Altova Refreshes XML Suite

Altova releases upgraded XML tools suite with OOXML support.

Leading XML tools and utility maker Altova Inc. has upgraded its entire line. The updates, disclosed April 29, include fresh versions of XMLSpy, DatabaseSpy, MapForce and StyleVision tools, as well as the DiffDog file compare utility and UModel UML modeling tool.

Notable among the improvements to release 2 (R2) is updated support for the Microsoft Office Open XML (OOXML) file format, which in April was ratified by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) as a formal standard.

Version 2008 R2 products such as XMLSpy and MapForce are able to read, write and manipulate the latest XML-based versions of Microsoft Excel, Word and PowerPoint files.

Alexander Falk, CEO of Altova, is quick to point out that the updated software does not implement the actual ISO spec -- yet."There's no point at this stage for us to consume or produce documents that you can't even produce in Office," Falk says. "It shouldn't be that hard for us to make that change [to the finalized standard]. On the contrary, it will be a swift change for us, but we'll wait for the big boys in Redmond to do it first."

The new version also extends support for very large format files, which Falk says are becoming much more common.

Burton Group Research Director Peter O'Kelly says this latest version seems to be "softening the boundary" between the various products to provide utility for XML, relational and other structured and unstructured data types.

O'Kelly says Altova is a key supplier of XML modeling tools. "[Altova is] working at the intersection of XML and relational content," he says. "That's just the pipeline for what application developers are doing right now."

Peter O'Kelly Quote

The Altova suite, with its various XML, database and data integrating and mapping modules, makes it possible for developers to tie XML data sources and targets into their business processes. Falk singles out the MapForce product, which he says lets developers "take that data, transform it, filter it and combine it with other data sources and output it ... It can do data transformations and data integrations in a much more intuitive way than much more expensive EAI or multiple service bus enterprise applications," Falk says.

Altova's entire Version 2008 R2 product line is available now. Pricing is unchanged from previous versions. The company's Mission Kit for XML Developers bundle, for instance, starts at $799, while the MapForce product costs $269 for the Standard edition and $1,090 for the Enterprise edition.

About the Author

Michael Desmond is an editor and writer for 1105 Media's Enterprise Computing Group.

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