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Altova MissionKit Wins Prestigious Jolt Award


We are very excited to announce that the Altova MissionKit won the Jolt Product Excellence Award for Best Development Environment last night! Lauded as the "Oscars of the Software Development Industry," the Jolt Product Excellence and Productivity Awards are presented each year to products that have "jolted" the industry with their significance and made the task of creating software faster, easier, and more efficient. According to their Web site, the Jolt Awards, "…recognize the most innovative, trend-making, ahead-of-the-curve products. Jolt-award winners are the software products, books and technologies that developers should be using today." We are honored – and very proud – to be recognized with this designation for the MissionKit, Altova’s suite software development tools for XML, databases, and UML. The unmatched functionality and tight integration between the tools in the MissionKit have been designed from day one to make developers’ lives easier, and we couldn’t be happier to have this recognized first and foremost by our customers and now by this panel of distinguished Jolt Award judges! The complete list of Jolt award winners has been posted, and more info and photos will follow soon as they’re available. A big thank you to the Jolt judges, and congratulations to all the other Jolt Award winners!

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XBRL Support Added to Altova MissionKit 2009


xbrl_tools Earlier this week we blogged about the release of Version 2009 of Altova MissionKit, which includes the complete Altova product line. One of the major themes in this latest release is comprehensive support for XBRL across multiple Altova MissionKit tools, so lets look into XBRL itself and the new functionality in more detail.

What is XBRL?

The eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL) is an XML-based vocabulary for electronic transmission of business and financial data. Currently in version 2.1, XBRL is an open standard that is maintained by XBRL International, a global non-profit consortium of over 550 major companies, organizations, and government agencies. XBRL was developed to facilitate business intelligence (BI) automation by enabling machine-to-machine communication and data processing for financial information with an eye towards cost reduction through the elimination of time consuming and error-prone human interaction. Official support from European Parliament and a mandate the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has all but secured XBRL’s future as the official standard for financial reporting. You can learn a lot more about the nuts and bolts of XBRL in the XBRL white paper written by Altova’s Technical Marketing Manager, Liz Andrews.

XBRL Tools

All of the power and functionality that XBRL brings to financial data is useless without XBRL-conformant tools to interpret and process this data. In fact, understanding the importance of tools for XBRL, the XBRL recommendation writes software vendors into its abstract:

XBRL allows software vendors, programmers, intermediaries in the preparation and distribution process and end users who adopt it as a specification to enhance the creation, exchange, and comparison of business reporting information.

As such, XBRL development and data integration can be supported in a variety of different ways. The Altova MissionKit 2009 provides comprehensive support for working with XBRL, from validation and editing, to transformation and rendering, in multiple tools: XMLSpy 2009 – XBRL validator and XBRL taxonomy editor. When you need to ensure that your XBRL filing documents are valid and compliant, XMLSpy can be used to to validate an XBRL instance file against its corresponding taxonomy. If you need to extend a standard taxonomy to meet your organization’s filing needs, the graphical XBRL taxonomy editor in XMLSpy gives you a graphical model with tabs that organize different types of taxonomy elements, wizards, and entry helpers, all of which guide data input based on the structural information provided in the XBRL instance and base taxonomies. MapForce 2009XBRL exchange and data integration tool. When you need to extract financial data from back end systems and transform it into compliant XBRL filings, MapForce makes it easy with drag-and-drop, graphical data mapping and instant conversion. MapForce allows bi-directional data mapping between XBRL and databases, flat files, Excel 2007, XML, and Web services. Once your mapping project is defined, you can utilize it to automate quarterly and annual XBRL filing generation by transforming data with the MapForce UI, command line, or auto-generated, royalty free application code. This makes public financial data submission a repeatable and highly manageable process, allowing organizations to produce valid XBRL reports as required based on the variable data stored in accounting system fields – without having to define new mappings every quarter. mapforce_xbrl_thumb If you need to aggregate XBRL filings from different time periods or different organizations in your back end systems for analysis, MapForce lets you map the XBRL data to databases, flat files, XML – even Web services. Mapping data directly from its source format removes the need for re-keying and potential errors. Together, MapForce and XBRL enable the automation of the multi-dimensional financial analysis that organizations and stakeholders use to evaluate market, company, and industry performance on a regular basis. StyleVision 2009 – XBRL rendering tool. Once data is in XBRL format, and it’s time to render it for consumption on the Web or in printed materials, StyleVision lets you create a straightforward XBRL report to output the data in multiple formats. Simply drag and drop a taxonomy financial statement onto the design pane as an XBRL table, and then use StyleVision’s graphical interface to format stylesheets for simultaneous output in HTML, RTF, PDF, and Word 2007 (OOXML). The XBRL Table Wizard makes it easy to customize the table structure and specify the concepts to include in the report. In the case of the US-GAAP taxonomy, which provides, in addition to the hierarchical organization in its presentation linkbase, some best practices information on how to structure XBRL instances, you can simply select US-GAAP mode to have StyleVision automatically output the data according to this information. xbrl_design To try this powerful XBRL functionality for yourself, download a free, fully functional 30-day trial of the Altova MissionKit 2009, and please let us know what you think by commenting on this blog or in the Altova Discussion Forum.

