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Inside the Brackets:

[COREL XMETAL 4]

In each issue, this section focuses on a different content management-related product, providing an overview of information specifically targeted to publishers.

For the past decade, XMetaL has been a leader in the SGML/XML editing tools arena. However, with the rapid growth in the use of XML and the proliferation of applications entering this space, Corel has decided to alter the XMetaL strategy slightly with an eye toward the future (and its competition). Following both the recent rollout of Adobe's Document Server and a major upgrade of Altova's XMLSpy application, and preceding a much-anticipated Office 11 and InfoPath (formerly XDocs) software from Microsoft, the latest release from Corel offers a suite of integrated tools aiming to smooth the transition from authored content to a central repository of structured XML content.

In the previous releases of XMetaL, all of the development and authoring needed to be accomplished within a single product, which would leave either the author or the developer with unnecessary overhead. Version 4 essentially provides a different toolkit for each of the content players. XMetaL Author is now the fully-customizable document creation and editing application geared to the author, and is the first such application to support both DTD and W3C XML Schema. Authors who are accustomed to word-processing-like interfaces will appreciate the new interface and associated tools, such as spelling and thesaurus functions, which Corel has leveraged from their WordPerfect and Ventura products. There are also collaborative tools for editing files in a multi-user environment, including revision marking to help streamline the review process. The XMetaL Author tool also provides a simplified means for authors to add tables to documents, to easily view the document tree structure, and to preview the document in HTML via CSS and XSLT. It includes full Unicode support, and can support multiple namespaces using XML Schema.

XMetaL Developer gives the developer the means to create customized user interfaces for Author, as well as create and maintain integration points between XMetaL and other systems. For instance, because the user interface is fully customizable, the developer could create custom interfaces to sync up with the company's existing content management system. In fact, Corel has already built several of these integrations, with products like Documentum and Interwoven. Developers can use familiar scripting languages (Jscript and VBScript), standards-based styling languages such as CSS and XSLT, and access to an extensive set of java classes and DOM support. An XMetaL Forms toolkit is also available to create access to the XML content and external relational database data as well.

Perhaps one of the best new features is the XMetaL for ActiveX, a customizable authoring control that allows XML authoring in any ActiveX-compatible application, and allows all of the document and view controls available in Author. This means that XML editorial controls can be used in web pages, email messages, and any other custom Microsoft-based application. On a side note, competitor Altova released a web-based authoring tool called Authentic 6 months earlier, and about 3 weeks ago, Altova announced that it is making Authentic available for free. According to the Altova web site, the free application has been downloaded by over 200,000 users in the first 2 weeks.

Finally, XMetaL Central Server provides a repository of XML documents, complete with versioning, user maintenance, and the browser-based interface for developer access. It also includes WebDAV support and simplifies the deployment of customizations across the enterprise.

Product Highlights

Product: Corel XMetaL 4
Vendor: Corel (www.corel.com)
Categories: XML Editing, Development, XML Server
Select Partners: Documentum; Interwoven
Cost: (single-user licensing—excludes volume discounts/tiered pricing)
XMetaL Developer: $740 / $444 upgrade
XMetaL Author: $402 / $159
XMetaL for ActiveX: $402 / $159
XMetaL Central: TBA/Call for pricing
Recent Activity: Feb 03: Releases new XMetaL version 4 component suite
Oct 02: Corel announces XMetaL-Central (server-based XML environment manager)
Aug 01: Corel acquires Softquad Software, Ltd.

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