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Stop by booth 535 next week at Oracle OpenWorld


clip_image004September here at Altova means ramping up for a busy Autumn, beautiful cool crisp days in New England and… flying out to San Francisco for Oracle OpenWorld 2013! If you are planning on attending come by booth #535 in Moscone South and see Altova from September 23 – 25th for a demo of Altova’s tools for Oracle Users and to see our new line of cross-platform server software products: RaptorXML Server, FlowForce Server, MapForce Server and StyleVision Server. See first-hand how thesclip_image002e new products offer high-speed automaton for projects designed using familiar Altova MissionKit developer tools.

We would love to hear from you about your latest projects and challenges, collaborate on best practices or let us show you some of the new exciting things Altova has to offer. While you are at our booth mention this blog post to receive a special giveaway. Hope to see you next week in San Francisco!

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Expect the Unexpected – Altova MissionKit Solves a Number Format Mystery


Every time you receive data from an outside source, there is a chance it won’t arrive in the form you expect. This can require special accommodations for the rare and unlikely to make a real-world data mapping and transformation solution robust and reliable.

We processed literally dozens of .gpx files, containing hundreds of coordinates each, through the MapForce mapping we wrote about in the blog post Web Service as a Look-Up Table to Refine GPS Data. Then one day we ran a new file and encountered the error below, which caused the mapping to fail:

Error message during mapping of Web services data

Reaching into the Altova MissionKit to combine features of MapForce and XMLSpy, we quickly diagnosed the issue and developed a solution we can also reuse in future mapping projects.

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The Altova MissionKit 2013 Introduces Seamless Integration of XMLSpy, MapForce, and StyleVision in Java Applications


The Altova MissionKit 2013, empowers developers to integrate XMLSpy, MapForce, or StyleVision functionality seamlessly in custom Java applications for Windows. This frequently-requested capability adds to existing support for integrating these MissionKit tools in Visual Basic or C# applications, giving developers flexibility to add some or all XMLSpy, MapForce, or StyleVision views and functionality to their own custom apps.

Version 2013 of XMLSpy, MapForce, and StyleVision include a new API that allows each to run inside a window within a Java application developed using the Java Abstract Window Toolkit (AWT) or Java Swing. This functionality allows MapForce 2013, for instance, to be embedded in larger applications where data mapping and transformation is only one requirement.

MapForce running in a Java ActiveX window

Altova provides sample applications with XMLSpy, MapForce, and StyleVision illustrating use of the Java API. You can access the sample applications from the command line or from within Eclipse.

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Web Service as a Look-Up Table to Refine GPS Data


Elevation data recorded by GPS devices is notoriously inaccurate, especially in hilly terrain like the Russian River Valley example from our earlier post.

The final elevation track plotted from the Russian River Valley GPX file is suspicious for several reasons. First, the graph shows we descended almost 50 feet below sea level. That’s hard to believe, since we were travelling along the bank of the river, only about 10 miles from the Pacific Ocean.

Altova StyleVision ChartSecondly, we were headed mostly west, following the river downstream, but the track shows a predominantly uphill trend.

We can evaluate the recorded GPS elevation data by comparing it to information available from the United States Geological Survey (USGS). The USGS operates a Web service that accepts latitude and longitude coordinates, and returns elevation data measured by NASA and assessed for accuracy based on over 13,000 control points in the continental United States.

Using the elevation Web service in an Altova MapForce mapping will let us extract each point from the GPX file, send the coordinates to the USGS Web service, and build a new GPX file with corrected elevation data.

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Resist Data Integration Redundancy


The Internet makes massive amounts of data available for lots of interesting applications. But whenever you design a unique analysis and presentation of information you don’t privately control, you risk that the owner will offer the same view at some point in the future, instantly making your application redundant.

That’s exactly what happened to the Groupon API data-mining project we originally wrote about in August, 2011. Fortunately, the core of our project is a MapForce graphical data mapping. We can quickly and easily tweak the mapping and repurpose it to present an entirely different data set that provides new value.

