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Java Utopia


Java-powered robots, Java mobile phone apps, Java in the cloud, Java running Neil Young’s ’59 Lincoln, a new T-shirt, and photos with Duke! It can only mean the annual pilgrimage to the Moscone Center in San Francisco for JavaOne. XMLSpy and MapForce feature Java code generation and UModel can both generate and reverse engineer Java code. Of course you can use all the Java code you generate with Altova tools royalty free! Check out this YouTube video:

to see and hear a few highlights of JavaOne 2009 and Altova’s presence there.You can also click here to see an interview with Altova’s Technical Marketing Manager filmed at JavaOne by TechTarget.

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Altova at Microsoft Tech Ed 2009


If you missed Microsoft Tech Ed in Los Angeles last week, check out our latest YouTube video for a quick trip to catch up on some of the sights and sounds of the Partner Exhibition. Our team on the scene reported a strong positive response to the XBRL and HL7 functionality in Version 2009 of the Altova MissionKit and many shout-outs from the floor for individual Altova tools — XMLSpy, MapForce, StyleVision, and UModel are all popular in the developer community. IT professionals commonly use DatabaseSpy and DiffDog to efficiently complete everyday database and differencing tasks.

  You can also see a video clip reporting on Altova at Tech Ed at the TechTarget site. Check out the Altova Events page to follow our upcoming show schedule and see where you can meet us live!

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Altova customer Recordare builds MusicXML-based solution


Case Studies

Recordare® is a technology company focused on providing software and services to the musical community. Their flagship products, the Dolet® plugin family, are platform-independent plugins for popular music notation programs, facilitating the seamless exchange and interaction of sheet music data files by leveraging MusicXML. Dolet acts as a high quality translator between the MusicXML data format and other applications, enabling users to work with these files on any conceivable system, including industry leading notation and musical composition applications Finale® and Sibelius®. The list of MusicXML adopters also includes optical scanning utilities like SharpEye or capella-scan, music sequencers like Cubase, and beyond. Dolet increases the MusicXML support in all of these programs and promotes interoperability and the sharing of musical scores. In creating the Dolet plugins, Recordare used Altova’s XML editor, XMLSpy, for editing and testing the necessary MusicXML XML Schemas and DTDs, and the diff/merge tool, DiffDog, for regression testing.

The Challenge

Music interchange between applications had traditionally been executed using the MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) file format, a message transfer protocol that has its roots in electronic music. MIDI is not an ideal transfer format for printed music, because it does not take into account the multitude of notations (e.g., rests, repeats, dynamics, lyrics, slurs, tempo marks, etc.) that convey much of the meaning. MusicXML is an open, XML-based file format specifically created to encapsulate musical notation or digital sheet music data that was built on top of previous formats, MuseData and Humdrum. XML lends MusicXML the power and flexibility to be easily accessed, parsed, rendered, and otherwise manipulated by a wide variety of automated tools, and its general acceptance as a standard makes it an ideal format for scoring using computer technology. Since its original release by Recordare in January of 2004 (version 2.0 was released in June 2007), MusicXML has gained acceptance in the music notation industry with support in over 100 leading products, and is recognized as the de facto XML standard for music notation interchange. These products would not have adopted MusicXML unless it could be used to exchange data with industry-leading applications like Finale and Sibelius. By developing advanced plugins for popular music notation suites, Recordare would be able to deliver to their customers all of the advantages that XML can bring for data exchange and standardization.

The Solution

Below is an example showing the score of the first few measures of Beethoven’s An die ferne Geliebte, Op. 98 as it is written in sheet music: and a small snippet of the same piece translated to MusicXML: The MusicXML-based Dolet 4 plugins for Finale and Sibelius provide a more accurate and usable representation of sheet music than Standard MIDI translation. For example, the images below show the same piece of music. On the left is a Finale 2009 rendering of a MIDI file exported from Sibelius, and on the right is the same application’s interpretation of a MusicXML 2.0 file exported from the same version of Sibelius.
In the MIDI rendition, vital information like chord symbols, lyrics, slurs, articulations, and even title and composer are omitted from the translation. In addition to providing native support for MusicXML, the recently released Dolet 4 for Finale and Dolet 4 for Sibelius plugins enhance the capabilities of these programs by adding advanced features like:

  • Batch translation
  • More accurate and reliable data exchange
  • More formatting control
  • Support for the MusicXML XML Schema (in addition to the DTD)

