up to a case study we published last year about the not-for-profit Maryland Association of Certified Public Accountants (MACPA).
In the original case study, MACPA converted General Ledger and other financial data from siloed systems into XBRL – in house and on a budget – with the Altova MissionKit®. At that point, they were mapping the XBRL file to multiple external targets, including an Excel spreadsheet used to feed their Key Performance Indicators (KPI) system. (You can read the original XBRL case study here.)

Since that time, they’ve built on the foundation they created and developed a business intelligence dashboard driven by the XBRL files they generate in MapForce®. They used Altova FlowForce®, an application designed to automate the execution of MapForce data transformations and other tasks on servers, virtual machines, and workstations, to automate the XBRL data collection and processing. Now the most recent data is available across the entire organization for custom reporting.

You can read the follow-up to the original XBRL case study here.

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Read more about how they did it. Read more…

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Case Study: Altova Customer Succeeds with XBRL


XBRL is mandated for most public companies. So why are private organizations and non-profits jumping on the bandwagon? This case study examines a real-world success story. clip_image002   We were really excited when the folks at MACPA told us about their success working with XBRL. They set out to discover if XBRL could be used successfully (without a huge upfront investment) by small businesses and NPOs and ended up confirming not only that, but realizing benefits to their internal financial processes, as well.

Toward Ubiquitous XBRL

With close to 10,000 members, the Maryland Association of Certified Public Accountants (MACPA) is often looked to for their expertise on issues relevant to the field of accounting. The US Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) mandate that public companies submit financial data in XBRL is one of those issues. Despite the potential of XBRL for reducing costs and increasing efficiency, many organizations are concerned about the time and expense that will be required to convert all of their financial data into XBRL, a process that can be further complicated when financial data is housed in multiple systems. MACPA set out to prove that these obstacles are easily surmountable: with the right tools, it’s possible to bring XBRL transformation in-house to not only comply with mandates, but realize greater efficiencies and transparency in various scenarios. In the process they discovered that tagging data in XBRL is valuable to private entities and non-profits as well as public companies facing a mandate. They took advantage of widely available XBRL software tools including the Altova MissionKit, which interfaces with multiple relational databases for XBRL mapping, tagging, and reporting.   clip_image003   In the end, the project turned MACPA’s financial data into a force for driving efficiencies and accountability. Once their internal accounting data was mapped to XBRL, they were able to automate burdensome data collection, transformation, and analysis tasks to gain more insight into their financial data. For instance, MACPA used their XBRL data to populate their financial Key Performance Indicator (KPI) system, significantly reducing the amount of time and effort required to prepare the KPI documentation. This in turn enables them to run the system at more frequent intervals. They are also now able to automate previously onerous tax filing tasks by mapping the association’s financial data in XBRL to the 990 tax return. (With almost 1.5 million exempt organizations in the US filing hundreds of thousands of Form 990s each year, the efficiency gained by using XBRL could be significant.)

“Ubiquitous XBRL could do for accounting/taxation what barcodes did for retail.” – Skip Falatko, MACPA Director of Finance and Administration

This project not only enabled MACPA to learn about XBRL and advise their members, but also to automate and enhance the way they dealt with their own financial data. And utilizing affordable tools like the Altova MissionKit confirmed that handling XBRL in-house is the way to go.

“Why outsource tagging [your data in XBRL]? If you tag it in house, then you own the data and can use it in myriad different ways as a productivity tool.” – Tom Hood, MACPA CEO and Executive Director  

Check out the complete case study to learn how MACPA brought XBRL transformation in-house to effect changes in efficiency and transparency. If you’re an accounting or technical professional who needs to learn more about XBRL, Altova offers free, self-paced online training and an educational XBRL whitepaper.

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Leverage Your Financial Data with the XBRL Chart Wizard–Part 2


Extensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL) is an XML-based language for reporting and exchanging financial data that’s making inroads across the globe. In fact the US Securities and Exchange Commission now requires public companies to submit financial data in XBRL format.Altova’s MissionKit, a suite of our most popular software, supports XBRL tagging via XMLSpy and MapForce as well as XBRL rendering via StyleVision. With StyleVision you can create sophisticated financial reports including charts and tables based on XBRL instance files. image This is the second post in our two part series on StyleVision’s XBRL chart capabilities. In our last post we showed you how to call the XBRL Chart Wizard and create pie charts. This time we’ll show you how to create bar charts and line charts. Bar Charts Bar charts are the ideal vehicle for comparing groups of objects or visualizing change from one period to another. Here we’ve used the XBRL Chart Wizard to create a bar chart comparing Current Assets to Current Liabilities from the third quarters of two consecutive years. After invoking the XBRL Chart Wizard as we did in the very first step, we select Current Assets and Current Liabilities in the Concepts tab and place it in the Series pane so that these amounts will be reflected on the Y or vertical axis. clip_image001 Now we click the ellipses in the Period tab in the Categories pane to bring up the Period Properties dialog box. Assets and Liabilities are measured at specific points in time and so we have checked the Show instant periods box. We’ve also filtered the data using XPath so that only assets and liabilities at the end of the third quarter (which ends in August) appear. Finally we add a dynamic label that combines “Q3” with the year using XPath. clip_image002 In addition to the bar chart, we’d like to include the Quick Ratio, a measure that indicates whether an organization has enough readily liquidated resources to cover outstanding financial obligations. The Quick Ratio is simply Current Assets divided by Current Liabilities. We’ve added an auto calculation and used XPath to divide Current Assets by Current Liabilities for all time periods in the XBRL instance document. Below is the design view of our bar chart and auto calculation, including the XPath. clip_image003 The HTML output appears below. However we can also render the design in RTF, PDF, and Word 2007+. clip_image004 Line Charts A line chart has a line connecting discrete points plotted on a graph and is typically used to track how financial and other data varies over time. In this example we’ve created a line chart to track two concepts – costs / expenses and revenue – over a four year period. Just as we did for the pie chart and bar chart, we’ve dragged a concept (here, Revenues) from the Schema Tree into the design window and invoked the XBRL Chart Wizard. Likewise, once the Chart Wizard opens, we clicked on the ellipses on the Concepts tab in the Series pane to bring up the Concept Properties dialog box, where we selected the Costs and Expenses concept. Costs and Expenses will now appear on the chart along with Revenues. Our XBRL file includes both instance and duration time periods so in the Period Properties dialog box below (invoked by clicking on the ellipses in the Period tab in the Categories pane) we’ve selected only duration periods, or those with a start and end date. We will now use XPath to filter the data. We’ll create a variable $altova:duration that translates the difference in number of days between the start and end dates of the period into the number of months and then selected data where that variable is equal to three (equivalent to a fiscal quarter). We’ve also used XPath to create a dynamic label combining Q3 with the year. clip_image005 Because our line chart is visualizing changes in revenue and costs and expenses over time, we have used the Sort function in the Period Properties dialog box above so that the data appear chronologically. clip_image006 Although the appearance of the chart (e.g., colors, labels, and visibility of tick marks and axis values) can be controlled with the All Settings button in the Chart Settings section of the XBRL Chart Wizard dialog box, it can also be controlled with XPath via the Dynamic XPath Settings button under Chart Settings (below). clip_image007 This feature provides tremendous flexibility not only in managing appearance but in managing the contents of the chart. Among the many things you can do with XPath are controlling output based on conditions and adding a dynamic title that includes the time period reflected as we’ve done here. Once you click the Dynamic XPath Settings button in the XBRL Chart Wizard dialog box (above), the Dynamic XPath Settings dialog box is invoked (below). clip_image008 Clicking the ellipses next to the property that you want to edit in the Dynamic XPath Settings dialog box (above) brings up the Edit XPath Expression dialog box (below). Here we’ve used XPath to concatenate a string (“Revenues / Costs and Expenses”) with the first and last years in the period we identified in the Period Properties dialog box earlier. clip_image009 The XPath expression entered here will overrule the settings in the Change Appearance and XBRL Chart Wizard dialog boxes – notice in the chart (here rendered in HTML) includes the dynamic title that we built with XPath rather than the title in the XBRL Chart Wizard Dialog Box. clip_image010 As we’ve shown here, the XBRL Chart Wizard provides developers and designers with a highly flexible tool for visualizing XBRL data. With XBRL’s place in the international technology sector firmly established, the ability to leverage XBRL data to support strategic decision making is key. There are a number of different types of companies that are discovering the strategic value of XBRL. Our XBRL case study describes how the Maryland Association of CPAs streamlined their tax reporting and benchmarking processes with XBRL. This case study is a great resource for anyone interested in learning how to leverage this data with Altova software tools.

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Have you created something really great with the XBRL Chart Wizard? Or developed an interesting project using StyleVision or another of our tools? Please share your story with other Altova users by commenting on this blog post. Think it would make a great case study? Email us at marketing@altova.com – if we choose to use your story you’ll receive a $200 Amazon gift card as well as some free press for you and your organization. We’d love to hear from you!

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Leverage Your Financial Data with the XBRL Chart Wizard–Part 1


Extensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL), an XML-based language for financial data, is increasingly being used by both public and private organizations across the globe – in fact it is mandated for some companies in countries including the United Kingdom and the United States. Altova provides comprehensive support for XBRL tagging and XBRL reporting with the MissionKit, a suite of our most popular software. Among the MissionKit tools is StyleVision, a graphical stylesheet designer and report builder, which can be used to support a host of internal reporting and analysis activities for companies that use XBRL. clip_image001 In the next post we’ll focus on StyleVision’s XBRL Chart Wizard, a powerful XBRL visualization tool that can turn your XBRL-tagged financial data into powerful charts and graphs – if a picture is worth 1,000 words then StyleVision is worth its weight in gold. Calling the XBRL Chart Wizard You invoke the XBRL Chart Wizard as you do the XBRL Table Wizard and other StyleVision capabilities. Once you’ve started a design by selecting New – New from XBRL Taxonomy from the File menu and selected a taxonomy and working XBRL file, all concepts are populated to the Schema Tree. From here you simply select a concept from the XBRL taxonomy in the Schema Tree and drag it into the design window. For this example we’ll be using the Carnival Corporation quarterly report for 2009 that they have published with the SEC, but you can apply the same techniques to any XBRL instance document – be it a publicly available filing with the SEC or an internally generated XBRL file. As a first step, we will look at how the revenues are composed by creating a pie chart that shows the revenue breakdown. Here we’ve dragged the Revenues concept (highlighted in the Schema Tree in the left sidebar) into the design window and selected Create XBRL Chart.   clip_image003   Once you select Create XBRL Chart the XBRL Chart Wizard dialog box will open automatically.   clip_image004   Once you click the ellipses in the corner of the Concepts tab in the Series pane, the Concept Properties dialog box (below) will open and you can select concepts to appear in the chart. Carnival Corp breaks out revenues for their cruises between Passenger tickets and the Onboard and other. We will select those two concepts, and also the Other category to capture all elements that make up the total revenues.   clip_image005 Pie Charts Pie charts are useful when you wish to see the relative contribution of individual elements to the whole. Placing Onboard and other, Other Sales Revenue Net, and Passenger Tickets in a pie chart provides us with a visual representation of the relative contributions of each source of income to total revenue. We are now ready to make changes in the XBRL Chart Wizard dialog box so that our pie chart reflects the information we need in a format conducive to strategic decision making. First we must change the chart type under Chart Settings from Bar Chart to Pie Chart 3D via the Change type… button, which brings up the Change Type dialog box (below).   clip_image006   In pie charts, the concepts that will form the segments of the pie (in this instance the Onboard and other, Other Sales Revenue Net, and Passenger Tickets concepts that we selected above) are placed in the Categories pane and the values in the Series pane. Therefore we will need to move the Concepts tab to the Categories pane and the Period tab to the Series pane. We’d like to segment the revenue data from the XBRL file based on quarter. We do this by dragging the User-Defined Grouping (by Quarter) tab from the Available pane to the Categories pane. We’ll make the necessary changes in this tab in the next step. We will also check the Remove empty categories and Remove empty series boxes so that a value or label will not be generated if no data exists and change the size of the chart to 350 pixels x 350 pixels in the Chart Settings section of the XBRL Chart Wizard dialog box. After we make these changes, the dialog box looks like this:   clip_image007   Now we are ready to select the data that appears in the chart. First we’ll segment the data by quarter. We invoke the User-defined Grouping Properties dialog box pictured below by clicking the ellipses in the corner of the User-defined Grouping (by quarter) tab in the Categories pane. The grouping feature provides you with maximum flexibility by allowing you to segment data based on variables identified in the taxonomy (e.g., reporting period, geographical area, division). Now we can use XPath in the Group By field to group the data by quarter, filter it based on the group we created (in this example only the second quarters will appear in the chart), and add a dynamic label. We want the chart to reflect all second quarter data for each of the revenue concepts we selected so we toggle Do not filter under Group key filter.   clip_image008   We can further filter the data by clicking on the ellipses on the Period tab in the Series pane to bring up the Period Properties dialog box. Here we’ve selected only duration periods (i.e., those with a start date and end date – instant periods have a single date reflecting the date that the “snapshot” was taken) and filtered based on year. In this example only data from the second quarter of 2009 will appear in the chart.   clip_image009   Finally we can fine tune the chart’s appearance by clicking on the All Settings tab under Chart Settings, which brings up the Change Appearance dialog box. Here we’ve opted to show the concept labels, values, and percent of total. We can also select color schema, chart size, font types and sizes for each section of the chart (e.g., chart title, labels, legend), and background colors.   clip_image010   After making all of these changes we hit OK in the XBRL Chart Wizard dialog box and the pie chart reflecting these changes is created. Please note that after the chart is created you can go back and edit the chart settings.   clip_image011   As you can see, the biggest source of revenues is Passenger tickets, which produced 75.02% of total revenues for Carnival Corp in the second quarter of 2009. As is the case with all StyleVision designs, output can be rendered in HTML, RTF, PDF, and Word 2007+ formats and an XSLT stylesheet for each format is automatically generated. And this was just one example of what kind of data you can extract from an XBRL filing and visualize in a chart. Next week we’ll look at creating bar charts and line charts from XBRL financial data. clip_image022 Have you created something really great with the XBRL Chart Wizard? Or developed an interesting project using StyleVision or another of our tools? Please share your story with other Altova users by commenting on this blog post. Think it would make a great case study? Email us at marketing@altova.com – if we choose to use your story you’ll receive a $200 Amazon gift card as well as some free press for you and your organization. We’d love to hear from you!