Around the (Route 128) World in (About Two) Days

David Rubinstein
October 31, 2012 —  (Page 5 of 7)

Innovation in XML
The day began with rain, and meetings at the Cummings Center in Beverly, which had been a dilapidated former shoe machine factory before being renovated into modern office space.

The merging of old and new is an apt metaphor for the first meeting, with CEO Alexander Falk and his team at Altova. The company has been long known for its association with XML, the standard for data interchange over the Internet. The company’s XMLSpy product, as well as its MissionKit suite of tools, keeps up with OMG and W3C specifications that “have reached a certain level of maturity but are still being developed out,” Falk said, such as UML (now at 2.4) and XMI (also at 2.4).

Altova’s tools also adhere to the SysML, XBRL and XML Schema standards, as well as XQuery 3.0 and XMLDB, which is now installed by default at Oracle. “There is no XML conference or focused publication, but every day you’re creating XML files,” Falk said. “There are always new standards that come and go. Remember, XForms was to be the end of XML, but HTML5 became the successful standard. So we have to follow the trends in the standards as we continue to innovate.”

Part of that innovation includes the addition of Smart Fix in XMLSpy, which finds inconsistences and errors in XML, then suggests remediation. Also, a new Java wrapper now allows those developers to incorporate Altova tools—data maps, for instance—in their applications, Falk explained. In addition, Altova has added a spell-checker that’s CamelCase-aware, and has added support for Eclipse 4.2, JSON and the latest XBRL taxonomies.

The company’s MapForce tool, created for any-to-any data mapping, now has support for SQL-stored procedures, and includes a new API for integration with Java programs, according to Peter O’Kelly, product marketing manager and evangelist at Altova. He also noted that Altova’s StyleVision tool for presenting reports in different formats now can insert watermarks into those reports. “It’s based on XPath, but we take a wizard-driven approach,” he said.

Altova is also looking to the future, with new server tools (FlowForce, along with MapForce) now out in beta with a tentative early 2013 release date, Falk said. He described the offering as a server-based data-integration and validation platform. “You can take a MapForce mapping [and] send it to the FlowForce server to process and deploy,” he said. “It has strong features for job scheduling, like changes in currency exchange rates.”

The company also is introducing a new cloud service for project management, task tracking and collaboration. MetaTeam is in preview release now, with early users putting the software through its paces and providing feedback. “We want to encourage good management of teams, not just another kanban or flavor-of-the-month board,” said David Kershaw, Altova’s vice president of cloud services. From the browser, managers can find a project (referred to as a team), add people to it, assign tasks, organize business roles, and organize business decision-makers by setting up agendas and criteria for decisions, which can then be voted on in the console, he explained. The software also allows for threaded discussions along the way, and enables alerting is tasks change or there is a dependency.

“As development and IT management become more distributed, you need a higher level of abstraction than putting a Gantt chart on the wall,” said Kershaw.

Related Search Term(s): Altova, Black Duck, Boston, Perfecto Mobile, SmartBear, Veracode, Verivo

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