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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.

Read more…

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XMLSpy Version 2011


XMLSpy XML editor We recently blogged about the release of the Version 2011 MissionKit and all the new features it included. Let’s take a closer look now at XMLSpy 2011 and what’s new in the XML editor:

  • Creation of pie, line, bar, and gauge charts from XML
  • Validation of SOAP messages against the SOAP spec & corresponding WSDL file
  • Schema flattener
  • Schema subset picker

Creation of charts & graphs from XML data

Like several other tools in the MissionKit 2011, XMLSpy now supports chart and graph generation. Chart creation is unique to XMLSpy and brings a whole new dimension to working with data in an XML editor. Now you can visualize and analyze numerical XML data – and XBRL data – directly inside XMLSpy with just a few clicks. No more exporting to Excel! The following types of charts are available:

  • 2D & 3D pie charts
  • 2D & 3D bar charts
  • Category line graphs
  • Value line graphs
  • Gauge charts

Below are two example charts that show just some of the possibilities for representing XML data in attractive, meaningful way – with just a few clicks: Pie chart showing XML data Bar graph showing XML data To create a new chart, simply highlight a range of data in Text View or Grid View, right click, and select New Chart. You can also specify the data to chart via XPath expression. Once you’ve used the Select Columns dialog to specify which data you want displayed, either via XPath or by highlighting it in the window, and how you want to display it…. Select columns for XML chart …you can choose the type if chart you require, and the appearance of the chart, from colors to fonts and more. You can create up to nine different charts on the available tabs in the Output Window, and you can save each as a custom-sized image file with just a click or print it directly from XMLSpy. You can also copy it to your clipboard to paste it in another application, such as Microsoft® Word or PowerPoint. One of the coolest aspects of these charts is that they’re totally dynamic. Once you make a change to the underlying XML data, the chart can be instantly regenerated, either automatically by hitting Reload, depending on your preference. What’s more, you can copy the XSLT or XQuery code to create the chart to the clipboard for use in your own stylesheet or application. The XSLT/XQuery code can be executed in XMLSpy and via AltovaXML 2011 Enterprise Edition, Altova’s XML standards processor. Chart support extends to the XMLSpy XSLT profiler and XQuery profiler, as well. After profiling an XSLT or XQuery execution, one click creates a chart to help you immediately visualize the results based on one or more criteria. This makes it easy to immediately interpret the results of a profiling an XSLT or XQuery execution or to communicate those results with other team members in a powerful, visual way.

Validation of SOAP messages

Requested often by our customers, this new feature will be very useful for Web services developers, as it allows them to ensure their SOAP messages are valid against the SOAP specification as well as any XML Schemas referenced in the corresponding WSDL definition.

Schema flattener

The new schema flattener in XMLSpy 2011 allows schema designers to write all the dependent files that are included in a schema into one file. This way, you can use the flattened XML Schema without having to rely on a network connection to access the required files. This could be especially important when shipping a schema within an application. Schema Flattener

Schema subset picker

Many schemas are quite large and contain more types and elements than are required for a particular application or information exchange. Furthermore, the larger a schema is, the longer loading and validation may take. The ability to create a new schema from a subset means a developer can select some global elements or types from a large schema to create a smaller one, using just the elements required. This feature is especially useful for working with NIEM information exchanges, but has also been requested by other users for a variety of applications. Creating a schema from a subset   Read about all the features added to the Altova MissionKit tool suite or download the latest version now. If you’re a current customer with an active Support & Maintenance Package, you can update to v2011 for free.

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XMLSpy’s Most Wanted


Altova's Most Wanted When we announced that Altova Software Version 2010 included over 70 of the features most requested by our customers, we weren’t talking about little tweaks and enhancements, but major new functionality! To show you we mean business, I’ll outline some of the most requested features added to XMLSpy 2010 here.

WSDL 2.0 Support

In response to requests from from Web services developers, the graphical WSDL editor in XMLSpy 2010 now supports the latest version of the WSDL standard, WSDL 2.0. This adds to existing support for WSDL 1.1, giving you the choice of which version of the standard to work with. The WSDL editor automatically provides the correct editing environment for the version currently being utilized, and XMLSpy even provides one-step conversion capabilities for migration between WSDL 1.1 and 2.0. Since the XMLSpy WSDL editor uses a graphical interface (you can, of course, also work in Text View if you wish), you can easily visualize the structure of your WSDL document and edit it using drag-and-drop functionality and context-sensitive entry helpers, which offer the relevant choices based on the selected WSDL version.

