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TurboXML 2.1 By TIBCO Extensibility

TurboXML 2.1 By TIBCO Extensibility

Turbo XML 2.1, from TIBCO Extensibility, is a suite of XML productivity tools consisting of:

  • XML Authority: For creating and authoring of XML schemas (DTD, XSD, XDR and many more)
  • XML Console: For batch processing/validation/translation of XML documents
  • XML Instance: For editing XML/XSL documents
The package - Turbo XML 2.1 (a desktop suite written in Java) - is available on the following platforms: Windows 95/98 NT/2000, Linux, Solaris, Solaris x86, HPUX 11.0, and other flavors of Unix. I tested using Windows 2000 service pack 1 on a 500MHZ Dell XPS-T500 with 128MB RAM. The installed application is approximately 50MB.

Tight Integration
Overall the suite offers a consistent look and feel for its applications. It was immediately apparent that there's much pride and willingness among the developers at TIBCO Extensibility to go the extra mile to make the suite highly integrated and usable. The file-handling dialogs are among the best I've seen on Java desktop applications. Extensibility was acquired by TIBCO last year and now supports the TIBCO Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) Repository. Also there is support for Software AG's native XML database, Tamino, and Extensibility's own XML Canon.

XML Authority is an XML Schema editor. An unfortunate aspect of XML Schema dialects is that there are now so many. XML Authority is a great place to author or originate a schema for one of the many schema dialects. XML Authority supports the following schema dialects: DTD, XDR, XSD, BIZ, SOX, OSC, IFS, TAM, and XAMS. Other users may want to jump-start their schema.

A Jump Start for the Inexperienced
Jump-starting a schema involves importing an item and letting the Authority present you with a suggested schema definition; you may then edit the suggested schema to your liking. The items available for jump-starting a project are ODBC data sources, XML documents, text files, Java classes, COM objects, SGML DTDs, and COBOL Copybooks. The jump-starting ability is a great asset to persons new or inexperienced at navigating the XML Schema terrain. The Authority also has a very intuitive graphical metaphor for diagramming your schema assets.

XML Console is a utility that can be useful for the batch well formedness/validation, and transformation of XML documents and schema assets. There is a SchemaDOC reporting feature that prepares a useful HTML report for the result of a batch operation. Of course, there can be some room for interpretation when translating among schema dialects, but I found the translation feature to need further work. I attempted translation of the smil.dtd to both XSD and XDR format. XML Console failed on both occasions to create a well formed and valid schema.

XML Instance is an XML document editor. While editing you can overlay a schema and check for validity as you enter your modifications. When you add a schema definition you'll also find that the editor displays content hints. Content hints enable rapid editing of XML documents by suggesting possible values for elements and attributes. Further, default values are shown as items are added.

XML Instance also permits the application of an XSLT stylesheet. The user may command XML Instance to render the preview or show the transformed data in another window. The attention to detail becomes apparent here: when the transform was rendered and sent to my browser I had expected it to use whatever default XSLT support was available on my browser, but this was not the case. XML Instance comes with its own transform engine and mini Web server. This should cut down on support issues and inconsistencies in a large population of users using different revisions of browsers and XSLT support. Also there was some limited support for XSLT content hints. This feature was not fully implemented, but I found it somewhat helpful as delivered.

XML Instance supports drag-and-drop editing. I was, however, slightly disappointed when I pressed the Control key while dragging, and a move occurred as opposed to the copy operation I had expected. Also it would be nice if it supported drag-and-drop from the file system and other running copies of XML Instance. The creators, however, had enough foresight to allow the raw text editing of the document if you grow weary of the tree-based editor.

Conclusion
Turbo XML is a great set of products for the rapid creation, management, and translation of XML assets. Further, it integrates and plays well with the set of products that you're likely to be using. XML Authority's broad and deep support for intermediate/legacy schema types is second to none. Turbo XML is a striking, well-formed, and agile offering that nicely balances the difficult debate between "XML the Standard" and "XML as Practiced/Needed." Turbo XML also reflects well on the standards-based direction that TIBCO's EAI strategy is taking.

Turbo XML can be purchased for $270.00 at www.extensibility.com.

TIBCO Extensibility, Inc.
200 West Franklin St., Suite 250
Chapel Hill, NC 27516
Web: www.extensibility.com
Phone: 919-969-6500
E-mail: [email protected]

Test Environment
DELL: XPST500
Processor:
128MB RAM
Memory: 25GB HD

More Stories By Mark Wardell

Mark Wardell is a member of CGI Houston's Advanced Web Technology
Practice. CGI is North America's fifth largest independent IT
consulting firm.

More Stories By Terry Hanks

Terry Hanks is a consultant in the Advanced Web Technologies Practice at CGI. He's a certified programmer for the Java 2 Platform, and has over 12 years of experience in software development.

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