Ottawa’s Corel Corp.
is giving no quarter to the likes
of Microsoft and Adobe in the XML content creation and deployment space,
rolling out a souped-up version of its XMetaL platform that adds support for
the ActiveX technology.
By adding support for Microsoft’s
Corel’s new XMetaL 4 platform, Corel’s pitch is to simplify the
implementation of XML
extend XML authoring power to any ActiveX-compliant application,
including Web browsers. The company touts XMetaL 4 as the only XML editing
platform that supports dynamic validation for both DTDs and W3C Schemas.
“This is a big upgrade for us. We’ve created four components for both
developers and end users,” XMetaL product manager Shawn Henderson told
internetnews.com, noting the simultaneous rollout of the Smart
Graphics Studio, the latest iteration of Corel’s technology that embeds XML
data into images.
“Now, enterprise clients can create applications that
will enable end users to create XML virtually anywhere,” he added.
Henderson said pricing details of XMetaL4 would not be available until the product ships in early 2003.
He said new support for ActiveX would push XML content creation beyond
the traditional word-processor environments and allow XML editing to take
place virtually anywhere. “[This] competes against traditional
word-processors trying to get enterprises to move from an unstructured
format to a structured XML format,” Henderson explained.
The Corel XMetaL upgrade, which was unveiled at the XML 2002 Conference
and Exposition in Baltimore, comes just days after rival Adobe rolled
out its Document Server and Adobe Document Server for Reader Extensions,
the latest server-side tools being marketed to clients looking to integrate
enterprise applications with document workflows.
With the Microsoft also competing in the space through its XDocs XML-based application, Corel
could find the going tough when XMetaL 4 ships next year.
Henderson conceded XMetaL was “relatively similar” to XDocs but argued it
could seen as complementary because its all XML-based. “If you create an
XML document in XDocs, you can move it around to our interface. We are
providing tight integration with content management systems to chunk up
documents, re-use documents or easily update documents,” he added.
At its heart, XDocs is being styled by Microsoft as an XML authoring tool
designed to help businesses capture data. Microsoft spokesperson Catherine Brooker told
internetnews.com XDocs would let users create rich text forms that
teammates can use to capture all their information through a single
interface. “With XDocs, users will be able to define how they want the
information entered, as well as how it should be used by back end systems
throughout the company,” Brooker said.
Within XDocs, all the data is saved and stored using the XML standard,
which clears the way for the data to be distributed and used by any backend
system that supports XML, including CRM, and ERP
For Corel, the strategy is a four-prong approach targeting both
developers and end users. Henderson said the XMetaL 4 platform, which will
be marketed primarily to high-end enterprises, would include four
components — Corel XMetaL Author, Corel XMetaL for ActiveX, Corel XMetaL
Corel XMetaL Central.
The XMetaL Author is an XML authoring environment that lets users create
well-formed XML documents. It includes writing tools featured in Corel
Ventura and WordPerfect Office as well as support for DTDs and Schema. The
XMetaL for ActiveX authoring interface lets developers embed into any
ActiveX-compliant Windows application, including Web browsers.
Corel’s XMetaL Developer is styled as a development environment for
creating XMetaL customizations and applications. It is designed as a plug-in
Microsoft Visual Studio.NET and lets developers use
existing Web programming skills in Script, COM and DOM to create
customizations for both XMetaL Author and XMetaL for ActiveX.
The Developer component also allows the creation and edition of Cascading
Style Sheets (CSS) and
includes the Corel XMetaL Forms Toolkit for creating custom forms
Henderson said the XMetaL Central component provides a server-based XML
environment management tool that looks to simplify deployment and
maintenance of XML applications across an organization.
The Canada-based firm also unveiled the Smart Graphics Studio development
platform which promises to speed up the creation of SVG-based smart
graphics — a new form of graphics-rich Web applications.