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MissionKit 2011 Now Available in Japanese


With the release of Version 2011 we are thrilled to bring you the Altova MissionKit in Japanese. Now all the Altova tools available in the MissionKit have been fully translated into Japanese. Like the English and German versions of the tool suite, the fully translated Japanese language version provides users with powerful functionality for XML and Web development, data mapping and integration, rendering and publishing of XML, XBRL, and database data, UML modeling, and more. All the tools available in the new Japanese language version of The MissionKit are available at the same cost as the English versions, and current Version 2011 users can now unlock any language version using their existing key code. missionkit_jp If you haven’t checked out our latest release – Version 2011, download a free, 30-day trial today! The Japanese language version of all the MissionKit tools can be purchased from the Altova Online Shop or through your preferred reseller.

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A Developer’s Life is Never Simple


Earlier this month in our blog post on Comparing XML Schemas we showed a realistic – but simplified – example to illustrate a slick new feature of DiffDog 2010 to compare XML Schemas and update corresponding XML data files by generating XSL transformations.
A real-life XML developer’s project is rarely as small and straightforward as the example we used. In this post we will take a look at some typical complications developers face every day and how the Altova MissionKit cuts through complexity to enhance productivity.
Longer XML Schemas and Larger Mappings
Your XML Schemas are not likely to be as short and simple as the ones in our earlier post, and you will likely want to save your work while you are mapping your XML Schema migration. DiffDog lets you save your mapping in an XML Schema comparison file that you can reload later to continue your work, or to share with a colleague.
DiffDog Save XML Schema Comparison dialog
If you need to compare two XML Schemas on a regular basis, the XML Schema Comparison Document can be a valuable time saver.
Embedded XML Schema Assignment
The screen shot below shows the XML data file from our original example with one important difference. In this version the story element includes an embedded reference to the XML Schema on line 2.
XMLSpy XML Editor view
When we transform this file with the simple XSLT we created in DiffDog, the new XML data file will not include the updated XML Schema reference. In our earlier blog post embedded XML Schema references weren’t an issue because we used the XMLSpy Project / Properties menu option to assign default XML Schemas for each folder.
If there are many XML data files to transform, and they require embedded XML Schema references, we can take advantage of an additional feature of MapForce. We can export our mapping from DiffDog to MapForce, as we did in the earlier post, and then use the Component Settings dialog for the MapForce output component to include the XML Schema reference.
MapForce Component Settings dialog
Document Your Work
Developers can lose productivity trying to retrace history when a project needs additional work months or even years after an early iteration. The MapForce Generate Documentation feature can help us avoid this frustrating experience.
MapForce will document the mapping of each element in the XML Schemas in Microsoft Word, RTF, or HTML formats. Regardless which format we choose, the resulting document is an excellent stand-alone project artifact, or it can be further edited and included in a larger report.
MapForce Generate Documentation dialog
We can even combine the MapForce mapping documentation with full descriptions of each version of the XML Schema generated with the XMLSpy XML Schema Editor documentation feature.
Source/Version Control
Source/version control systems let teams of developers work closely together on the same project without a risk of overwriting each others’ changes. Because a version of the source code is saved at each stage of the design process, it is very easy to look at or revert to an earlier version when needed.
Altova has implemented the Microsoft Source Code Control Interface (MSSCCI) v1.1 – v1.3 in XMLSpy and tested support for many popular source control systems, so we can manage the files in our XML Schema evolution project across the development enterprise. Additionally, DiffDog can be integrated with source control systems as the default comparison tool. DiffDog can even generate differences report files in a variety of formats.
See for yourself how the tools in the Altova MissionKit can cut through the complexity of your own XML, Web Services, data integration, XML publishing, XBRL, and UML modeling development projects – download a free 30-day trial!

