Corel begins XML push

The Canadian software maker announces two new XML tools Tuesday in an effort to jump-start its next phase of its financial recovery.

Canadian software maker Corel announced two new XML tools Tuesday in an effort to jump-start its next phase of its financial recovery.

The new products are Smart Graphics Studio, a new version of the Canadian software maker's popular drawing package that embeds XML data into images, and XMetal 4, a collection of tools for creating XML-based applications.

The Extensible Markup Language, or XML, has emerged as the standard for embedding interactive features into documents.

Smart Graphics Studio will use XML to create "smart images" such as interactive maps and architectural drawings.

"Corel has quite a bit of expertise in helping people create graphics," said Ian LeGrow, Corel's executive vice president for new ventures. "Now we're providing an interface so they can wire up to back-end services."

Corel's advantages in the XML market include familiar authoring environments and use of open standards such as Scalable Vector Graphics ( SVG ), the main output format for Smart Graphics Studio. "SVG is a great format that we've had a role in shaping, so we know it does everything we need," LeGrow said.

Corel Chief Executive Derkey Burney has said that XML presents a major growth area for the company. Corel will embed XML functions into familiar authoring environments such as Graphics Studio and WordPerfect, allowing ordinary software users to tap into the benefits of XML applications.

Analysts have expressed doubts about the strategy, however, noting that it collides with rival Adobe System's more comprehensive " network publishing " strategy.

Smart Graphics Studio will be released in mid-2003, while XMetal 4 is set to arrive early next year. Prices for both have not yet been announced.

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