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Model Driven Architecture with Altova UModel


For Version 2012, UModel introduces Model Driven Architecture (MDA), with platform-independent models and a Model Transformation feature that transforms all code relevant modeling elements to and from UML, C#, Visual Basic, Java, databases, and XML Schema. Model Transformation A Model Driven Architecture approach to software engineering with platform independent models provides two primary advantages:

  • During the design phase, developers do not need to be concerned with the details and variations between software languages
  • An existing UModel project can be transformed from one source code language to another. For instance, a UML model for a C# application can become a Java or Visual Basic project

Users can even apply model transformation to projects that were reverse engineered from existing source code. For instance, an existing Java application can be reverse-engineered by UModel then transformed to generate Visual Basic classes, and many other possibilities are available. Model Transformation dialog in Altova UModel Platform Independent Models Model Driven Architecture is a set of standards and methods for applying the UML (Unified Modeling Language) administered by the Object Management Group. In Model Driven Architecture, the UML model of a software project is a platform independent model (PIM) that can be fully described without concern for the details of any specific programming language. This development strategy allows software architects and other developers to focus exclusively on logic required by the subject domain, rather than characteristics of any programming language. Data Type Mapping During model transformation, UModel maps data types from the source to the target to accommodate differences between languages. The Type Mapping dialog lets you review or even edit type mapping pairs. Type mapping for UML model transformation UModel also automatically adds the target language profile to the transformed project. UML Class Diagrams As part of the model transformation, UModel creates new UML classes and class diagrams for the target, reflecting classes and class diagrams in the original project. The screen shot below shows the Hierarchy of Account diagram for Visual Basic after model transformation from Java. The new Account class in the new folder named VB Target in the model tree contains Visual Basic syntax for all properties and operations. For instance, the new balance property is defined as the Visual Basic Single data type, whereas in Java the data type was float. After transformation, the original Account class for Java is preserved in the model in its original location in the model tree. The original UML design for Java will now generate code in multiple source code languages – Java and Visual Basic. UModel class diagram and Model Tree Persistent Transformation Parameters The transformation paradigm extends to updating existing transformations and merging the updates into the specified target models. Transformation parameters are stored in a Model Transformation Profile in the model. The Transformation Profile can be set to run transformations automatically before forward engineering code generation, and/or after reverse engineering, to update elements for one target language based on changes to model elements for another. UModel transformation parameters stored with model These Transformation Profile settings can also be changed at any time. UModel Transformation Profile settings This functionality lets UModel automate much of the maintenance of multiple source code languages as your cross-platform model evolves. If you’d like to try out Model Driven Architecture and model transformation with UModel 2012, you can download a free 30-day trial.

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Intuitive User Interface Features


Here at Altova we like to share user interface features across products to give the MissionKit a consistent look and feel, and to help users leverage experience gained using one tool to get up to speed more quickly with the others. In version 2012 we introduced new visual alignment guides in both UModel and MapForce to make it easy to work very rapidly, yet still produce a neat, organized result that communicates effectively with other team members. As users drag elements in the diagram window, alignment snap lines appear automatically to allow any component to align with any other component. UML class diagram in Altova UModel In the UModel class diagram shown above, the developer has collapsed the properties and operations compartments to concentrate on class associations. As the CheckingAccount subclass is dragged upwards on the screen, a visual alignment guide appears and offers instant snap-to alignment with the other subclasses of the Account class. Complex data mappings in Altova MapForce might include dozens of components, functions and constants, and visual alignment guides can help organize the mapping view. In the screenshot below, the developer used alignment guides to collect split-name functions together, while concat functions are aligned in a separate group. Altova MapForce data mapping Constructing the mapping diagram this way can greatly clarify the developer’s intent when multiple complex string manipulations are needed! Of course, aligned components also improve the value of printed diagrams that become part of the permanent documentation for UModel and MapForce projects. We also understand that not everyone likes to work the same way. If you prefer not to see guide lines and to turn off automatic alignment, this feature can be deselected in the Tools / Options menu selection in both UModel and MapForce. If you’d like to see for yourself how intuitively tools in the Altova MissionKit 2012 work together, click here to download a free trial!

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XML Editor Supports HTML5 and CSS3


The Altova MissionKit Web tools received an important update with our recent Version 2012 release: support for HTML5 and CSS3. You’ll find support updated to include the most recent versions of these Web standards in both XMLSpy 2012 (and higher) for code editing and StyleVision 2012 for graphical stylesheet and report design.
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Let’s focus on the HTML5 and CSS3 editors in XMLSpy here – StyleVision functionality will be covered in a future article.

