Resources for Your Developer Toolbox
Transform XML Technologies
XMLSpy 2005 by Altova is an XML development environment for modeling, editing, debugging, and transforming all XML technologies. It implements the W3C's new XSLT 2.0 and XPath 2.0 specs, and provides native support for XQuery 1.0. It also automatically generates code in C++, C#, or Java-language class files based on data elements defined in a schema. If I devoted this whole column to XMLSpy 2005, I still couldn't list all its features.
XMLSpy 2005 lets you tackle Web services development on all of the major Web services platforms. You can integrate it into Visual Studio® .NET 2002 and 2003; then you can use the views and functionality of XMLSpy 2005 right from the Visual Studio .NET toolbar. You can also access many of the powerful XMLSpy 2005 functions programmatically using the COM or Java-language systems integration API.
In addition, XMLSpy 2005 includes SchemaAgent, a graphical client/server schema administration tool that allows you to view a collection of schemas as a pool of resources. You can access schema files stored in any standard repository, and all changes are automatically saved back to the repository and reflected on the other clients in the workgroup.
The XML Schema Design/WSDL View, shown in the accompanying screen shot, lets you perform visual design and editing for your XML interfaces. The Enhanced Grid View gives you a spreadsheet style tool for performing XML editing operations on the document as a whole, instead of line-by-line. There is also a SOAP debugger built right in.
Price: XMLSpy 2005 Professional Edition starts at $499 for a single-user license, XMLSpy 2005 Enterprise Edition starts at $999, and XMLSpy 2005 Home Edition is available for free.
Identify the Location of Your Visitors
IP2Location.com, from Hexa Software Development Center, provides Internet-based geo-location software and services for the e-commerce industry. IP2Location is a database that identifies the geographical location of IP addresses being used in Internet address space. You can use it to identify the geographic location of your Web site visitors by their IP addresses.
Knowing the location of your visitors in real time opens the door to automatically offering localized, customized content and advertising, improving the user experience and increasing satisfaction along with click-throughs.
But, most importantly for e-business Web sites, the IP2Location database provides the information that will let you identify suspicious Internet orders, reduce charge-backs, avoid orders from high-risk countries, display native currency on order forms, and calculate correct tax fees based on country and regions.
The complete IP2Location database contains more than 2.5 million records for all IP addresses. The company reports that it has over 95 percent matching accuracy at the country level. There are a couple of instances where it won't help you much, specifically when dealing with subscribers of ISPs like AOL, who issue all their users IP addresses out of Reston, VA regardless of where they live.
Price:$499 per year; the database is available via download with free monthly updates.
All About PE Files
When I found this handy tool, I wasn't looking for a disassembler, but I was searching for a tool that could reset time and date stamps on a group of files. One of my servers had been hacked and the dates on several files were modified in their root kit to be several years old, so that they would not show up as "new" files during my routine server sweeps.
The old dates on the files got the security guys thinking that the server had been hacked years earlier, but the fact that the server was only six months old didn't convince them otherwise, so I decided that I needed to prove my point.
PE Explorer, by Heaventools Software, can reset time and date stamps, a relatively minor feature of this product as it turns out. It also gives you a clear view of portable executable (PE) file structure and all of the resources in the file. It tells you just about every little detail you could possibly want to know about a PE file. Once you get inside, you can analyze and optimize the file structure, diagnose problems, make changes, repair or replace resources, and track down spyware, even if you do not have the source code and even if its original developers are long gone.
Besides being an effective resource editor, PE Explorer also gives you an API function syntax lookup, dependency scanner, section editor, and an easy-to-use disassembler for generating annotated code dumps.
Price: Personal license $129. Single-user business license $199.
Both CodeSMART 2005 for Visual Basic 6.0 and CodeSMART 2003 for Visual Studio .NET, released by AXTools, are multipurpose add-ins that have long lists of features that will boost your productivity and help you write cleaner code faster. Both install into their respective IDEs to become an integrated part of the development environment.
The standard features that are more or less common to both offerings include auto-text completion for blocks of code, tools and templates to help you create complex interfaces, objects, exception handlers, and formatter classes.
CodeSMART 2005 for Visual Basic® 6.0 has several distinct features that give you improved ways to view and understand your code. You get the CodeSMART Project Explorer, with its expandable code, emphasizing color, type and scope distinction, customizable sorting, and more. There is also a "logical view" in Project Explorer that uses virtual folders.
The Designer Explorer shows you a tree view of the control hierarchy in your project and gives you a roadmap of the layout, making it easy to control navigation. You can create shortcuts in the Workbench window that will let you navigate to functions, properties, and classes. Code Flow view lets you follow the logic structure inside your methods.
Price: Single-user license of CodeSMART for Visual Basic 6.0 or Visual Studio .NET is $189; combined cost is $299.
Printing Documents as PDF Files
Print2PDF by Software602 Inc is a server-based printer driver that produces version 1.3 or 1.4 PDF files that retain the formatting and appearance of the original and can be viewed using the free Adobe Acrobat Reader. Network users download the Print2PDF network print driver and "print" any document as a PDF file from any application that has a print command.
The program supports 40-bit or 128-bit RC4 encryption and two levels of password protection. Print2PDF has a "Stamp" feature that allows users to set their own watermark, such as a corporate logo or signature, directly into the document. The program supports both portrait and landscape orientations, multiple paper sizes, document resolution from 96 to 600 DPI, and multiple image compression options to ensure top print quality.
Price: Print2PDF 4.0 Server Edition is $299.95 for up to 25 users, $899.95 for 26 to 100 users, and $1,999.95 for an unlimited user license.
A Guide to Real World Web Services
Real World Web Services, by Will Iverson (O'Reilly), guides developers through the building of eight Web applications. The heart of the book is a series of projects that demonstrate the use and integration of Google, Amazon, eBay, PayPal, FedEx, and many other Web services.
The book documents how to add functionality such as automating listings for auctions, dynamically calculating shipping fees, automatically sending faxes to suppliers, using an aggregator to pull data from multiple news and Web service feeds into a single format, and monitoring the latest blog discussions and Google searches to keep Web site visitors current with topics of interest. For each example application, Iverson provides an overview, architecture description, and working code examples.
Price: $29.95, 207 pages.
All prices were confirmed at press time and are subject to change.
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is president of Internet Development Associates (Ideva), a firm in Ocala, Florida, that specializes in Internet and intranet Web application design and development. She has published technical papers and books on various computing topics. You can reach her at email@example.com