XBRL US National Conference in Las Vegas

clip_image002If you will be in Las Vegas next week for the 5th annual XBRL US National conference, be sure to check out the XBRL Data Forum for IT Pros & Developers. Altova is sponsoring this one day workshop that is part of the conference which consists of an intensive, practical day of discussion and presentation on XBRL dclip_image004ata, databases and opportunities for IT professionals interested in expanding their technical knowledge in the growing area of XBRL.

Along with RaptorXML + XBRL, the newest addition to our product family, Altova has a number of tools for processing and validating XBRL data such as XMLSpy, MapForce and StyleVision.


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Leverage Your Financial Data with the XBRL Chart Wizard–Part 2

Extensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL) is an XML-based language for reporting and exchanging financial data that’s making inroads across the globe. In fact the US Securities and Exchange Commission now requires public companies to submit financial data in XBRL format.Altova’s MissionKit, a suite of our most popular software, supports XBRL tagging via XMLSpy and MapForce as well as XBRL rendering via StyleVision. With StyleVision you can create sophisticated financial reports including charts and tables based on XBRL instance files. image This is the second post in our two part series on StyleVision’s XBRL chart capabilities. In our last post we showed you how to call the XBRL Chart Wizard and create pie charts. This time we’ll show you how to create bar charts and line charts. Bar Charts Bar charts are the ideal vehicle for comparing groups of objects or visualizing change from one period to another. Here we’ve used the XBRL Chart Wizard to create a bar chart comparing Current Assets to Current Liabilities from the third quarters of two consecutive years. After invoking the XBRL Chart Wizard as we did in the very first step, we select Current Assets and Current Liabilities in the Concepts tab and place it in the Series pane so that these amounts will be reflected on the Y or vertical axis. clip_image001 Now we click the ellipses in the Period tab in the Categories pane to bring up the Period Properties dialog box. Assets and Liabilities are measured at specific points in time and so we have checked the Show instant periods box. We’ve also filtered the data using XPath so that only assets and liabilities at the end of the third quarter (which ends in August) appear. Finally we add a dynamic label that combines “Q3” with the year using XPath. clip_image002 In addition to the bar chart, we’d like to include the Quick Ratio, a measure that indicates whether an organization has enough readily liquidated resources to cover outstanding financial obligations. The Quick Ratio is simply Current Assets divided by Current Liabilities. We’ve added an auto calculation and used XPath to divide Current Assets by Current Liabilities for all time periods in the XBRL instance document. Below is the design view of our bar chart and auto calculation, including the XPath. clip_image003 The HTML output appears below. However we can also render the design in RTF, PDF, and Word 2007+. clip_image004 Line Charts A line chart has a line connecting discrete points plotted on a graph and is typically used to track how financial and other data varies over time. In this example we’ve created a line chart to track two concepts – costs / expenses and revenue – over a four year period. Just as we did for the pie chart and bar chart, we’ve dragged a concept (here, Revenues) from the Schema Tree into the design window and invoked the XBRL Chart Wizard. Likewise, once the Chart Wizard opens, we clicked on the ellipses on the Concepts tab in the Series pane to bring up the Concept Properties dialog box, where we selected the Costs and Expenses concept. Costs and Expenses will now appear on the chart along with Revenues. Our XBRL file includes both instance and duration time periods so in the Period Properties dialog box below (invoked by clicking on the ellipses in the Period tab in the Categories pane) we’ve selected only duration periods, or those with a start and end date. We will now use XPath to filter the data. We’ll create a variable $altova:duration that translates the difference in number of days between the start and end dates of the period into the number of months and then selected data where that variable is equal to three (equivalent to a fiscal quarter). We’ve also used XPath to create a dynamic label combining Q3 with the year. clip_image005 Because our line chart is visualizing changes in revenue and costs and expenses over time, we have used the Sort function in the Period Properties dialog box above so that the data appear chronologically. clip_image006 Although the appearance of the chart (e.g., colors, labels, and visibility of tick marks and axis values) can be controlled with the All Settings button in the Chart Settings section of the XBRL Chart Wizard dialog box, it can also be controlled with XPath via the Dynamic XPath Settings button under Chart Settings (below). clip_image007 This feature provides tremendous flexibility not only in managing appearance but in managing the contents of the chart. Among the many things you can do with XPath are controlling output based on conditions and adding a dynamic title that includes the time period reflected as we’ve done here. Once you click the Dynamic XPath Settings button in the XBRL Chart Wizard dialog box (above), the Dynamic XPath Settings dialog box is invoked (below). clip_image008 Clicking the ellipses next to the property that you want to edit in the Dynamic XPath Settings dialog box (above) brings up the Edit XPath Expression dialog box (below). Here we’ve used XPath to concatenate a string (“Revenues / Costs and Expenses”) with the first and last years in the period we identified in the Period Properties dialog box earlier. clip_image009 The XPath expression entered here will overrule the settings in the Change Appearance and XBRL Chart Wizard dialog boxes – notice in the chart (here rendered in HTML) includes the dynamic title that we built with XPath rather than the title in the XBRL Chart Wizard Dialog Box. clip_image010 As we’ve shown here, the XBRL Chart Wizard provides developers and designers with a highly flexible tool for visualizing XBRL data. With XBRL’s place in the international technology sector firmly established, the ability to leverage XBRL data to support strategic decision making is key. There are a number of different types of companies that are discovering the strategic value of XBRL. Our XBRL case study describes how the Maryland Association of CPAs streamlined their tax reporting and benchmarking processes with XBRL. This case study is a great resource for anyone interested in learning how to leverage this data with Altova software tools.