HTML output from MapForce and StyleVision

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New! XSLT Technology Training


We’re excited to introduce our new XSLT Technology training as the latest Altova Online Training offering. As with all our trainings, XSLT Technology is released as a free, self-paced course, available online, so students can fit it into their busy schedules.

XSLT transforms XML data into other formats, and this course will transform a beginner XML student into an advanced user. Intermediate and advanced students will gain valuable techniques to add to their XML toolkits.

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Release 2 of the Altova MissionKit 2012


It’s an exciting week here at Altova! We have several new offerings to tell you about, including Release 2 of the Version 2012 Altova MissionKit and entire product line, a new Altova Online Training course on XSLT Technology, and a new service called Altova Product Consulting. clip_image001 Let’s start with what’s included in the latest product release. Version 2012 Release 2 delivers a host of the new features that have been most frequently requested by our customers, including support for EPUB 2.x, sorting of data mapping results, RichEdit functionality for Authentic eForms, code generation from UML sequence diagrams, and much more.

Version 2012 Release 2 Highlights

EPUB As the demand for e-books and other digital publications has exploded, so have the number of requests we’ve received from developers who need an easy way to create and edit these documents in XMLSpy 2012. In Release 2 we’ve added support for EPUB® (electronic publication), the open standard for e-books from the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF). It’s easy to view and work with the various files that make up an EPUB document in XMLSpy’s Archive View, which supports creating, editing, validating, and previewing EPUB digital publications. clip_image003 XMLSpy already provides validation and support for editing XML, XHTML, CSS, and other standards-based files that comprise EPUB documents, making it a natural choice for creating and working with EPUB content. Check out all the new features in XMLSpy. Sorting for Data Mapping Projects Another frequently requested feature is the ability to sort data in mapping projects where the final output format needs to be ordered differently than it was in the input. MapForce 2012r2 includes two powerful new sorting features that you can apply in a variety of ways. The screenshot below shows a new function that performs a multi-level sort on the source data before writing the output file: clip_image004 Another option is available for sorting relational input. MapForce users have long been able to sort database data through ORDER BY statements in SQL queries. However, SQL queries that operate inside the database are not always sufficient for complex data mapping tasks. MapForce 2012r2 adds additional database sorting functionality to the existing MapForce SQL-WHERE component to become SQL-WHERE/ORDER, which is especially useful when database input requires additional processing that cannot be accomplished in a SQL query, or other data or conditions can impact the sorted order of data rows. clip_image005 Read more about new MapForce features. Other important features added in R2 include RichEdit functionality for Authentic eForms created in StyleVision, code generation from UML sequence diagrams in UModel, support for logical files in IBM® iSeries® databases across the product line, and much more.

Upgrade Info

Check out the rest of the features added in Release 2. This new version is free to download and install for customers with Support and Maintenance. If you’re not already an Altova customer, you can download a free, fully functional 30-day trial.

XSLT Technology Training

We are thrilled to announce the latest Altova Online Training course, XSLT Technology. This free, online, self-paced class introduces students to the concepts of XSL, XSLT, XPath, XSL-FO, and more, through guided tutorials and videos. You can practice working with these technologies using the tools of the Altova MissionKit to transform XML to XML, to HTML, and to PDF. clip_image007

Altova Product Consulting

Have you ever wished you could purchase a few hours of a product expert’s time – whether you need to determine if a particular tool could solve your problem, or need help creating a schema or mapping project, or simply require in-depth product support? We’ve heard from a lot of customers with this very requirement – and in response we have created Altova Product Consulting. Altova’s Product Consulting engineers are experts on Altova software and related technologies. Services include determining if an Altova product meet the needs of a particular project, creating a MapForce mapping file (.mfd), designing a StyleVision design (.sps), and so on. Unlike typical complicated consulting engagements, Altova Product Consulting services are sold per hour, the allotment of which is agreed upon in advance, so there are no surprises. Get more information on specific services provided, pricing, and how to get started.

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