Tools for Toolmakers

January 10, 1998

Seybold Report on Internet Publishing
Vol 2, No 5
January, 1998

Several companies and individuals have made available new toolkits for application programmers.

James Clark has released XML-enabled versions of his tools as well as test files for benchmarking XML compliance and processing speed. See for details.

DataChannel ( continues the XML-ification of its channel management system by extending use of the markup language to message exchange as well as meta-content. DataChannel is preparing what it calls DXDE, or DataChannel XML Developer Environment, which will include DXP, an updated version of the NXP parser; Pax Syntactica, which is a lightweight well-formed parser (not a validating parser); and interfaces to three types of object representations: the browser document object model, DSSSL groves and SGML element structure information. The current plan is to release this package of utilities, with documentation and sample code, without charge.

Copernican’s Java suite. Copernican Solutions was showing a suite of development applications, including a Java SGML Parsing Interface software development kit for access to an SGML processor and entity manager; a Document Application Environment (DAE) SDK for applications written in Java and Scheme; and an object-oriented Web server with the DAE functions that its president and principal researcher, Alexander Milowski, calls a DAE Server. Pricing for each of these is under $600 for the first developer’s license. The usual run-time and volume licensing price breaks apply. The Copernican Solutions technology uses the SP parser from James Clark and is written in Java.

Integrator offers programming environment. SGML Technologies is an SGML consulting and integration company. In the course of various SGML projects, it has developed software tools specifically for doing SGML development work. Now, it’s decided to offer the tools to the SGML developers’ community at large.

An "alpha" version of the programming environment was shown at SGML/XML ’97. It consists primarily of a parser integrated with a programming language. The combination lets the programmer initiate processing based on events that occur during parsing. That means the program can be sensitive to (or triggered by) the SGML context. There are also pattern-matching tools, so that the document content can be the basis for processing as well. The language supports calls to the operating system (to store and retrieve data in files, for example) and to databases.

There are good tools for setting breakpoints and for single-stepping through the program, so the user can see exactly how the processing proceeds. (In fact, these features also make it a good instructional tool for exploring the parsing process.)