Have you created something really great with the XBRL Chart Wizard? Or developed an interesting project using StyleVision or another of our tools? Please share your story with other Altova users by commenting on this blog post. Think it would make a great case study? Email us at – if we choose to use your story you’ll receive a $200 Amazon gift card as well as some free press for you and your organization. We’d love to hear from you!

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The Maryland Association of Certified Public Accountants (MACPA) transforms data to XBRL in-house

What is XBRL and how can it help your organization? Members of the Maryland Association of CPAs (MACPA) found out how using the interactive XBRL (Extensible Business Reporting Language) format can help not only larger, public companies, but also smaller, non-profit organizations like themselves.clip_image004 MACPA invested in the Altova MissionKit tool suite to support their XBRL project. Using our XMLSpy XML editor; MapForce, our graphical data mapping, conversion, and integration tool; and the StyleVision visual stylesheet and report design tool, MACPA was able develop a comprehensive system that employs XBRL data for a variety of reporting functions, both internal and external.
For example, MACPA used the generated instance document from MapForce to populate their financial Key Performance Indicator (KPI) system, significantly reducing the amount of time and effort required to prepare the KPI documentation. XMLSpy was used to extend the US-GAAP taxonomy to accommodate entries specific to MACPA. clip_image002 MapForce also came in handy for mapping the Global Ledger (GL) Taxonomy to the extended GAAP taxonomy. clip_image004 As a result, MACPA has increased its working knowledge of XBRL, automated previously burdensome data collection and transformation tasks, and have gained more insight into their financial data. To read more about how MACPA utilized the Altova MissionKit to convert all their financial data to XBRL and create a model for public and private business of any size to leverage the powers of XBRL, the latest case study from Altova is a must read! Do you have a story to tell about your use of Altova tools? If so, we want to hear from you. Case studies generate great publicity. Check out recent press coverage from the MACPA case study. Plus, if we choose to use your story you will receive a $200 Amazon gift card!