In developing the plugins, Recordare was subject to specific requirements dictated by the Sibelius and Finale applications. The Sibelius plugin was programmed in ManuScript, and is one of the largest plugins ever written in that language. Finale, on the other hand, requires plugins to have a C++ core, and Recordare implemented this, adding MusicXML logic in Java and a JNI layer to provide the two-way Java/C++ communication. Recordare’s Dolet plugins are now critical aspects of the music preparation process for many television and film scores as well as new music publications. Errors in translation need to be fixed in maintenance updates, while ensuring that no new errors are introduced into these complex translation plugins. Regression testing of the MusicXML file produced by the Dolet plugins is thus an essential part of Recordare’s quality assurance process. Recordare used Altova’s DiffDog in the development of the Dolet plugins. XMLSpy was used to test and edit their DTDs and XML Schemas, and DiffDog for regression testing the MusicXML files produced by the software. Recordare has several regression test suites covering a wide range of musical repertoire, from baroque to hip-hop. DiffDog allows easy differencing of multiple runs of these test suites, including the ability to ignore differences in XML metadata elements such as software version and XML creation date that always change across test cases. Recordare has used Altova’s XMLSpy XML editor to edit the MusicXML DTDs and XML Schemas, starting with the use of XMLSpy 3.5 (released in 2001) to create the earliest alpha and beta versions of the MusicXML DTD. Version 2.0 of MusicXML added a compressed zip version of the format, similar to what is used in other XML applications like Open Office and Open XML. XMLSpy 2008 Enterprise Edition’s comprehensive support for zipped XML files made it easy to test this new feature together with the Dolet for Finale plugin.

A small portion of the extensive MusicXML schema shown in XMLSpy’s graphical XML schema editor

XMLSpy’s support for XQuery has also contributed to Recordare’s regression testing efforts. In response to a customer request, Recordare now exports XML processing instructions from the Dolet for Sibelius plugin when it encounters a musical feature that it is unable to translate correctly. A simple XQuery execution to search for all the processing instructions in the XML files in a given folder lets Recordare check for the presence of these restrictions within each test suite, and then compare the resulting XML files using DiffDog between runs of the test suite. Recently, customer demand led Recordare to develop an XSD version of the MusicXML format. XMLSpy Enterprise Edition was used to develop and test the schemas. Schema validation, schema restriction and extension, and automatically-generated schema documentation were all able to be tested using XMLSpy’s features.

The Results

The Dolet plugins are extensions for common industry software that harness the built-in capabilities of the MusicXML format to make musical scores truly interchangeable across disparate systems and toolsets. These plugins have the capacity to render accurate and meaningful musical notation based on the powerful MusicXML specification. The leading XML Schema editing capabilities in XMLSpy and the strong XML and directory differencing support in DiffDog enabled Recordare to write and polish the MusicXML schemas and perform regression testing on the Dolet plugins. The resulting high quality of the schemas and software has made MusicXML and the Dolet plugins a key element of the toolkit for composers, arrangers, publishers, copyists, and engravers throughout the industry wherever printed music is used. Try XMLSpy, DiffDog, and the other Altova MissionKit tools for yourself with a free 30-day trial.

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Oracle OpenWorld 2008 recap


The Altova team exhibited at Oracle OpenWorld 2008 in San Francisco last week. The exhibit halls were packed, and we were happy to have a steady stream of visitors to our booth. We had the pleasure of talking with many Altova customers as well as other Oracle users and developers interested in Altova XML, database, and UML tools. Of particular interest with this crowd were MapForce and DatabaseSpy, but we talked with lots of folks whose challenges – from publishing XML and database data, to UML modeling, to Web services testing – could be met with other tools across the Altova product line. We also had the opportunity to introduce many visitors to the Altova MissionKit, and people were happy to hear that they could get a full suite of tools and save some money at the same time. Here are a few videos chronicling our trip, including some on-the-spot product demos. The first is a 1-minute bird’s eye tour of downtown San Francisco and the Altova booth in the Moscone West exhibition hall.

Here we learn how to efficiently migrate legacy relational data to a 21st-century XML application using XMLSpy. Bonus Scene: a water feature to improve your Feng Shui.

Finally, this video includes a demo of DatabaseSpy, featuring how to use the Graphical Database Design editor to explore and modify database tables. Bonus Scene: take a ride on a San Francisco cable car!

These were shot live on the floor of the exhibition, as you’ll hear from the enthusiastic crowds in the background, and at other spots around town. Whether you attended the show this year or not, we hope you’ll enjoy our video postcards. Altova’s next exhibit will be at Microsoft PDC in Las Vegas – we hope to see you there!

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White Paper: Reaping the Benefits of pureXML with Altova Tools


The IBM® DB2® data server offers a scalable and reliable information infrastructure that provides seamless integration of XML and relational services. Now with the deep integration of Altova tools and DB2 9, users can query, exchange, transform, and edit their XML artifacts more quickly, easily, and accurately.
Demonstrated using an online brokerage scenario, this white paper shows how the integration of Altova tools with DB2 allows users to:

  • Design and perfect XQuery statements faster, with real-time validation for a faster and more robust design time experience.
  • Preview, edit, and validate XML data stored in the database with just a few clicks
  • Easily manage XML Schemas in the DB2 9 Schema Repository
  • Map XML data from the database to a CSV file or convert it to an HTML table or other format

The solutions to the business problems presented in the white paper show how DBAs and developers working with real-world XML applications can benefit from the integration of Altova tools with IBM DB2 9.
Access the white paper here to read more about these solutions and view screenshots: https://www.altova.com/resources_wp.html#ibm_whitepaper

Get more information about using Altova tools when working with IBM DB2 9 pureXML here: https://www.altova.com/IBM_DB2_9_pureXML.html

Download a free 30-day trial of the Altova MissionKit here: https://www.altova.com/download.html, and see how working with XML-related technologies in DB2 9 is enabled by Altova tools.

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