Tuesday, April 8, 2014

New XBRL Tools for Compliance and Beyond

It can be hard to keep up with all the exciting developments in the XBRL space. Standards are constantly evolving to make compliance easier and deepen the benefits provided by XBRL for internal analysis and reporting. As a leader in XBRL development and validation, Altova is committed to supporting the latest standards, coupling strict conformance with high-performance, easy to use tools. With the latest product launch, Version 2014 Release 2, we’ve added some important enhancements, including significant increases in validation speeds, XBRL Table Linkbase support, and extended XBRL Formula tools. Below is a portion of an XBRL Table generated in XMLSpy, using XBRL Table Linkbase to render revenue calculations in new and productive ways:

XBRL Table

Let’s take a look at the benefits of these new features for your XBRL implementation.

Increased XBRL Validation Speed

RaptorXML+XBRL Server was already the fastest XBRL validation processor available – and Version 2014 Release 2 provides substantial performance improvements. Validation speed increases are most significant - up to three times faster - on multicore servers taking advantage of parallel validation, making validation of large amounts of XBRL data faster than ever before.

XBRL Table Linkbase Tools

XBRL Table Linkbase is perhaps the most exciting of the many recent developments in the XBRL space. The Table Linkbase gives taxonomy authors the ability to easily define the structure of tables for presenting (and even editing) XBRL data. Sure, the presentation linkbase already lets you define some rules for rendering XBRL, but it only provides for the arrangement of facts in a simple hierarchy. XBRL Table Linkbase goes well beyond this, allowing you to access, combine, evaluate, and present multi-dimensional XBRL facts and relationships to suit just about any requirement.

By standardizing the ability to present XBRL data to suit the needs of all stakeholders, XBRL tables add value beyond meeting compliance requirements.

XBRL Table Linkbase validation is now supported by both RaptorXML and XMLSpy, and XMLSpy includes a new XBRL Table Linkbase editor, which you can see on a new tab in the XBRL Taxonomy Editor.

XBRL Table Linkbase editor

Here, it’s easy to add and define tables using graphical diagrams, context menus, and the Details entry helper window.

When an XBRL Table Linkbase is associated with an XBRL instance, it’s easy to render tables directly in XMLSpy by selecting the new Generate Table option from the XBRL menu. The image below is a snippet of an XBRL table generated in HTML, which presents financials from a well-known cruise ship company calculated in various ways, based on reported XBRL data.

XBRL Table Linkbase rendered in HTML

Learn more about XBRL Table Linkbase:

New XBRL Formula Support

Like XBRL Table Linkbase, the XBRL Formula specification adds to functionality inherent in XBRL in a standardized, backwards compatible manner. XBRL Formula allows use of XPath to validate business rules and/or to calculate new XBRL facts based on reported XBRL data. XBRL Formula validation support was added to RaptorXML Server in Version 2014, along with an easy-to-use XBRL Formula editor in XMLSpy.

Release 2 of Version 2014 adds the ability to execute formula calculations and view the results directly in XMLSpy. When an XBRL instance document open in Text View or Grid View is associated with defined XBRL Formulas, you can select the new Execute Formula command in the XBRL menu to open the Execute Formula dialog box, add any required parameters, and select the formula(s) to be executed. Formulas are evaluated with data in the XBRL instance file, and the results are output in an XBRL instance file. The same dialog can be used to evaluate assertions, with output to XML or JSON.

Dialog for calculating XBRL Formula

Be sure to upgrade to Version 2014 Release 2 to get access to all this new functionality. If you’re new to Altova, you can download a free trial of any desktop developer or server software product, including XMLSpy and RaptorXML+XBRL Server.

And if you’re new to XBRL, check out our free, online XBRL training.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Speed Up Your XSLT – Automatically

Once you’ve written XSLT code to produce the desired output, optimizing it to deliver the fastest execution is tricky business. Even with the powerful XSLT profiler in XMLSpy, a developer is required to have expert-level XSLT skills to test and fix the bottlenecks that the XSLT profiler identifies. Is the problem in an XPath expression? Is it an XSLT instruction? This can be a frustrating and time consuming task.

To help alleviate this issue and bring the power of XSLT to developers of all skill levels, XMLSpy 2014r2 now includes the XSL Speed Optimizer, which provides fixes to remove bottlenecks automatically to immediately speed up your XSLT execution – it’s a revolutionary approach to optimizing XSLT performance.

