Object Design Ships eXcelon

March 15, 1999

Liora Alschuler

The Seybold Report on Internet Publishing
Special to

Announced at XML '98, Object Design is now shipping its XML data server called eXcelon. While the product will doubtless aggravate the tendency to refer to XML as eXtensible rather than the correct per the spec "Extensible Markup Language," it should have a more beneficent effect on object-oriented management of data and documents. Unlike object-oriented document management systems such as Chrystal's Astoria and Poet's Content Management System, eXcelon has no check-in, check-out or workflow. While Poet's and Astoria's compete to manage parts catalogs and tech doc manuals, eXcelon will be deployed as an e-commerce hub and as the centerpiece in enterprise integration. eXcelon offers Object Store support for an XML data model in three components.

An eXcelon Manager performs system administration functions. eXcelon Explorer provides a GUI to access and manage the data by dragging and dropping from folders and using ad hoc XQL queries. Users can extend the data model adding types of tags as required. eXcelon Studio is a schema design GUI that uses the symbols and concepts of OO modeling to create an XML schema written in the DCD syntax proposed as an XML schema language. (The W3C XML Schema Working Group is evaluating DCD along with other proposals for a language using XML syntax that will ultimately replace the DTD language inherited from SGML.)

While other database vendors claim that it is not practical to shred an XML instance down to the element level, Object Store Director of Product Management Vittorio Viarango states that their fast cache technology and optimized indexing allow control at the most granular level of the document without impairing performance.

Strong Standards Support

The database includes a full DOM Level 1 implementation to access each stored instance at the element level. They will update their XQL support as that proposal approaches recommendation status. While the products uses the DCD schema language which, at this point, is far from a standard specification, Viarango states that they will comply with whatever XML-based schema language comes out of the W3C. While just released on March 1, the unannounced beta version had over 2,000 downloads and the beta version is in use at Knight-Ridder,, and will be deployed within the next 2 weeks at Dell UK. Object Store does all sales through channels and expects most deployments to be through OEM arrangements such as with Manna Networks, a new website personalization product. They list about 50 current partners, not coincidentally all members of a focus group convened a year and a half ago to strategize on how to implement XML in Object Store. Object Store has a customer base of over 4,000 companies and reported $45.3 million in revenue for the first three quarters of 1998. For more information see