WSDL 1.1/2.0 editor

Enhanced XBRL Functionality

Since we added support for XBRL validation and XBRL taxonomy editing in XMLSpy 2009, we’ve received excellent feedback from customers, including some feature requests that we were able to address in v2010. The new XBRL documentation generation capabilities of XMLSpy 2010 make it easy to generate comprehensive documentation – in RTF, MS Word, or HTML – for your XBRL taxonomies. Multiple options let you choose exactly what to include in the documentation, and the resulting output (snippet shown below) includes hyperlinked components for easy navigation. XBRL taxonomy documentation

Another option for documentation is to print the graphical representation of your taxonomy as it is shown in XMLSpy’s graphical XBRL view. XMLSpy 2010 also includes the new XBRL Taxonomy Wizard to give you a head start when creating a taxonomy. Simply enter the company name, ticker, or other identifier for your XBRL taxonomy, and then select the base taxonomy to extend (if any).

XBRL Taxonomy Wizard

XMLSpy creates the required taxonomy files and prompts you to select the entry points of the base taxonomy. Once you click finish, XMLSpy 2010 displays the newly created XBRL taxonomy files in the graphical XBRL Taxonomy Editor, where you can continue editing and refining the taxonomy in a visual manner. The new Find in XBRL and XBRL Sort options in XMLSpy 2010 meet customers’ requests for quick, easy ways to find data in and

navigate through large, complex XBRL taxonomies.

XBRL Taxonomy Editor

JSON Editor

We’ve recently heard from a lot of developers working on Web 2.0 and Web services apps in XMLSpy who also use JSON – so we decided to add a JSON editor in XMLSpy 2010. You can compose JSON strings in Text View or Grid View, and even convert between XML and JSON. In Text View, the JSON editor provides syntax coloring, line numbering, source folding, bookmarking, and more, making it easy to comprehend and navigate your JSON code, and find and edit strings. Intelligent JSON editing populates the Elements entry helper window with a dynamically built list of the elements present in your JSON file, which you can insert with a double-click.

JSON editor text view

Intelligent JSON editing is also available in Grid View, which provides graphical representation that shows the structure / outline of a JSON document through a set of nested containers. These can be easily expanded and collapsed to get a clear picture of the document’s tree structure, and drag-and-drop editing is supported.

JSON Editor Grid / Outline View A final must-have feature for working with JSON is the JSON <=> XML converter in XMLSpy 2010. One click lets you, for example,  convert an XML file to JSON for transport with JavaScript, or convert data received in JSON format to valid XML. No more JSON vs. XML arguments – XMLSpy gives you the best of both worlds.

Redesigned Scripting Environment & Forms Editor

XMLSpy includes an integrated scripting environment and forms editor that has been redesigned for this latest release. Scripts can be written in JScript or VBScript to access and interact with the XMLSpy API, allowing you to modify and add functionality to your installation of XMLSpy 2010. Improvements and optimizations in Version 2010 include:

  • Access to most of the .NET framework
  • New form editor controls
  • Testing & debugging of macros directly in the scripting editor
  • Execution of macros directly through XMLSpy menus
  • Improved entry-helpers & auto-completion in the scripting editor

Read more about the “most wanted” features in XMLSpy and the rest of the Altova MissionKit. Please be sure to let us know your most wanted features, either by commenting here on the blog or entering a feature request.

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Case Study: Equifax


equifax Check out the case study below to learn how leading US credit reporting entity Equifax® built an advanced SOAP interface for their identity verification and authentication Web service.

