RealTime IT News

Corel Puts XML Face on Oracle Databases

Standing under the shadow of the Eiffel Tower at OracleWorld Paris, Corel officials showed off their XML application working with the Oracle 10g database.

Getting unstructured information, such as Web content, to work on an XML front-end is usually the task of a company's Web and XML programmers to develop; with XMetaL 4, Corel's signature XML content storage, delivery and creation product, programmers can work on other projects and employees can focus on putting their information in the database.

"XMetal is designed for the user that doesn't understand XML, and doesn't need to. They're the content experts who want to contribute content into the repository," said Bruce Sharpe, Corel's vice president of XML. "(Without it), you're pretty well restricted to more technically adept people to interact with the system - programmers and developers who can understand the ins and outs of XML and work with it that way.

"By adding XMetal into the mix, we've broadened the ability of a much bigger group within the enterprise to interact with that information," he added.

Corel sat out the entire Oracle 9i series of database applications -- which many customers found to be too work-intensive and more costly than competing databases -- while it focused on 10g, which will roll out to the public by the end of the year.

XMetaL is also compatible with a score of other database applications, including Documentum and Interwoven.

Tied with 10g, customers with licenses with both products can get started on creating documents "virtually out of the box," Sharpe said. Configuration time depends on the extent of the enterprise database and the projects that will be generated using the two applications.

XML has long been primarily regarded as a transactional tool for e-commerce and Web site content. Increasingly, however, companies have been turning to the programming language to put a face on activities occurring within the corporation - the database.

XMetaL, in conjunction with Corel's user interface program, Smart Graphics Studio, come together to provide what Corel officials say is a better environment for Oracle users.

"Corel Smart Graphics Studio turns complex data into easily understood graphical interfaces - making the information inherently more meaningful to business users," said Ian LeGrow, Corel vice president of Smart Graphics. "Working together with Oracle Database 10g, this is achieved by automatically linking stored SVG graphics to other database content or by dynamically generating graphics to visually represent this content."

XMetal licenses start at $499 for XMetaL Author at $499 and run up to $999 for Corel XMetaL's full developer kit, though the company does provide volume discounts. Smart Graphics studio costs $1,049 to download.

For years, Corel -- with its WordPerfect and CorelDraw applications -- has positioned itself as an alternative to software giant Microsoft and its pricey Office applications. For a while, it even made Microsoft flinch when Hewlett-Packard announced it would put WordPerfect as the default business software on its entire line of Pavilion desktop PCs.

However, in June Corel announced it would sell the company to one of its venture capital investors, Vector Capital, for $96 million, citing soft sales and increased pressure from Microsoft. Vector said it intends to take the NASDAQ-traded company private.