Using XMetaL For XML Authoring On SharePoint

A new version of an XML and DITA authoring tool that can be used with SharePoint (news, site) has been unveiled by JustSystems (news, site), the Japan-based vendor of enterprise software for information management.

Extending the SharePoint platform, XMetaL Author Enterprise provides an easy-to-use content creation solution that utilizes XML and DITA to manage content more efficiently with an interface that even novices can use.

As it stands, XML is the gold standard for scalable content that allows users to replace costly and error-prone content creation with a ‘write once and re-use often’ strategy.

The development of XMetaL Author Enterprise, introduces  a new streamlined content lifecycle solution accessible by and to all users across an entire enterprise.

Export And Import Features

While XMetaL Author is not integrated with SharePoint, it comes with import and export features, so a user can import into or export out from SharePoint DITA documents.

Combined, XMetaL and SharePoint provide an entire document lifecycle solution that should lower the cost of content creation by making it available for re-use.

Features of the XMetaL Author Enterprise include:

  • Access to content already in SharePoint libraries. It also facilitates that placement of created content in the libraries allowing enterprise-wide access to that content.
  • Check-in/Check-out function that prohibits more than one person changing the content at a given time. The edited document can then be put back into SharePoint using the XMetaL interface.
  • Leveraging SharePoint security features, particularly the permissions, which controls who can access a given document and who can edit it. This function can also be applied to specific parts of the document.
  • Easy deployment. The XMetaL app is deployed directly on the users’ machines and does not require any additional configuration of SharePoint.

Links And Reference Processing

On a wider level, this new version of XMetaL Author also includes ability to mass-import files into SharePoint keeping links between different files intact. It also processes links, conrefs and any other references contained in the document no matter how many times users update and edit those documents.

In conjunction with this is an export feature that allows users to download entire packages of files that can then be sent to others who do not have access to SharePoint. Through XMetaL’s integration with the DITA Open Toolkit, users can also preview output on their desktop and generate production-quality HTML, PDF and online help using simple menu commands even from files.

All in all, one of the drawbacks appears to be the fact that you must upgrade to XMetaL Author Enterprise 5.5 first, if you have already been using a previous version of XMetaL Author and then run a second installer to upgrade to the Enterprise version.