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XML suite said to enable new class of apps

Snapbridge Software, an XML technology start-up based in San Diego County, is seeking to expand on recent releases of XStudio, a drag-and-drop desktop tool for building XSL transforms; and FDX, its high-speed transformation and fusing engine for pulling together XML and non-XML data.

The company said it was set to deliver an IDE -- XStudio Pro -- for developing enterprise XML applications and a platform -- FDX XML Server -- on which to run them. Angus MacDonald, Snapbridge CEO, said the new products incorporate feedback from customers worldwide, who download the tools from the company Web site, http://www.snapbridge.com. He said there have been more than 4,000 downloads by customers in the U.S., including government agencies, as well as Europe and China.

"Part of our learning with our customers is that there's a tremendous amount of interest for tools that take instances of data and allow you to manipulate them," MacDonald told XDT. "But in large organizations in particular, there's also a need for a complete suite of tools for manipulating XML and XSL assets, and for managing those assets in a development environment."

In his view, as ubiquitous as XML is becoming, the development of applications to use XML data is still in the early stages.

"As pervasive as XML has become, I think organizations are still learning the power of XML and what can be done with XML," said MacDonald. "I think we're still at the beginning of that. Corporations around the world are just getting their teeth into what it means to have data and content structured in such a way that you can actually manipulate them consistently. That's a huge step forward."

In his view, people interested in managing content have gone from using XML as a consistent way of representing data to asking: "We have it represented in XML, now what do we do?"

Said MacDonald: "I think there's a Tsunami coming. We've got this whole slough of applications that are being built that bridge this common representation. That's never been possible before."

XML application developers have learned to define schemas and document structures, he noted, and now they want to do more.

Developers, he maintained, want to execute code, store data, publish interfaces and "dynamically generate Web pages off of data that's changing in the organization." They need an execution environment, not just a design environment, he insisted.

"We can take the transforms and specifications we create in our development tools and actually upload those in a server that knows how to connect to data sources, perform the transformations and the validations, and persist results if need be for users to access and to invoke," he continued.

About the Author

Rich Seeley is Web Editor for Campus Technology.

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