Overview

Equifax is a leading credit reporting entity and provider of analytical and decision support tools. Their real-time authentication system, eIDverifier, offers government and businesses personalized online security measures that help protect them against fraud and comply with federal legislation. The eIDverifier process is used within e-commerce and other online applications to authenticate users’ identities based on their answers to personalized questions drawn from Equifax’s extensive data stores. The authentication process consists of five steps:

  1. Integrity Check – eIDverifier standardizes and screens applicant-provided information to test for data inconsistencies and irregularities.
  2. Pattern Recognition – A pattern recognition algorithm is conducted on each transaction. For example, a velocity parameter determines the number of times an applicant has applied for authentication in a specific time frame.
  3. Identity Validation – To confirm an identity’s legitimacy, eIDverifier uses a “waterfall” approach in gathering validation information from multiple data sources. This means that if the identity cannot be validated with the first data source, eIDverifier will proceed to the next data source until the identity is validated.
  4. Interactive Query – eIDverifier presents multiple-choice questions to the applicant based upon “shared secret” information that should only be known to the applicant and Equifax. The question sets are customizable to meet individual risk thresholds.
  5. Decision Logic / Output Assessment – There are two output components to eIDverifier – an assessment score and reason codes. The assessment score indicates the likelihood of an applicant presenting fraudulent information, while reason codes provide important details on questionable information and highlight any discrepancies between the consumer’s application information and Equifax data sources.

eIDverifier relies on the SOAP protocol to send messages defining these interactions back and forth between the client interface and the Equifax servers. Third party institutions license the eIDverifier SOAP interface for use within their online application processes, enabling them to integrate its functionality and access information contained in Equifax’s databases.Equifax uses the XMLSpy XML Schema editor to graphically design the XSDs that serve as the foundation for their SOAP interface.

The Challenge

Equifax needed a sophisticated tool for designing the XML Schemas that would define the data types for their Web service, as well as a mechanism for creating the WSDL documents that would describe the interface as a whole. As a Java shop, Equifax needed a solution that would be compatible with their other development tools, and that would work seamlessly with the Eclipse IDE. Though there are plenty of Java tools available that have the capacity for XML Schema development, XMLSpy presented the most attractive option for schema design because of its comprehensive graphical design and editing options.The Equifax development team took a further step to simplify their Web services creation, using XML Beans and the Codehaus XFire/CXF Java SOAP framework to auto-generate WSDL from their XML Schemas.

The Solution

eIDverifier relies on a variety of different technologies to bring identity verification and authentication to its clients. XMLSpy provides the following benefits:XML Schema

XML Schema is used to express the structure of the data, as well as the individual elements and attributes that it is comprised of. Because a large portion of the data relies on end-user input in the form of address, phone number, driver’s license number, etc., it is vital that this information is in a format that can be digested by the system.Using XMLSpy’s graphical XML Schema editor, the Equifax development team was able to easily visualize and maintain the structure of their XML Schema. A portion of the schema that was created appears below:

SOAP interface

This data type definition provides the syntax, and dictates the structure, for the data that is transmitted by the eIDverifier Web service.

XMLSpy’s unique graphical XML Schema editor allowed the Equifax development team to create and maintain a complex schema definition without writing any code manually. They were also able to automatically generate human-readable documentation that can be used to present the architecture for review at any time in the development process, and that describes each element and attribute in detail.SOAP interface

WSDL

The processes executed by eIDverifier are described by a WSDL document that incorporates the XML Schema to provide information about data types, functions, and other interface details to the client – defining and dictating the actions taken by the client application to send and retrieve information between the end-user and the Equifax servers. The Equifax team chose to autogenerate a WSDL document using the Codehaus XFire/CXF framework. The XML Schema was used as the basis for an XMLBeans implementation, which was then compiled as a Java service class. Once the eIDverifier service was exposed, XFire automatically generated a WSDL – the WSDL is shown below in the XMLSpy graphical WSDL editor.

SOAP interfaceThis WSDL serves as the basis for the eIDverifier application, defining the ports and messages that make up the communication infrastructure of the Web service.

The Results

The eIDverifier SOAP interface allows external applications to access Equifax’s backend data stores, exposing it as a Web service and enabling them to retrieve secure information without jeopardizing the integrity of the Equifax mainframe. Utilizing WSDL and SOAP, and surrounded by Java architecture, eIDverifier is able to confirm user identity by returning a set of multiple choice questions based on the secure data maintained by Equifax.SOAP interfaceXMLSpy enabled the Equifax team to quickly and easily create a graphical schema representation and the matching documentation to serve as the basis for the Web service. It also allowed the development team to focus on their Java code, rather than the intricacies of XML Schema and WSDL design. The Altova MissionKit provides numerous tools for advanced Web services development, from the graphical XML Schema and WSDL editing discussed here, to SOAP debugging, and even graphical Web services generation and data mapping. Download a free trial to check it out for yourself.

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