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Comparing XML Schemas with DiffDog 2010


DiffDog 2010 includes a powerful new tool to compare XML Schemas that XML developers and others can use to update existing XML data files as XML Schemas evolve. This post takes a look at an example scenario for this feature.Before we drop into the new functionality, let’s take a quick look at two XML Schemas using the DiffDog File Compare feature. Of course, just like in previous versions, DiffDog 2010 users can compare XML Schemas as .xsd documents and display differences in a color-coded, XML-aware format.DiffDog file comparison view of XML Schemas This is a good way to identify and manage differences in XML Schemas, especially when you want to review revisions to industry-standard XML Schemas that evolve over time.What’s new in DiffDog 2010 is an additional XML Schema Differencing option that graphically displays two XML Schemas side by side, identifies identical elements automatically, and lets users map differences and generate XSL transformations to update XML data files.Here’s our first view when we open the same two XML Schemas shown in the file comparison above, using the new XML Schema Differencing feature.Initial DiffDog XML Schema Differencing view of XML Schemas The root elements of the two XML Schemas are automatically connected. We can click the Compare button in the toolbar to automatically connect identical elements in the two XML Schemas.DiffDog XML Differencing (Of course we could also select Compare XML Schemas from the right click context menu, or choose Start Comparison from the Diff and Merge menu, or press the F5 keyboard shortcut – DiffDog gives you many options to perform the same task, so you can work the way you like.)Next, we can map elements with different names in the two XML Schemas by manually connecting the pointer arrows between them. In this example most of the changes to the version of the XML Schema on the right simply give elements new names that will be more clear when the XML Schema and its data files are distributed through our enterprise.User-mapped XML Schemas in DiffDog XML Schema Differencing view When all the elements are mapped, we can generate an XSLT file to transform existing XML data files based on the XML Schema on the left to reflect revisions in the newer version on the right. This feature is designed to rescue XML developers from the tedious tasks of writing and debugging XSL transformations by hand.DiffDog Diff and Merge Menu Here is an example of an original XML data file based on the XML Schema on the left side, as viewed in Altova XMLSpy:XML data file viewed in XMLSpy The output file after applying the XSL transformation we created with DiffDog 2010 appears below. Note the substitution of the author element for writer, email for feedback, and so on.XSL output viewed in XMLSpy If there are many existing XML files that need to be transformed, the Project Management features of XMLSpy can help us automate the process. We can add external folders to an XMLSpy project.XMLSpy Project Helper Window Using the XMLSpy properties dialog for each project folder, we can assign default values to assign an XML Schema for validation, the XSL transformation, and the destination of the output.XMLSpy project folder properties dialog Now we can select the input folder in the XMLSpy Project helper window and transform all the files in it with the single-keystroke F10 shortcut.When we originally mapped the XML Schema elements in DiffDog, we left the publication element on the left side unconnected, since it had no corresponding element in the earlier version of the schema. That means when we transform XML input files using the XSLT, the resulting output will not contain the publication element. If publication is a required element, we can call on Altova MapForce for a quick solution.One of the options in DiffDog is to generate a MapForce mapping rather than XSLT. When we choose this option, MapForce launches with our DiffDog mapping already loaded as a new MapForce design, as shown below.MapForce New Design It’s easy to enhance the mapping by adding a constant as a default value for the publication element.MapForce enhanced design Now we can save an XSL file from MapForce that reuses all the element mappings we originally designed in DiffDog and adds the constant. When we apply the new XSL to transform our original XML data file, we get a result that includes the default value for the publication element.Final version of output viewed in XMLSpy This post started by describing the new XML Schema Comparison feature in DiffDog 2010. Fleshing out a simple – but typical – real-world example quickly highlighted additional tasks easily completed by taking advantage of tight integration with XMLSpy and MapForce.All three of these tools and more are available at substantial savings in the Altova MissionKit 2010, the integrated suite of XML, database, and UML tools designed to meet the diverse development and data management needs of today’s software architects and XML developers. Click here to download a free trial today!