XSL Speed Optimizer

Let’s take a look at how this works, and see how you can use it to speed up XSLT code.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Altova’s Latest Release Sets the Performance Bar Even Higher

Release 2 of Altova MissionKit desktop developer and server software products is now available for downloading. This release packs a punch, delivering enhancements that boost performance by two or even three times, as well as updated standards support – and a revolutionary new approach to speeding up XSLT execution called XSL Speed Optimizer.

Altova Software Version 2014r2

Let’s take a look at some of these new features in depth. 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Deploy Data Mappings and Report Designs for Automated Processing

Deploying data mappings created in MapForce and report designs created in StyleVision for automated processing by Altova server products is straightforward and quick.

The File menu in MapForce includes two options to optimize, preprocess, and deploy data mappings for MapForce Server and FlowForce Server. Preprocessing enables faster performance and reduced memory footprint for most data mappings.

MapForce menu option to deploy to FlowForce Server

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Take Another Look at MetaTeam

clip_image001We are very excited to announce commercial availability of MetaTeam, Altova’s unique online team collaboration and project management environment. If you didn’t get a chance to try MetaTeam during its beta testing phase, now is the time. You can still try MetaTeam free for 30 days.

Why MetaTeam?

We all know the frustrations of teamwork. Files lost in emails. Passed bucks. Language barriers. Missed opportunities on one hand and rework on the other. Collaboration wasn’t supposed to like that!

We canvased our customers, partners, and colleagues across industries and around the world. To no one’s surprise, we found these problems are universal. And the cost is huge. In fact, studies find that well over 50% of project teams fail¹ to hit their budgets, schedules, or objectives.

Many products have tried to put a quick fix on the problem with more advanced scheduling or prioritization tools for specialists. Other products offer general purpose unstructured collaboration that allows for anything and typically improves nothing.

We believe there is a better way. And we developed MetaTeam to prove that tools for high performance teamwork can deliver real impact.

What Sets MetaTeam Apart?

MetaTeam was designed from the ground up with simplicity in mind. It’s immediately accessible for business users from all areas of activity – that means there’s no learning curve, no training required. Its interface is clean, clear, and easy to navigate, with clearly labeled features that are intuitive to use. The most unique aspect of MetaTeam is that it is the only tool of its kind to combine the three aspects vital for successful teamwork: project management, team collaboration, and structured decision making.

As you can see in the screenshot below, MetaTeam delivers these functions through five tightly integrated zones: To-Dos and Task Management, Roles & Responsibilities, Decision Making, Knowledge Integration, and Consistent Language.




By organizing focus areas this way, teams can use as few or as many features as required for the project at hand.




MetaTeam helps teams perform better by:

  • Taking the guesswork out of leading a team
  • More accurately showing how people work together, and who can help
  • Reducing conflict and adding consistency to decision-making
  • Encouraging organizational best practices across all of a company's teams

The simplicity inherent in MetaTeam extends to the pricing structure, as well. Sold as an annual license based on the number of users, MetaTeam is affordable for teams of all sizes. Of course, it’s free to try for 30 days.

Check out the new MetaTeam web site to learn more about:



¹ IT-Coretex Editors, “Failure Rate: Statistics over IT Projects failure rate” IT-Cortex
¹ Krigsman, Michael (2008-12-16), “Study: 68 percent of IT projects fail” Tech Republic

Thursday, February 6, 2014

DiffDog E-book Now Available

We’ve published an e-book in multiple formats for your favorite tablet or other e-reader.

DiffDog Field Trials e-book cover image

DiffDog Field Trials is a collection of information from the Altova blog, Tech Notes from the Library section of the Altova Web site, and DiffDog product feature pages. The e-book describes a wide range of real-world applications for DiffDog, Altova’s XML-aware diff/merge tool for files, folders, directories, and databases.

You can download DiffDog Field Trials from the Altova Web site in various formats:

· EPUB (1.57 mb)

· Kindle (3.08 mb)

· PDF (11.1 mb)

· iBooks (16.5 mb)

Or, look for DiffDog Field Trials soon in your favorite online electronic bookstore.

Editing EPUB files with DiffDog

As you can see from the list above, EPUB, the XML-based free and open e-book standard by the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF), is potentially the most efficient sharable file format. An EPUB document is based on a ZIP compressed archive containing style information, text formatted as html, and the images that appear in the e-book.

