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April 18, 1997updated 05 Sep 2016 12:55pm

VERTICAL INDUSTRIES FAVOR SGML OVER HTML

By CBR Staff Writer

While SGML proponents describe HTML as a presentation language, or ‘dumbed-down’ SGML requiring multiple repositories and document stores, SGML’s biggest PR problem is that it doesn’t readily support the most common formats in which documents and files are stored – common word processors, including Microsoft Word. Why not? Because SGML tools expect stable, predictable and consistent file formats, and most word processors are customized for particular uses. That’s why ArborText, while it has tools that can squirt word processing data into SGML – OmniMark technologies is the leader in this field – doesn’t recommend that path. It can pull data from well-defined database record tables but expects most organizations to write new documents in SGML for most effective storage, manipulation and publication of documents. Neither Netscape nor Microsoft support SGML in their browsers. Now ArborText is extending its Adept suite of editing and publishing tools from Unix to Windows 95 and the Japanese version of Windows NT, largely for its newest Japanese distributor NTT Data. It doesn’t know if it will do an English language NT implementation of the Adept 6.5 tools yet. Adept 6.5 costs from $1,825 and supports CGM, GIF, JPEG, TIFF, PCX, BMP and CALS G4 graphics file formats. It’s opened up its APIs to third party development management tools in an initiative it calls Willows, recognizing the need to work with the burgeoning selection of document management solutions now beginning to win adherents. Its only Willows win to data is market leader Documentum Corp. It thinks the Association for Information and Image Management International (AIIM) efforts to create common documents standards through its Open Document Management API and Document Management Architecture initiatives are rather premature attempts to establish common environments for enabling document management frameworks to interoperate and push data in and out of document processing engines. The company has 120 employees now and will be up to 200 by year-end. Licenses to its products cost from $100 to $5,000. It claims to be profitable and is edging its way towards IPO readiness. ArborText recently managed to persuade Norwest Venture Capital and Access Ventures to part with a further $6.3m funding on the strength of its argument. The company develops and markets a suite of SGML editing and publishing products. It counts Boeing, US Airways, Lockheed Martin, the Internal Revenue service and the Central Intelligence Agency amongst its largest US users.

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