XmlSpy Polishes XML and Web Editing Tools

Altova's upgrade gains stronger integration but no major new features.

When youre the best, it can be tough to stay on top. With the release last month of XMLSpy 2004, Altova Inc. has not significantly upgraded its Analysts Choice award-winning XML and Web services editing tool, although the new features and integration in this version are welcome.

While XMLSpy 2004 isnt a significant upgrade over Version 5, it is still one of the best XML editing tools available and an excellent choice for those developing Web services and other data-driven applications and processes.

XMLSpy 2004 starts at a reasonable price of $990 for one user. The stand-alone professional edition of XMLSpy 2004 starts at $399.

One of XMLSpys biggest strengths has been its ability to integrate well with a number of databases, application servers and development environments. In XMLSpy 2004, tight Visual Studio .Net integration has been added, which made it possible for eWEEK Labs to access the products excellent XML and Web services editing capabilities from within the Microsoft Corp. development application.

XMLSpy 2004

Providing a robust development environment for creating and editing XML files and Web services, Altovas XMLSpy 2004 is still one of the best products available, although this version isnt a major improvement over its excellent predecessor. Companies building complex business and data integrations will find XMLSpy a worthy investment in powerful and flexible XML development. XMLSpy 2004 starts at $990 for one user. The stand-alone professional edition of XMLSpy 2004 starts at $399.
















  • PRO: Very good XML comparison features; tight integration with Visual Studio .Net; enterprise edition includes excellent mapping tool.
  • CON:Runs only on Windows platforms; still lacks support for DB2 and Sybase extensions.

• Microsofts Visual Studio .Net • Sonic Software Corp.s Sonic Stylus Studio• Wattle Softwares XMLwriter

XMLSpy 2004 has improved integration with the databases it supports, including Oracle Corp.s Oracle, Microsofts SQL Server and Software AGs Tamino XML database. However, as in the prior version, XMLSpy 2004 still lacks support for IBMs DB2 and Sybase Inc.s XML extensions.

In addition, given the growth of Web services and XML server platforms across operating systems, wed like to see an XMLSpy version for non-Windows systems.

XML-based projects can quickly become large and complex, and XMLSpys new XML differencing capabilities can help sites keep their XML work under control. Using these features, we could compare individual XML files or entire directories. This was especially useful for finding small changes that had been made in very large XML files.

Creating and editing complex XML schema files was much easier using the improved advanced schema editing tools. XMLSpy made it possible for us to generate schema to a number of different standards and formats.

XMLSpy 2004 includes the ability to test XPath expressions using the forthcoming XPath 2.0 standard, which allowed us to test advanced Extensible Stylesheet Language Transformations and XPointer implementations for future applications.

Along with XMLSpy 2004, Altova released 2004 versions of its entire product line, including the Authentic XML document editor and the Stylevision style sheet designer.

In addition, the company released Mapforce 2004, which provides an easy-to-use graphical interface for mapping XML files and databases for data transformations. Mapforce, used with XMLSpy, provides an excellent platform for handling advanced business data and Web services integration for enterprises. In tests, Mapforce allowed us to easily unite files with different data mappings and eased integration between disparate systems.

Probably with this in mind, Altova includes a free copy of Mapforce with the enterprise edition of XMLSpy 2004.

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eWEEK Labs Director Jim Rapoza can be reached at jim_rapoza@ziffdavis.com.