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Corel Unwraps Smart Graphics Studio

Corel Wednesday took the wraps off its new suite for connecting data with interactive Web graphics, which is designed to let application developers add visual interfaces to their structured or semi-structured applications.

The Ottawa, Canada firm's Smart Graphics Studio relies on the World Wide Web Consortium-certified Scalabale Vector Graphics schema for visualizing information using XML . SVG, some say, is comparable to Macromedia's Flash technology in functionality, and is supported by Microsoft, Adobe and other large companies.

Ian LeGrow, executive vice president of new ventures at Corel, said his firm used SVG because there is a critical gap between complex data, business application logic and the distributed methods to interact with them. Using SVG, the "smart graphics" approach helps developers get more out of Web services .

Some analysts, such as ZapThink Senior Analyst Ronald Schmelzer, see the value in Corel's Smart Graphics Studio as a unique approach in a sea of Web services strategies geared to link applications together.

Schmelzer told internetnews.com the product combines the descriptive power of XML with the publishing and presentation capabilities of Corel's flagship product line.

"In essence, by adding SVG to the mix, Corel is focusing on an underserved market: companies and individuals looking to value-add their semi-structured content and structured information by providing potent visualization capabilities on top of their data. Operating somewhere between business intelligence and data aggregation, the Smart Graphics product is filling a void that is unmet by existing vendors," he said.

At a time when vendors like Microsoft, IBM and others are aiming to create as much info as possible in XML format, business intelligence and analytics vendors are looking to make greater use of structured content.

"Smart Graphics sits between, and enhances, both of these markets by providing a means by which companies can leverage their increasing repositories of XML-formatted data and present the information in a way that can be consumed by business intelligence, analytics, portal, or enterprise applications of all types," Schmelzer said.

Smart Graphics Studio has four components: Corel Developer SG, Corel Process Builder, Corel Server SG and Corel SVG Viewer.

Corel Developer SG features a Design Window to create design client interfaces while working in a visual development environment, a Template Builder for preparing SVG documents with dynamic objects for data mappings and a Data Mapper to define the connections between the inputs of an SVG template and an XML source.

Corel Process Builder lets developers build processes for binding data sources and generating graphics on the fly without complex hand coding. Corel Server SG manages and transforms application data and images.

Lastly, Corel SVG Viewer is a Web browser plug-in that lets developers view and interact with the SVG graphics as they create their application interface. It features an ActiveX control for integration with enterprise applications.

Corel Smart Graphics Studio is sold in a box for $1199 or as a download for $1049. Pricing for Corel Server SG starts at $3,999 and server modules to support Web services, imaging, and run-time conversion will be available for additional costs ranging from $999 to $5999. Server pricing is per CPU.