HTML5 Editor

XMLSpy has long supported editing of HTML4 and, of course, XHTML – and now those intelligent coding features extend to HTML5.
If you’re already an XMLSpy user, you’ll immediately recognize the helpful syntax coloring, source folding, and line numbering in advanced Text View when you open your HTML5 file for editing. As you type, you’re presented with valid HTML5 element and attribute choices in a drop down menu as well as in static entry helper windows, so you can complete code in your preferred working style. At the same time, code completion helps you work faster while ensuring elements are closed properly.
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These intelligent editing features are applicable to the version of HTML you’re working with – when you open an existing HTML5 document or start a new file from scratch, all the HTML5 elements and attributes are immediately available in the entry helper windows and drop down menu. Some of the most notable new elements in HTML5 include:

  • <video> and <audio> for media playback
  • <canvas> for dynamic rendering of 2D images
  • <article>, <section>, <header>, <footer>, and <nav> for including richer semantic information to describe content
  • <calendar>, <date>, <time>, and other form control elements
  • And so on

XMLSpy includes an integrated Browser View that lets you see the results of your HTML5 coding immediately. The Browser View renders your page using your installation of Internet Explorer directly in XMLSpy…
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…but also allows you to immediately view your HTML5 Web page in an instance of any browser you have installed on your machine.
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This allows for quick testing and debugging to ensure cross-browser compatibility.
To get an idea of how some of the new HTML5 features look in action, check out the simple HTML5 example document that is supplied in the XMLSpy 2012 Examples folder and linked from the Example project. To learn more about HTML, there are many excellent resources on the Web, including  http://www.w3.org/TR/html5/.

CSS3 Editor

Working hand-in-hand with the HTML5 editor is the XMLSpy CSS3 editor, which also provides syntax coloring and entry helpers, as well as bookmarking and source folding in Text View.
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A CSS Outline window displays an outline of the document organized by its selectors listed in groups. Each group can be collapsed and expanded, and clicking a selector in the CSS Outline highlights it in the document. CSS Properties and HTML elements entry helpers are shown in windows as well as context sensitive drop-down menus, and XMLSpy even includes screen tips that provide a definition of each property and its possible values as you type.
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You can take advantage of XMLSpy’s integrated Browser View here, too, to see the results of your CSS edits immediately in a linked HTML page.

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Why XMLSpy for HTML?

Sure, XMLSpy is known for all things XML, but it’s also a clear choice for HTML development. HTML5 and CSS3 editing in XMLSpy is facilitated by support for related technologies including XML, XSLT, WSDL, and others, as well as integrated project management functionality, support for popular version/source control systems, and Microsoft® SharePoint® Server integration – giving you all the tools you need to develop the next generation of Web sites and apps.

We’d love to hear how you’re using HTML5 now – please drop us a line by leaving a comment below.

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Altova MissionKit 2012 Released Today


Fall is bringing cooler temps, shorter days, and beautiful foliage to us here in the Eastern US and parts near and far. As we celebrate the changing season with fresh apple cider and warm sweaters, we’ve also been working hard to deliver Altova Software Version 2012. This year, Altova’s fall release brings support for HTML5 and CSS3, enhanced functionality for ETL applications, new Java-friendly options, Model Driven Architecture, and more, to the MissionKit software tool suite. clip_image001 Let’s take a look at the new features in detail here, starting with tools that help developers and designers take advantage of HTML5 to create more sophisticated Web pages and apps.

HTML5 and CSS3

The latest version of the lingua franca for publishing content on the Web includes numerous improvements, from enhanced handling of multimedia content to increased interoperability. As Web developers transition to HTML5, they’ll need an intelligent HTML editor that can provide context-sensitive editing guidance and other time-saving features. XMLSpy 2012 adds support for HTML5 in its HTML editor with entry helpers and drop down menus that offer valid choices based on your cursor location, and an integrated Browser View. It’s also lightning fast to test your edits in multiple browsers directly from the HTML editor. Other features such as integrated project management and support for popular version/source control systems – as well as SharePoint® Server support – make XMLSpy a powerful tool for HTML development. clip_image002 For web designers and developers looking to create HTML5 pages from XML, database, or even XBRL content using a graphical, drag and drop design tool, StyleVision 2012 also supports HTML5 for creating stylesheets and reports. Both XMLSpy 2012 and StyleVision 2012 also support CSS3 styles to complement the new HTML5 functionality.

Enhanced functionality for ETL

The MapForce 2012 data mapping tool now supports streaming reading of files, a crucial feature for ETL (Extract/Transform/Load) applications. When executing data mapping projects, the built-in MapForce engine can now read extremely large XML, CSV, and FLF files and create correspondingly large output streams. MapForce can even theoretically read an entire relational database in a single pass and generate an XML or other output file at once. This new support makes MapForce a highly effective, lightweight, and scalable tool for ETL. It’s also uniquely affordable, whether purchased as part of the MissionKit tool suite or individually.

New options for Java developers

The Altova MissionKit is designed to support users in their preferred development environment, whatever that may be. To that end we’ve added some new Java-friendly options, including support for JDBC database drivers in all database-enabled products. clip_image003 We’ve also introduced a completely redesigned, native Java API for automating the functionality of Altova MissionKit tools in custom applications. This revamped Java API joins the existing COM API, and the products also ship with code samples in various programming language to get you started using the APIs right away.

Model Driven Architecture (MDA)

In response to requests from our UModel customers, we’ve added support for MDA in Version 2012 of our UML modeling tool. Utilizing a Model Driven Architecture approach to software engineering in UModel provides two primary advantages:

  • During the design phase, developers do not need to be concerned with the details and variations between software languages
  • An existing UModel project can be transformed from one source code language to another. For instance, a UML model for a C# application can become a Java or Visual Basic project

clip_image004 Model Transformation can even be applied to projects that are reverse engineered from existing source code. For instance, an existing Java application can be reverse-engineered by UModel to create a UML model that can be transformed to generate C# classes.

Upgrade info

Check out the rest of the features added in the MissionKit 2012. This new version is free to download and install for customers with Support and Maintenance. If you’re not already a customer, you can download a free, fully functional 30-day trial.

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