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Now available: Altova MissionKit Version 2009


We are very excited to announce general availability of the Altova MissionKit 2009 suite of XML, database, and UML tools. Version 2009 delivers numerous new features across the tools included in the MissionKit, including comprehensive support for working with XBRL, native support for new databases and database differencing, UML sequence diagram generation, and much more. A few details are below, with complete information and screenshots available on the Altova What’s New page. Coinciding with this major release, we have decided to pass savings realized due to the currently favorable US$/EUR exchange rate directly to our customers by reducing US$ prices across the entire Version 2009 product line.

Support for XBRL

The Altova MissionKit 2009 provides powerful new support for viewing, editing, validating, mapping, and publishing XBRL data. With intelligent wizards, graphical drag-and-drop design models, and various code generation capabilities, the MissionKit Version 2009 gives developers, technical professionals, and power users one easy-to-use suite of tools for working with XBRL and transforming data into content that can be shared with business partners, stakeholders, and regulatory commissions. Altova MissionKit tools with XBRL support are:

  • XMLSpy 2009 – includes an XBRL validation engine that allows users to view and analyze XBRL taxonomies, as well as validate XBRL instance documents. XMLSpy 2009 also includes a graphical XBRL taxonomy editor, which provides a visual representation of XBRL taxonomies with intelligent views and entry helpers for editing and extending them.

XBRL-taxonomy-editor2

  • MapForce 2009 – supports graphical, drag-and-drop mapping of XBRL taxonomies as the source or target in any data mapping project. This new functionality enables users to comply with financial and business reporting mandates by graphically mapping backend data from accounting systems and databases to the XBRL format, or creating valid interim reports based on stored data. Users can map XBRL data to or from any other data format supported by MapForce, including XML, databases, flat files, Excel 2007 (OOXML), Web services, and EDI. This support is also useful for aggregating public XBRL data and mapping it to a database, for instance, for further analysis.

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  • StyleVision 2009 – Altova’s graphical stylesheet design tool now includes support for rendering XBRL data. This allows users to visually design financial reports for simultaneous output into HTML, RTF, PDF, and Word 2007 (OOXML) formats, enabling organizations to share customized business data in online or print format(s) with business partners, stakeholders, and regulatory commissions, all based on XBRL taxonomy requirements.

Extended Database Functionality

Native support for additional databases has been added to all database-enabled Altova MissionKit tools, including XMLSpy 2009, MapForce 2009, DatabaseSpy 2009, StyleVision 2009, and DiffDog 2009. Current support for SQL Server® and Oracle® databases is now extended to include the most recent versions – SQL Server 2008 and Oracle 11g. New support for the PostgreSQL 8 database is also now available. In addition, both DatabaseSpy 2009 and DiffDog 2009 now allow you to compare and merge database content. Individual database tables or multiple tables within a schema can be compared, whether they are the same database type or completely different databases. Results of the content comparisons are displayed in tables, and differences can be merged bi-directionally. This new database comparison functionality allows users to easily backup, copy, or merge data quickly and easily. WhatsNewV2009DatabaseSpy2_thumb

