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Review: Altova Enterprise XML Suite 2005

Altova Enterprise XML Suite 2005
$1499
Altova
Beverly, Massachusetts
(978) 816-1600
www.xmlspy.com

If you're working with XML at all, you probably know Altova, vendors of the XMLSPY editor and much related software. They've just released a new version of their high-end suite of products (and corresponding new versions of the individual products, of course). Here's a quick rundown of what you'll find new in this version.

XMLSPY itself is the XML editor of the batch. As you'd expect, it's been brushed up to handle the latest standards (final or otherwise): XSLT 2.0, XPath 2.0, and XQuery. This includes a 3-pane XSLT 2.0 debugger, which looks like it will come in really handy learning the new syntax. If you're working with schemas, you'll also appreciate the new SchemaAgent program, which works as the client side of a client-server schema repository. This makes it easier to share schemas around your organization and reuse parts of a schema in a new schema. XMLSPY also adds Eclipse integration to the existing Visual Studio integration.

MapForce, the tool to create and manage mappings between XML, EDI, and other files, gets a boost in this edition as well. You can generate XSLT 2.0 mappings, work with plain text files, and create your own functions by aggregating existing functions. Nothing revolutionary here, just polish on top of an existing fine product.

StyleVision is the designer for content output from XML. XSLT 2.0 and XPath 2.0 are here too. Perhaps even more important is the support for RTF output, letting you use StyleVision to turn XML files into Microsoft Word-compatible documents.

Finally, Authentic is the free content editor designed to protect ordinary users from XML. In addition to XML editing, Authentic has added database editing: Access, SQL Server, MySQL, Oracle, and DB2 are all supported here. This gives you a way to potentially standardize on an editing tool that works with a lot of your backend data.

Overall, another nice upgrade from Altova, especially if your work requires you to be on the cuttng edge of XML standards. If you don't need all the high-end features, check out the Professional Edition at $729 too.

About the Author

Mike Gunderloy has been developing software for a quarter-century now, and writing about it for nearly as long. He walked away from a .NET development career in 2006 and has been a happy Rails user ever since. Mike blogs at A Fresh Cup.

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