Data Junction, a provider of easy-to-use data transformation engines, has eliminated the possibility of any new competitors for its newest product, XML Junction, by offering it for free over its Web site. That's right, for free. XML Junction seeks to ease the pain that many companies are experiencing when converting their data into XML, a format that allows infinite parse and sort abilities. The tool is particularly intended for the e-marketplace, where many trading partners connect their differing data repositories and applications to a centralized platform.
XML has been touted by most as the future of the Web because of its ability to serve up data across many platforms, but it is the translation into the XML format which is causing headaches. "Our largest competitor is custom code. That's still 80% of the market," says Bret Starr, marketing director. "The key issue here is time to market, and custom code can't exist in this atmosphere. It takes too long and you have a tight labor market. This is a tools market."
XML Junction, Starr explains, was easy to design because it relies on 15 years of development that went into the Data Junction translation engine. Unlike other systems which might seek to wrap data in XML, XML Junction actually transforms the data. Speaking again to the tight IT labor market, the tool was designed as a simple drag-and-drop process that can be completed even by a novice."It doesn't require people to write any code," Starr professes. "Within a visual interface, people navigate to the source file as they would in any Windows application, open it up and then navigate to their target structure. Then they press run."
Regarding online exchanges, Starr says the company is still working with IBM to determine the best implementation scenario. One model would have XML Junction implemented at the hub, and participants would send their data in any format to be translated at the e-marketplace site. The other model would have XML Junction pushed out to every participant on the trading network so they can translate the data.
"There's still a lot of confusion out there about how to set these things up," Starr explains. "IBM, for instance, hasn't really fulfilled their complete product concept for e-marketplaces."
The free offer will not last forever, the company will begin charging for it within the next six to nine months and its proposed price is $895. Starr admits that the intention behind the free offer is to drive users back to Data Junction to buy the complete Data Junction package with its more robust functionality. Data Junction costs $1995 for the enterprise edition, $995 for the professional version and $495 for the personal.