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Interview With EJ Pappas

Interview With EJ Pappas

XML-J: Can you tell me a bit about Infoteria Corporation? What your company does and what products you offer?

Pappas: Infoteria is an XML tools provider. We make toolsets that enable you to integrate and augment your existing back-end systems and structures with XML. Our tools are modular, so you're able to accomplish specific tasks related to XML integration, quickly and easily.

First, we have a product called iCONNECTOR that allows users to convert data found in back-end systems, such as Oracle, Notes/Domino, Microsoft SQL, or Access, into XML. iCONNECTOR has an easy-to-use graphical interface called iRULEGENERATOR that allows users to map the fields from the database to corresponding tagged element fields. iCONNECTOR is a bidirectional tool, which means data can be pulled from the data sets into XML, modified, and then put back into the respective databases. It's dynamic, efficient, and enterprise-strength.

Once that data is pulled from those traditional datastores, you need to do something with it. One thing to do is display that data. Infoteria has another tool called iXSLT, our XSLT processor. It comes as an executable, a COM or DLL, that allows XML files along with a corresponding XSL file to be combined to form HTML files that can be displayed on a Web page or some other device, like a PDA, Web phone, or maybe even a game device.

iXSLT can also use XML and XSL files to create other kinds of XML. This is helpful if you're trying to use XML files that conform to a specific vocabulary like BizTalk or Commerce One's xCBL. Either way, we're compliant with the latest W3C recommendation and extremely fast. It's truly a high-performance tool.

Another use for those XML files might be to move data between two different companies that don't have the same data back end. Moving data between companies can be a "high touch" proposition with lots of data scrubbing and manipulation. XML is perfect for those cases, since the data is separate from the presentation. If that data is in XML format, you could use a tool like our iMESSENGER, which monitors a POP3 or IMAP4 mailbox and sends outbound XML documents using SMTP. iMESSENGER looks for XML files either within the body of the e-mail message or as an attachment and, if it finds it, will call another process.

iMESSENGER is highly configurable, allowing only messages from a certain mailbox to be processed or to use a particular tag reference. It is used in many B2B customer installations, allowing data to pass from customer to supplier, quickly and easily, without human intervention. And that's really what it's all about, isn't it?

We also have an add-in to Microsoft Excel called iMAKER. This allows Excel files to be dynamically converted to XML, and allows XML files to be read directly into Excel. This product quite simply allows anyone, from the data entry clerk to the president of the company, to contribute to an XML-based system.

Finally, we have a series of C++ and Java libraries called iPEX. This product allows XML functionality to be built into any existing C++ or Java system, or it can be used to build applications from scratch. All of our products, in fact, are built using these iPEX libraries.

XML-J: That sounds good. Can you tell us a bit about how the products run? Can you talk about what they're based on and who exactly would want to use them?

Pappas: Our targets are both developers, people who are building systems, and system integrators, people who need specific functionalities added to their systems. Our C++ libraries are compiled for a variety of platforms including Windows, Solaris, and Linux.

In the near future, we will expand this vision to include a much wider range of XML services. Stay tuned. Our plans are very aggressive (and well funded) and rich with tons of solution energy.

XML-J: Do these products run on 100% pure Java or do they have the tools themselves?

Pappas: The tools will have Java interfaces and run on the platforms I just mentioned.

XML-J: That sounds good. And where are these products going in the future? Do you have plans for new versions? Are you working on new products?

Pappas: We just announced our Java-based versions of our iPEX libraries, so they'll be available later this year. And yes, we're going to continue to evolve our existing products. We'll add additional back-end sources that we'll connect to. We'll expand our operating system support and look to add new products that will leverage coming environments, like the Palm and Windows CE.

Our in-house "Xstream Project" is almost ready for prime time. This has been a huge development effort completely focused on taking XML to the next level of IT infrastructure integration. Judging from the results of our initial pilot work in one of the world's most ambitious XML projects, we think the next 12 months will be big for us. Stay tuned.

XML-J: So you're going to be all over the place?

Pappas: Yes. We're planning to be wherever the XML world gathers, as well as in every shop that understands the value XML represents in what we call data liberation. We joke about being "The Data Liberation Front," but we are that passionate about the value of freeing data from the proprietary software that has generated it - the statistics from an Oracle database, the creativity from a Lotus Notes repository, the projections from a SQL server, the financials from a DB2 app. We will be wherever developers, ITers or line-of-business managers gather to get this kind of work done.

XML-J: How is Infoteria using XML?

Pappas: : How are we using it? All our products are 100% compliant with the published recommendations and adhere to the draft specifications wherever possible without compromising our existing customer base.

Our lead generation and call tracking systems are built around XML documents; we move data between many of our suppliers via XML over SMTP.

XML-J: That sounds great. And if people want more information?

Pappas: Information about all our products and free trial downloads are available on our Web site, www.infoteria.com. Or call us at 978 922-4029 or send an e-mail to [email protected].

XML-J: That sounds great. Anything else you'd like to add?

Pappas: Only that I think the adoption rate of XML by the development and IT communities is a fascinating measure of the potential for our success and our competitors' success. In the late '90s this rate rose slowly. But today, according to Seybold and Aberdeen, this rate is going to rise exponentially (as Galloway's Law states). All of which leads me to conclude with a final request: be diligent. Test and retest the XML products in the marketplace. Pick the product that best suits your solution needs (hopefully Infoteria) and then get down to work. We all need to make XML the spec of choice for data liberation.

More Stories By XML News Desk

The XML-Journal News Desk monitors the world of XML and SOA /Web services to present IT professionals with updates on technology advances and business trends, as well as new products and standards.

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