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IBM Unveils Emerging Technologies Tools

IBM has released three new XML development tools for its Emerging Technologies Toolkit, a collection of free tools aimed at familiarizing developers with areas that the company sees as strategic to its vision of computing going forward.

As of Monday, the ETTK, as it’s called, added a compound XML document editor, an XML forms generator and enhancements to the Java language to enable it to better process XML.

The toolkit itself contains a collection of emerging technologies tools from IBM's software development and research labs, and is released to IBM developers under the aegis of alphaWorks, the company’s emerging technology Web site. “It’s a showcase for IBM’s research labs,” says Marc Goubert, manager of alphaWorks.

Among alphaWorks’ goals are to expand communication between developers and IBM with the hope of fostering innovation, as well as to encourage developers to take advantage of emerging standards.

Reflecting these goals, the tools are free but the license to use the technologies does not extend to creating either commercial or redistributable code. Additionally, though the tools are not pre-release versions of IBM products, that is not to say they are just demo-ware. “Many of these technologies will eventually end up in IBM products,” Goubert says.

The editor and forms generator are plug-ins for the Eclipse open source IDE, which was originally developed by IBM and runs on Windows, Linux and the Mac OS, according to Goubert.

The new compound XML document editor enables the creation, editing, and serialization of XML documents that are comprised of multiple XML dialects. It uses Eclipse Modeling Framework (EMF) models to define the semantics of constructing documents spanning one or more namespaces, according to a company statement. Those semantics include the order and placement of elements, the allowable child elements, and available attributes for each element.

The XML Forms Generator takes a model-driven approach to forms generation, using as a starting point either Web Service Description Language (WSDL) documents or XML instance documents having Eclipse Modeling Description (EMF) backing models. The generated forms adhere to the XHTML and XForms 1.0 standards, and can be viewed in XHTML or XForms renderers, the company’s statement says.

The XML Enhancements for Java (XJ) provide a set of extensions to Java 1.4 that integrate support for XML, XML Schema, and XPath 1.0 into the Java programming language. The XJ package includes a compiler and an execution environment analogous to Java. All Java programs can be compiled "as is" without modifications, using the compiler, and can be run using XJ, according to IBM”s statement.

About the Author

Stuart J. Johnston has covered technology, especially Microsoft, since February 1988 for InfoWorld, Computerworld, Information Week, and PC World, as well as for Enterprise Developer, XML & Web Services, and .NET magazines.

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