Notes from the XML Europe Exhibit floor
00:02, 21 May 2003 UTC | Uche Ogbuji

XML Europe 2003 demonstrated the continuing energy and innovation in the XML community, and some of the output from this activity was on display on the exhibit floor. There was the usual variety of companies displaying editors, scripting tools, XML databases, training and consulting. One important theme was on GUI tools for the unsophisticated user. Companies were showing tools which offered a variety of mainstream idioms for processing SVG, XSL FO, Topic Maps, e-business XML formats and more. There have always been such offerings on display at conferences, but the increasing proportion and sophistication at XML Europe 2003 was notable.

One of the displays that drew my particular interest showed that DSSSL is still alive and well. Next Solution Co., Ltd. is a Japanese company with several DSSSL-based products for XML publishing. NEXTStylus is a GUI tool for developing DSSSL stylesheets, and NEXTPublisher and DSSSLprint can use DSSSL scripts for print and Inernet publishing, offering a variety of advanced formatting features. was demonstrating VisualScript XML, which allows you to use a friendly charting interface to generate structured XML documents. The idea is to provide a user-friendly drag-and drop template front end in a particular usage domain, and generate XML on the back end. The example they demonstrated was an organization chart.

The user drags and drops the role boxes, happily oblivious to the fact that they are editing XML. The tool comes with built in templates and scripts for ebXML, SMIL and BPML.

Off the show floor, I was treated to an ad-hoc demo of MarrowSoft's Xselerator, a very nifty XSLT IDE for Windows. They demonstrated standard IDE features, the debugger and the built-in XPath analyzer.

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