General XMetaL Discussion

XMetaL Community Forum General XMetaL Discussion Query: XMetal Author for Server-side Publishing and XMetal Developer

  • jenoosia

    Query: XMetal Author for Server-side Publishing and XMetal Developer

    Participants 0
    Replies 1
    Last Activity 11 years, 6 months ago


    We're investigating which authoring tool best suits the needs of our particular project currently, and we'd like to ask some questions regarding some features of XMetal Author and Developer:

    1. Is it technically feasible to use the embedded RenderX engine for server-side publishing? If yes, does the XMetal Author license cover such usage? Ideally, we would be using XMetal author as an authoring tool for our users, but if we can configure the included RenderX engine in the product to also publish XML documents on our server, we wouldn't need to look for another server-side publishing engine.

    2. We are mainly a Java shop. If we were to use XMetal Developer to extend Author's UI and functionality, would we still need a copy of MS Visual Studio for development purposes?

    3. We plan to develop a custom CMS solution for storing our documents. Is it easy to build a bridge from our custom solution to XMetal? Also, would this cause issues for DITA cross-references/linkages to external documents (e.g. link resolution, no way to check broken links)?

    Thanks and regards. =)


    Derek Read

    Reply to: Query: XMetal Author for Server-side Publishing and XMetal Developer

    1. It might be possible but doing so would go against the license we provide for XEP that we bundle as part of any purchase of XMetaL Author Enterprise. RenderX sells server licenses (we do not) so it would be best to contact them about your needs here. The license we include is meant to run XEP in conjunction with XMetaL Author Enterprise on the user's machine where XMetaL Author Enterprise is installed.

    2. Without Visual Studio installed you cannot install XMetaL Developer as it is a plug-in for VS. However, you do not necessarily need XMetaL Developer to create customizations for XMetaL Author (some of our clients specifically choose not to use it as most of their development is done in scripting languages such as PerlScript or Python that they feel are better served by other editing environments). If you do not use XMetaL Developer you will need to figure out the various formats of the files that make up an XMetaL customization (most of them are XML or plain text such as the CSS file). The two file types that require XMetaL Developer are XFT (XMetaL forms) and the XAC file (both are binary files). However, XMetaL Author can consume customizations that are not packaged in the XAC file format just as well as those that are (and many clients actually prefer to not use XAC). So, if you do not require XFT files you can customize the product without XMetaL Developer. We do not provide detailed documentation on any file formats however as we expect people to use XMetaL Developer. Our Java samples ship with XMetaL Developer. We do make the documentation that ships with XMetaL Developer (the [url=]”Customization Guide” and the “Programmers Guide”[/url]) available from our main website.

    3. The most important factors in building a “connector” are: your development skill set, familiarity with your CMS, and familiarity with the “XMetaL Connector” SDK. You will need to contact our partner manager (you can do this through our sales team) to obtain the XMetaL Connector SDK (which consists primarily of documentation that describes all the APIs you must use to enable any particular CMS connectivity feature from the list of standardized actions we support). Average development time (my estimate) ranges from 3 to 6 person months depending on skill set and the complexity of the CMS that is being developed for. The SDK is generally only provided to partners that can dedicate resources to building a connector. As such you generally need to have signed a special agreement (hence the need to contact our partner manager).

    If you create a connector using XMetaL Connector all of the DITA linking and other functionality should automatically “just work” as we thoroughly test our DITA code against XMetaL Connector (and using the three CMS integrations that we maintain that are built using XMetaL Connector). However, we generally do not support the mixing of files located within a CMS and those located on the local file system. This might be made to work for DITA documents, however I don't know what custom code might be necessary and none of the CMS integrations we maintain officially support such functionality (Documentum, FileNet, and SharePoint). If this is a real need it would be best to follow this up as part of your SDK inquiries so that your specific needs can be answered through discussion with the development team.


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