Altova XMLSpy provides powerful support for accessing, editing, validating and previewing EPUB 2.x documents. We used XMLSpy to assemble the EPUB version of our book, where we were able to interactively preview the result as we worked:

XMLSpy EPUB Preview Window

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

XML Validation: The Need for Speed

When it comes to XML validation, more is better. By more, of course, I mean more speed, and more data. The faster you can get a list of validation errors - along with the information to help fix them - the better. Over the past few releases, we’ve made this an important priority in XMLSpy, first in Version 2013 with the introduction of Smart Fix XML validation, which actually provides a fix for a validation error that you can apply automatically.

In the latest release, we’ve improved on Smart Fix even further by enabling it in the graphical XML Schema editor, in addition to Text View and Grid View.


Smart Fix XML validator


Simply review the list of fixes automatically generated by XMLSpy, choose the one required, and click Fix.

You’ll also experience faster-than-ever XML validation speeds in XMLSpy 2014 thanks to integration of the super-fast RaptorXML engine, which also adds validation support for XML Schema 1.1, XSLT 3.0, and XQuery 3.0 (and earlier versions) with the strictest conformance to the corresponding standards.

Last but not least is the ability to display multiple validation errors at once, which has been requested by many customers.


Reporting multiple XML validation errors


You can now choose any number of errors to be reported during validation. As always, detailed information is returned for each validation error, allowing you to immediately visualize multiple issues and correct them in any order. The multiple tabs of the validation window let you store the list of errors as you re-validate, which can also be useful when fixing multiple issues.


If you haven’t upgraded to the latest version of XMLSpy, now’s the time. New customers can try all these features for free for 30-days.

By the way, if you’re running an older version of XMLSpy and want to see what’s been added since you last upgraded, the New Features Index is a great page see it all at a glance.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

What’s New in XML Schema 1.1?

Since the introduction of XML Schema 1.0, the standard has been widely adopted. Developers have requested several changes over the years, most notably the ability to specify and validate more granular business rules and also to allow flexible schema evolution. There are numerous changes and enhancements in the XML Schema 1.1 Recommendation aimed at addressing these issues.

There’s a comprehensive explanation of the new and enhanced features in XML Schema 1.1 in our free, online XML Schema training course, which you can access at any time and complete at your own pace. If you’re an experienced schema developer and simply want to learn about what’s new and enhanced in XSD 1.1, skip ahead to Chapter 9. This course is a great way to learn about XML Schema 1.1 and quickly adapt your schemas to take advantage of the new features.


In this post, I’ll explain several of the highlights and show you how you can implement the new features using XMLSpy. Complete support for XML Schema 1.1 is provided in XMLSpy 2014, including validation of XSD and XML instance files based on XML Schema 1.1, as well as intelligent XSD 1.1 editing tools in the graphical XML Schema 1.1 editor.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

XML Wildcard Data Mapping and Transformation in MapForce

MapForce 2014 now supports mapping of XML wildcards that create a designed-in extension mechanism for XML Schemas, implemented as <xs:any> or <xs:anyAttribute>.

Consider this XML fragment viewed in XMLSpy:

Fragment of an XML document following the GPX XML Schema

This small portion of a very long file shows two track points recorded during a road trip by a Garmin GPS device. The XML data follows the GPX XML Schema, with Garmin extensions to add speed and course heading values. XML wildcard mapping lets you map these extensions in MapForce just like any other elements explicitly defined in the XML Schema.

Let’s assume we want to read the .gpx file and extract the highest speed recorded for a trip:

Output of the completed mapping

Monday, November 25, 2013

Result Caching Accelerates Application Response Time

Rapid response to user input is critical to the success of any Web application. FlowForce Server administrators can leverage result caching, a new feature introduced in version 2014, to deliver nearly instantaneous results to users running FlowForce Server jobs in a browser window as HTTP services.

A FlowForce Server job running as an HTTP service

Configuring a FlowForce Server job to take advantage of result caching is a simple two-step process. As an example, let’s look at the job we created recently in FlowForce Server Jobs as HTTP Services. We defined a StyleVision Server transformation as the last step in a FlowForce Server job and made the job available as an HTTP service that delivered the HTML result to a Web browser window.