How to Debug XSLT and XQuery

Nothing’s more frustrating than getting unintended results from an XSLT or XQuery transformation and having to spend hours tracking down the issue – especially if you’ve inherited the project from another developer or haven’t looked at the code in a few months.  Of course, XMLSpy has long included an XSLT debugger and XQuery debugger for setting break points and stepping through transformations to identify problems.

For a more interactive debugging process, XMLSpy also includes XSLT/XQuery back-mapping.

With back-mapping enabled, you can simply click on or hover over the portion of your output document you want to zero in on, and XMLSpy will immediately highlight the source XML and XSLT or XQuery instruction that is responsible. Let’s see how it works.

Debug XSLT with back-mapping

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MapForce Data Mapping Tutorial (Video)

Altova MapForce is an any-to-any data transformation, conversion, and ETL tool for integrating data.

A graphical data mapping tool, MapForce has an intuitive drag-and-drop interface that lets you easily convert data between any two formats, such as XML, JSON, relational databases, NoSQL databases, EDI, and more. It also features an extensive library of conversion functions that can be chained together to form custom functions that can be reused throughout your projects.

Data translated by MapForce can be pulled to or pushed from a relational or NoSQL database and all data management products, and it can be adapted to customize in-house data management solutions.

The MapForce tutorial video below covers all major features offered by the data integration tool and shows example mappings between several different types of files.

You can try MapForce yourself with a free, 30-day trial.

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Mobile App Themes Improve User Satisfaction

Mobile app themes improve user satisfaction by letting each user customize the app appearance with personal preferences. One way to implement multiple themes in apps that report and visualize data is to offer users a choice of color palettes for charts and graphs. MobileTogether uses a combination of drag-and-drop UI design, the powerful Action Tree visual programming language for event handling, and standardized functional programming for data selection and processing. Developers use MobileTogether every day to create elegant cross-platform apps with rich charts and graphs in all popular formats.

The main chart configuration settings let mobile app developers choose any of four built-in color palettes or even define a custom color palette for charts and graphs as they design an app. Combined with dark mode and light mode display settings, that creates ten colorful possibilities for display customization. Rather than impose a design-time color choice, developers can leverage MobileTogether features to let users choose for themselves. Let’s look at an example.

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Transforming and Converting Protobuf

MapForce supports mapping protocol buffers (Protobuf) to and from other structured data formats as mapping sources or targets. In the constant quest for more efficient ways to transfer, manipulate, and manage large structured data sets, Google has created a language- and platform-neutral data format similar to XML, but smaller, faster, and simpler than even JSON data. Tools are available to generate and work with Protobuf using Java, Python, C++, C#, Ruby, and other programming languages.

The structure of any Protobuf message is defined in a .proto file that defines each field name and value type. Altova MapForce lets users drop these .proto files into a data mapping as a source or target along with any other data, including XML, JSON, relational databases, Excel, flat files, REST and SOAP web services, and others.  .proto files versions 2 and 3 are supported.

A MapForce data mapping creates compatibility between existing XML, JSON, database or legacy data formats and new applications leveraging the efficiency of Protobuf.

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Excel Data Mapping to Update Existing Documents

Excel began life as a simple spreadsheet tool. Over time, support for rich text styling options, built-in charts, and copy and paste formatting features has led many enterprises to create reports in Excel documents. This can cause difficulty when data changes and existing documents need to be manually updated for distribution to a wide audience in the familiar report style.

Altova MapForce, the award-winning, graphical data mapping tool for any-to-any conversion and integration, supports Excel data mapping to convert data to existing Excel documents while preserving styles and formulas in the original.

This feature lets you write directly to nicely formatted Excel files to update data at runtime: any designated worksheets, rows, and cells from the specified file will be replaced with data from the mapping and all formatting in the existing file will be preserved as-is. To protect functionality in the existing spreadsheet, cells with formulas are not overwritten.

Let’s look at an example of how to map Excel data.

Financial pros using XBRL
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How to Compare XML and Other Files

The ability to diff and merge files is a necessity for every developer. This can be especially troublesome when trying to compare differences between files containing structured data, such as XML.

The video tutorial below provides an explanation on how to compare XML files – and more – using both XMLSpy and DiffDog. These powerful utilities perform diff and merge operations in an XML-aware manner, which reduces the number of false positives seen when comparing files.

Compare XML files with XMLSpy

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