Sequence Diagram Generation

MissionKit users working with UML will be especially interested in this new functionality in UModel 2009. Sequence diagram generation greatly assists developers who need to reverse engineer existing applications written in Java, C#, or Visual Basic. After importing an existing project, directory, or file into a UModel 2009 project, you can now select any operation in any class, and automatically generate a sequence diagram that illustrates the lifecycle of the operation, as well as objects that interact with it. Like all other project diagrams in UModel, sequence diagrams are stored as part of the UModel project file and can be included in generated UModel project documentation.   Check out the full list of features added in Version 2009, and be sure to check back here frequently, as we’ll be blogging about more new features each week. As always, you can download a free trial of the Altova MissionKit to test out this new functionality for yourself.

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Altova MissionKit and DatabaseSpy Named Jolt Award Finalists


JOLT We received an exciting piece of news that brightened a cold winter day when snow was in the forecast: The Altova MissionKit has been selected as a finalist for the 2009 Jolt Award in the Development Environment category. And it gets even better: Altova DatabaseSpy as a standalone application has also been selected as a Jolt Award finalist in the Database Engines and Data Tools category. The 19th Annual Jolt Award winners will be announced at the SD West Conference in Santa Clara, CA in March, 2009. The Jolt Awards are designed to “recognize the most innovative, trend-making, ahead of the curve products,” according to Dr. Dobb’s, the award sponsor. Even before the winners are announced, it’s an honor to be selected as a Jolt Award finalist, since the judges select five finalists in each category from the literally hundreds of development tools and apps available in today’s fast-moving marketplace. The judges are all noted software industry leaders with experience across a wide range of development technologies and projects. We’re pleased that Altova continues to be recognized in such acclaimed company. XMLSpy was a 2003 Jolt Award winner in the Languages and Development Environments category, MapForce was a 2004 Jolt Award winner in the Business Integration and Data Tools category, and UModel was a 2006 Jolt Award finalist in the Design Tools and Modeling category. You can see the entire list of this year’s Jolt finalists at http://www.joltawards.com/finalists.html.

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New Altova Solutions Center


Take a look at our new Solutions Center design! miki_box Not only does it look great (thanks to the Altova Art and Web Development teams), but it also gives a clear breakdown of Altova MissionKit tools and how they can help you be prepared and well-armed to approach common business and technology challenges.As always, we’d love to hear from you about how you use the Altova MissionKit in your organization – we are always looking for great case studies!

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Microsoft PDC 2008 Recap


The Altova team exhibited at Microsoft PDC (Professional Developers Conference) in Los Angeles a couple of weeks ago. PDC is billed as a tradeshow for “leading-edge developers and software architects,” and, true to its promise, this event delivered a crowd of high level technology professionals. We enjoying catching up with a large number of current Altova customers and other .NET developers interested in learning more about using Altova MissionKit tools to solve XML, UML, and database design and development challenges. Our visitors were particularly interested in MapForce, a powerful and VERY affordable alternative to large-scale ETL solutions like BizTalk and SSIS, and UModel, for its advanced UML support and integration with Visual Studio.We also took this opportunity to introduce visitors to the MissionKit and the huge savings offered through downloading it as an integrated development suite. The MissionKit was also a popular conversation topic because of the powerful plugins it offers for Visual Studio – in XMLSpy, MapForce, and UModel.One of the most enjoyable memories that this exhibitor has in particular from PDC is the large number of current customers who brought their friends by to encourage them to try our tools – telling them how they could solve problems that they had previously discussed and even answering questions from other visitors listening in! It really made me recognize and appreciate the enormous amount of support that Altova and Altova tools have from the .NET community… Thank you everyone. We hope that you continue to enjoy Altova MissionKit tools and to see you all again the next time PDC rolls into town!Lastly, here’s a video from the show: Allyson and David demoing UModel live at PDC.

Altova UModel at PDC 2008
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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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