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NYC & Company Case Study


Overview NYC & Company is the official marketing, tourism and partnership organization for the five boroughs of New York City. Its mission is to maximize travel and tourism opportunities, build economic prosperity, and spread the dynamic image of New York City around the world. In 2008-2009, the company initiated a major rebranding, redefining their Web presence and launching an interactive multi-media center in Midtown Manhattan. At the center of this transformation, NYC & Company used development tools from the Altova MissionKit – UModel, DiffDog, DatabaseSpy, and XMLSpy. The NYC & Company Web site and Information Center was created together with online powerhouses as Google and Travelocity, reservation sites like Open Table, content providers Time Out, Greenopia.com, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, and more. The Challenge As the single organization responsible for meeting the marketing and tourism needs of the city of New York, NYC & Company has been tasked with meeting Mayor Bloomberg’s January 2006 State of the City goal of luring 50 million visitors by the year 2015 – up from an estimated 43 million in 2006. A large part of the effort behind this push would be manifested in a general Web site rebrand/redesign coupled with the creation of an interactive visitor center. NYC & Company chose to use existing tools and technologies as much as possible, leveraging their ColdFusion Web site architecture, the Eclipse software development platform, a SQL Server 2005 backend, and the Altova MissionKit. A new content management system was also implemented to manage the large amounts of data and associated workflow. The Solution The NYC & Company Web site redesign included a migration from nycvisit.com, which followed a typical convention and visitor bureau site structure, to the much more animated and multi-faceted nycgo.com, a design that promotes the dynamic nature of the resources available and of the city itself. clip_image001 nycvisit.com on 26 February 2008 clip_image003 nycgo.com on 22 May 2009 UML Modeling The new design components were drawn out as a UML class diagram, expanding on the data model that was created for the live Web site. NYC & Company used Altova UModel to map out the physical structure of nycgo.com, importing their XML Schema definition to ensure adherence to formatting rules. The class diagram was used to represent the new Web site structure at a high level, and to model the objects that needed to be built into NYC & Company’s content management system (CMS). UML design in UModel also enabled the company to generate documentation so that the developers could share the UI design with those not familiar with the intricacies of UML. clip_image004 UModel UML Class Diagram of the nycgo Web site NYC & Company then worked with third party design vendor, HUGE, Inc., to further analyze the UML wire frames and predict user interaction scenarios for the nycgo Web site. Dynamic code was then delivered in JSP, implemented on JRun then subsequently converted to ColdFusion. Code Differencing NYC & Company chose to migrate their JSP templates to ColdFusion 8 for its rapid application development capabilities, rich feature set, and intrinsic simplicity. DiffDog, Altova’s diff/merge tool, was an integral part of the development process, helping the development team to ensure that the ColdFusion code was in line with the original JSP. NYC & Company could easily recognize and reconcile any crucial differences using DiffDog’s straightforward text comparison interface. diffdog2 JSP/CFM code differencing in DiffDog Database Migration As part of their rebranding effort, NYC & Company successfully migrated their data from SQL Server 2000 to SQL Server 2005. NYC & Company used Altova DatabaseSpy to connect to the database, structure queries, and for database analysis. They also use the integrated SQL Editor to test their more complex SQL queries. This enabled them to do their database management and testing in-house, with non-technical and even non-DBA team members assembling complex SQL scripts with features such as auto-completion, syntax color coding, automatic formatting, and refactoring. Building Out the Content Management System NYC & Company used a third party CMS to manage workflow and collaboration for newly designed the Web site. The CMS was also modified to output XML feeds. Additionally, content sourced from NYC & Company’s partners was validated against an XML Schema and then imported into the CMS. Every night, a scheduled task is initiated that delivers the formatted XML feeds to the interactive data center. XMLSpy, Altova’s XML editor, provides NYC & Company with all of its XML editing needs – from validating and saving content, to managing and manipulating it as part of an integrated workflow. Real-time XML Feeds The XML feeds that are available on the nycgo Web site, and the interactive wall kiosks and tables at the Information Center are taken from data submitted by NYC & Company’s numerous content partners and provide real-time information about attractions and events all around the city. Once accessed, the information can be transferred to any mobile device via SMS. The walls display touch-screen FAQ stations that inform visitors about top New York City attractions and provide other useful information like how to tip a doorman, places to exchange currency, etc. in English and nine other languages. Users can also buy MetroCards and tickets to exhibits and other popular events. ONIC-launch-007 The same real-time data is also fed to interactive tables, where visitors place a “puck” on a Google map of the city to select their area of interest. They then click on a category (e.g., dining, entertainment, etc.) to get more information. clip_image010 The Results NYC & Company offers the latest in travel and tourism to New York City’s visitors, which number well over 40 million in any given year and offers a wealth of new experiences and up-to-date information to adventurous locals. The innovative new Web site design and interactive exploration center pulls together the latest in hardware, software, and data management technologies to showcase every aspect of this multi-faceted city to tourists from all walks of life and with all sorts of interests. NYC & Company was able to leverage the Altova MissionKit to manage large amounts of disparate data from a variety of different sources -from the preliminary UML modeling, to code differencing, database management, and XML editing. Find out how the Altova MissionKit can help with the end-to-end management of all of your data assets. Download a fully functional free trial of the Altova MissionKit today!