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New Software Release : StyleVision 2011

On September 8, Altova released v2011 of the MissionKit with the addition of powerful reporting functionality across many of the products. Specifically, StyleVision has been supercharged with a multitude of new features, securing its place as an advanced and versatile business intelligence application, priced for today’s market. Let’s take a closer look at the exciting new features in StyleVision 2011 including:

  • Charts as a new design element
  • Chart wizard for XBRL files
  • Explicit support for HTML/CALS tables
  • Ability to import existing XSLT files
  • Scripting & toolbar editor for Authentic®

Charts as a new design element StyleVision joins other MissionKit 2011 tools with support for charting, adding to its already advanced general purpose reporting capabilities to create a highly scalable decision support tool for XML, database, and XBRL content. As with all StyleVision designs, charts can be easily rendered for multi-channel output in HTML, RTF, PDF, Word 2007+, and electronic forms. The following types of charts are available:

  • 2D & 3D pie charts
  • 2D & 3D bar charts
  • Category line graphs
  • Value line graphs
  • Gauge charts

The chart configuration dialog lets you use XPath to select data for your charts. This can be as simple or as complex as you want, running the gamut from database data that is already laid out in a tabular format to XML files where the nodes you need to select are spread out over hundreds of lines of code. Pssst… if you’re thinking that this would be great for the unique demands of XBRL, read on because we created something special with that in mind ;). Here are a couple of examples of charts that you can build in StyleVision: clip_image001 clip_image003 Yup, you can even chart completely different sets of data on the same graph. How creative you want to get with your visual analysis reports is really up to you. You can even create interactive charts for use with Authentic – allowing end users to manipulate eForms to view the desired result. For example, the screenshot below shows the Authentic view of a pie chart where a drop-down menu (combo box) selection dictates the subset of data that is represented. clip_image005 Charts are easily integrated into your StyleVision report templates at any point by simply dragging the relevant node onto the design pane and choosing Insert Chart from the context menu. The Chart Configuration dialog can then be used for chart settings (choosing chart type and style) and data selection (populating your chart axes with the relevant data from the source). clip_image007 You can even use Dynamic XPath Settings to apply transactional data to your chart. Of course, if you sometimes have trouble telling your .s from your /s, you can always get some help with more complex expressions from StyleVision’s XPath Builder. Chart wizard for XBRL files If you are familiar with XBRL, you are intimately aware of the complexities associated with navigating XBRL taxonomies. And, if you’re impressed with what you’ve just read about StyleVision’s charting capabilities, you are probably trying to remember where you put that old XPath reference guide. Not to worry! StyleVision has added to its XBRL rendering support with an XBRL Chart Wizard that lets you easily select data and define presentation settings for your XBRL reports. clip_image009 Concept and Period Properties dialogs are included to let you specify which elements should be included and how periods (instants or intervals of time) should be handled in your chart. Explicit support for HTML/CALS tables StyleVision now provides direct support for HTML/CALS tables, meaning that it will automatically recognize values dictating table structure (column number, row height, etc.) and apply them to rendered output. (v2011 adds support for rendering HTML/CALS tables in HTML, RTF, PDF, AND Word 2007+ – previous releases have supported output to Authentic eForms.) clip_image011 You can also easily assign additional presentation styles to HTML/CALS tables using the Edit CALS/HTML dialog. clip_image013 Ability to import existing XSLT files Well, I’m sure a few of you were hoping that this one was coming soon… You can now base your StyleVision template designs on existing XSLT files that were designed for HTML output or XSLT files with XSL:FO commands that were designed for output to PDF. Simply choose the New from XSLT File option and presto change-o, your design will be fully manifested in the design pane. Now you can edit your template using StyleVision’s graphical interface and output to even more formats (HTML, RTF, PDF, Word 2007+, and Authentic eForms) with just the click of a button. Scripting & toolbar editor for Authentic This feature is just way too cool not to devote an entire post to it, so keep your eyes peeled for a full description coming up on this blog. In the meantime, check out the Authentic scripting page for a brief description and examples. Better yet, just download a free 30-day trial of StyleVision today to test drive all of these new features for yourself!

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