Arelle’s origin was a need to provide tooling for XBRL facilities, focusing on early support for technical development of standards extension modules. These stages require a way to error check and validate prototype test suites facilities before commercial tools become available.
Arelle fully integrates test cases with the object models for XBRL instances and DTSes. This allows continual verification of tool performance as it is extended and adapted by its users.
Although there has been a long and steady interest in open source facilities, the need was highlighted by the XBRL Standards Board survey project, which found two relevant and consistent feedback points, (1) the request for open source facilities, and (2) the request for an independent API.
Arelle was designed to be a minimalist facility, as a counter-response to experience with other APIs that are large, hard to learn, and not directly supportive of the XBRL extension modules. In this case, the API is compact and implemented with a bare minimum of coding. Arelle is platform independent, implemented in Python, completely from scratch.
To prove the viability of the initial API, it was suggested to assure that SEC Edgar Validation and the Versioning module were implementable, particularly as these have test suites. It was considered lesser priority to replicate functions widely available in other products, such as XML validation (this will be provided later on).
About the name: the sound of pronouncing XBRL makes a pseudonym, Ecksbee Arelle. Arelle is found on baby name websites as a valid girl’s name. A custom font was crafted for the logo, out of simple curves and angular lines, the curves to emphasize the expansive openness of the project and angular lines to represent directness of use. Wings of the a and GUI icon reflect the messenger meaning per baby name websites.