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DiffDog Reports for Service


A recent message on Twitter asked whether DiffDog can create a differences report. The short answer is yes! In addition to its renowned directory compare and merge, file compare and merge, database compare and merge, and XML diff merge functionality, Altova DiffDog can create differences reports for directory comparisons and for file comparisons. After you select the directories or files and the compare options you want to apply, you can create a report file by choosing Export differences from the DiffDog File menu. DiffDog Export differences menu option This opens a Save File dialog that lets you choose to create the diff report in text format or as an XML file. Text format reports follow the well-accepted Unix diff style. In the directory comparison example report below, the < character indicates a file that exists only on the left side, > indicates a file exists only on the right, and ! signifies file names that occur in both directories with unequal content. DiffDog directory report text format Report files in XML format are human-readable with descriptive element names and record the the comparison mode and the paths of the directories compared: DiffDog directory report XML format You can also use the DiffDog directory report functionality to create diff report files for comparisons of Zip archives or OOXML documents. Developers and other project stakeholders often want to keep a record of changes to source code files in a software project. DiffDog can create diff reports for all comparisons of text-based files, including source code files. DiffDog can even create detailed XML-aware reports for XML file comparisons. The illustration below shows two versions of a Java source code file: DiffDog file differences example If you read our earlier series on Reverse Engineering an Existing App with Altova UModel, you may recognize this code. Lines 8 and 9 on the left introduce a new class property called fee that is set to an initial value of 2. Here is the file compare report for the differences shown above in text format: DiffDog file differences text report And the XML version of the report for the same portion of the files: DiffDog file differences text report You can even execute DiffDog from a command line to create differences reports automatically. Here is an example of a short batch file that compares the same two directories from our GUI example and writes the output in XML in a file named diff_1.xml: DiffDog batch file The DiffDog Help system includes extensive documentation on all the command line options, including specific instructions on how to integrate DiffDog with 19 popular source control systems. If DiffDog report files get your tail wagging, don’t just Twitter about it! Click here to download a free 30-day trial of Altova DiffDog.

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Altova Tools for IT Professionals – Tell Us Your Story


MissionKit XMLSpy and the other tools in the Altova MissionKit are well-known in the development community as the go-to toolset for XML, data integration, UML, and database development projects. But Altova tools are also used by IT professionals to efficiently complete a variety of enterprise support tasks: XMLSpy is an advanced tool that makes XML documents easy to navigate and edit. Do you use XMLSpy to edit or validate any of the wide variety of XML configuration and data files increasingly essential to today’s IT environments? MapForce integrates and maps data between any combination of XML, databases, flat files, EDI, Excel 2007, XBRL, and/or Web Services. Have you ever used MapForce to merge an end-user’s Excel data into a database? DatabaseSpy is the unique multi-database query, design, content editor, and comparison tool selected as Roundup Champion by Redmond Magazine. Have you used DatabaseSpy to browse an unfamiliar database or build a SQL query to get a quick answer? And who could forget DiffDog? At every trade show visitors come to the Altova booth to rave about Altova’s file, folder, and database diff/merge tool. Do you depend on DiffDog to quickly identify changes between the live instance of a mission-critical file or folder and a backup copy? If you’re an IT professional who uses Altova tools to support the technical infrastructure of your enterprise, we’d like to hear your story. Click here to visit the Altova Case Studies page and check out the right margin to contact us. Of course you can comment right here too!

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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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