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Circus-DTE for Database-to-XML Conversions

Xerox Makes New Programming Language for Document Transformations Available for 'Test Drive'

Early Adopters Can Try Out Promising Software, Provide Feedback On Emerging Technologies at Xerox-RIT Site

Rochester, NY, USA. January 08, 2003.

An experimental programming language now available for testing makes it easy to transform documents and data between specific formats so that documents can be read no matter what application or device is used. It's posted on, a site that is jointly managed by Xerox Corporation and Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) for programmers and software developers who want to try out promising software from both commercial and academic research centers.

This is among the most recent of eight emerging technologies that have been added to, which celebrated its first anniversary in November. The site is designed to move research out of labs and into products faster. The new language, called Circus-DTE, is a research project developed at the Xerox Research Centre of Europe in Grenoble, France.

Circus-DTE is designed for a world where document portals are everywhere and documents and data must move from one to another on the Web or in business processes, so-called "document transformations."

Until now, there was no middle ground for document transformations between a general-purpose, low-level language that required lengthy development of complex algorithms and a high-level, but inflexible approach. Circus-DTE answers that need. A specialized programming language, it is particularly suited to data processing or the transformation of structured documents, and it automatically validates the results produced so that input into another application is sure to function properly. Circus-DTE instantly translates the document so it can be viewed from a PDA, mobile phone or laptop with a variety of applications.

XRCE scientists believe that Circus-DTE could be especially useful when there are multiple document transformations, such as document content processing, Internet publishing, publishing on handheld devices and database-to-XML conversions. For example, processing a customer order requires a series of transformations -- data must be input into applications that check inventory and availability, that prepare shipping documentation, that generate an invoice, that process payments and perhaps even publish to the Web so a customer can track progress online.

"AlphaAve seems to be meeting a need in the developer community for access to emerging technologies that can be adapted to their own applications," said Robert Campbell, who coordinates Xerox's participation in the site. "The software posted has already been downloaded more than 5,000 times, with interest coming from universities, private companies, individuals and government organizations."

RIT uploaded its first technology last June - a "middleware toolkit" to enable networking between mobile wireless devices, noted Jeffrey Lasky, director of RIT's Laboratory for Applied Computing, which maintains the site. "The RIT application is another example of how alphaAve will help organizations find technologies they need without the heavy R&D costs," he adds.

Since alphaAve was first launched in November 2001 with six technologies, Xerox laboratories have added additional technologies:

  • The Xerox Particle Simulation Environment, a breakthrough tool that can study far-ranging phenomenon -- from the behavior of charged particles in cloud systems to the movement of droplets sprayed from an atomizer -- came out of Xerox's Wilson Center for Research and Technology. A modeling tool for the optimization of complex systems interacting with powders and other particulate materials, the software employs 3-D models and visualization tools to gain deep insight into otherwise unobservable phenomena. Xerox uses XPSE to understand the role that subtle variations in particle size and charge play in determining the placement of toner in an image. This tool will be useful in fundamental research as well as in industry, where it can reduce development costs and improve time to market.

  • Automatic Image Enhancement is a simple tool that works with images in virtually any format to automatically give them the best possible visual quality. It provides intelligently selected corrections to photographic images, correcting for common image quality problems such as exposure, color balance and sharpness. AIE operates in near-to-real time for most images, providing the untrained user with a simple and productive means to correct common problems associated with displaying or printing pleasing images.

  • STITCH-CLF is a sophisticated middleware tool from XRCE that enables developers to rapidly harness heterogeneous and distributed resources (such as databases, services, legacy systems, printers and PDAs) into a single solution. It should be useful for integrating highly distributed enterprise applications.

  • XIP-Light works faster and more easily than existing parsing technologies. Developed at XRCE, it is a tool that allows users to extract knowledge from text, including newspapers, journals, and Web sites. The software can be used for specialized or generalized information extraction and knowledge management applications.

  • Exills demonstrates an interactive language-learning platform where users play a virtual reality game that improves their oral and written comprehension of a foreign language. Exills is based on XRCE's expertise in linguistic and collaborative technologies.

  • Popout Prism Browser. The Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), a Xerox subsidiary, is making the Popout Prism Browser available on alphaAve. It improves Web navigation by providing a thumbnail overview of Web pages with attention-grabbing "popouts" that are generated dynamically based on user-specified URLs and key words. It speeds searches in long documents and in large collections of documents.

Software developers and programmers wishing to check out Circus-DTE or any of the other technologies can download them from The site is the first to offer experimental software from both commercial and academic laboratories.

Prepared by Robin Cover for The XML Cover Pages archive. See details in the 2003-01-08 news item "Xerox Announces Circus-DTE Programming Language for Document Transformation."

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