General XMetaL Discussion

  • dinyar

    Windows 7 64-bit

    Participants 2
    Replies 3
    Last Activity 13 years, 4 months ago


    I'm got a new PC with 4GB of RAM and Windows Vista preinstalled and I am going to order the Windows 7 upgrade. Is there any news on XMetal Author's 64-bit compatibility?

    Thanks in advance,



    Derek Read

    Reply to: Windows 7 64-bit

    We will probably not release a fully Windows 7 supporting version until the new year.

    The next release of XMetaL Author Essential and Enterprise (due out hopefully later this fall) will continue to officially support 32-bit versions of XP and Vista only (as our current 5.5 release does).

    The 64-bit versions of Windows should allow our software to install and run but in 32-bit mode (XP and Vista have this feature as should Windows 7 I believe) until we specifically support 64-bit.

    Preliminary testing shows no major issues (in fact none that I'm aware of) with the pre-release versions of Windows 7 but that does not mean there will be no issues that require us to make adjustments to our products. We made major changes with our 5.5 release to support Vista (specifically to address security, UAC and support for 'limited users') so hopefully anything we do need to do for Windows 7 will be minor in comparison.

    Windows 7 also has a compatibility mode feature that may help if you do run into issues attempting to run the 5.5 release there — note however, that I need to state that we cannot officially recommend this. Use your favourite search engine with keywords “Windows 7 XP mode” or “Windows 7 XPM” (or similar) to find information on this topic. Microsoft doesn't seem to be very vocal about it themselves as I write this, but perhaps that will change.



    Reply to: Windows 7 64-bit

    Would a native 64-bit version of XMetaL matter in terms of performance? I mean, aside from being able to edit 8 GB XML files? 😉


    Derek Read

    Reply to: Windows 7 64-bit

    One advantage of moving to a 64-bit version of Windows (even if we don't specifically recompile XMetaL itself as a native 64-bit application) might be for people that use the DITA Open Toolkit to produce output. A lot of that processing is done using Java and Java needs to pre-allocate memory. On 32-bit versions of Windows there is effectively a limitation of 2GB per process, so it is possible (and actually not too difficult given a large enough map file referencing many topic) to hit this limit because the DITA OT uses a single Java process.

    However, because a lot of what the DITA OT does is very IO intensive (disk reads and writes) simply running it on a 64-bit OS may not actually mean you could generate output any faster. It just means that the DITA OT would actually be able to produce output for large documents without running into a Java “out of memory” error at the 2GB threshold.

    We would need to weigh the pros against any cons when deciding to release a native 64-bit version of XMetaL Author.

    So, at the moment I believe when we release a version certified to install and run on any 64-bit version of Windows, the application, or most of the application anyway, will actually still probably be 32-bit. These are not things most people need to worry about though. If we see advantages to rewriting portions or all of the application to be fully 64-bit we will likely eventually do that. In most cases people simply want to know if they will be able to install and run the application on 64-bit versions of Windows without any issues, and the answer is that we do plan to make that possible.

    Keep in mind that you are free to install the DITA Open Toolkit on a server (or at least some super-duper dedicated machine) and configure it to produce output from DITA documents. We have some CMS partners that do this for their clients and in those cases the DITA OT we bundle effectively becomes a form of limited preview on your local machine with the “real” final output being generated on the special DITA OT server (which may be highly customized to meet corporate standards, etc). In this case you are not limited to a particular Windows version for the server, and you are not even limited to using Windows.


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