ANN: Amara XML Toolkit 1.1.9

Uche Ogbuji uche at
Sat Sep 16 05:59:03 CEST 2006

Changes since Amara 1.1.7:

* Add support for EasyInstall; other packaging & installer improvements
  - Note: allinone package eliminated
* Add trimxml command line utility (for running reports on XML files)
* Switch to Docbook for documentation source
* Bindery: Add support for dict-like accessors
* Tenorsax: Restore support for PySax
* Scimitar: Implement abstract rules
* Scimitar: Update Schematron namespace to ISO
* Scimitar: Implement phases
* Scimitar: Support Schematron queryBinding attribute: XPath, XSLT, EXSLT
* Add binderytools.fixup_namespaces function
* Add binderytools.quick_xml_scan function
* Fix APIs for adding comments and PIs
* Fix domtools.abs_path to be more namespace aware
* Bug fixes

Amara XML Toolkit is a collection of Python tools for XML processing--
not just tools that happen to be written in Python, but tools built from
the ground up to use Python's conventions and take advantage of the many
advantages of teh language.

Amara builds on 4Suite [], but whereas 4Suite offers
more on literal implementation of XML standards in Python, Amara
focuses on Pythonic idiom.  It provides tools you can trust to conform
with XML standards without losing the familiar Python feel.

The components of Amara are:

* Bindery: data binding tool (a very Pythonic XML API)
* Scimitar: implementation of the ISO Schematron schema language for
            XML; converts Schematron files to Python scripts
* domtools: set of tools to augment Python DOMs
* saxtools: set of tools to make SAX easier to use in Python
* Flextyper: user-defined datatypes in Python for XML processing

There's a lot in Amara, but here are highlights:

Amara Bindery: XML as easy as py

Bindery turns an XML document into a tree of Python objects corresponding to
the vocabulary used in the XML document, for maximum clarity.  For example,
the document

  <python spam="eggs">What do you mean "bleh"</python>
  <python ministry="abuse">But I was looking for argument</python>

Becomes a data structure such that you can write


In order to get the value "eggs" or


In order to get the value "But I was looking for argument".

There are other such tools for Python, and what makes Bindery unique is
that it's driven by a very declarative rules-based system for binding
XML to the Python data.  You can register rules that are triggered by
XPattern expressions specialized binding behavior.  It includes XPath
support and supports mutation.  Bindery is fairly efficient, using SAX
to generate bindings.

Scimitar: Schematron for Pytthon

Scimitar is an implementation of ISO Schematron that compiles a
Schematron schema into a Python validator script.

You typically use scimitar in two phases.  Say you have a schematron
schema schema1.stron and you want to validate multiple XML files
against it, instance1.xml, instance2.xml, instance3.xml.

First you run schema1.stron through the scimitar compiler script, schema1.sch

The generated file,, can be used to validate XML instances:

python instance1.xml

Which emits a validation report.

Amara DOM Tools: giving DOM a more Pythonic face

DOM came from the Java world, hardly the most Pythonic API possible.
Some DOM-like implementations such as 4Suite's Domlettes mix in some
Pythonic idiom. Amara DOM Tools goes even further.

Amara DOM Tools feature pushdom, similar to xml.dom.pulldom, but
easier to use.  It also includes Python generator-based tools for
DOM processing, and a function to return an XPath location for
any DOM node.

Amara SAX Tools: SAX without the brain explosion

Tenorsax (amara.saxtools.tenorsax) is a framework for "linerarizing" SAX
logic so that it flows more naturally, and needs a lot less state
machine wizardry.


Amara is open source, provided under the 4Suite variant of the Apache
license.  See the file COPYING for details.


Amara 1.1.9 requires Python 2.3 or more recent and 4Suite-XML 1.0rc4 or more
recent.  The easiest way to install it is:

easy_install amara

If this does not work you are probably not set up for easy_install and I
suggest you follow the simple instructions at

easy_install will automatically take care of installing dependencies for
you.  If you prefer not to use easy_install, then grab a 4Suite-XML package
morerecent than 1.0rc4 and install that, then install the Amara package
using the usual:

python install

Or a Windows installer, or other method.

Uche Ogbuji                               Fourthought, Inc.                   

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