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Product Roundup: XML-Based Tools: Writing to Next Big Standard

Arbortext produces XML-based multi-channel software for publishing to a variety of media from a single content source. Arbortext's software suite, designed to streamline the process of writing and managing a multi-author work, is in use at technology companies and publishing firms worldwide, as well as a handful of universities such as University of Oklahoma, University of San Diego, and University of Michigan.

Epic Editor facilitates content creation even if the authors are working in different languages and formats. It allows content to be stored in content management repositories and assembled on demand. Epic Editor is the authoring tool, creating content for publishing in a variety of media, including Web, CD-ROM, print, and wireless.

Arbortext offers separate products for content conversion and publishing. The Epic E-Content Engine (E3) converts content from Microsoft Word, Adobe FrameMaker, and Interleaf documents to XML, and publishes that content to print, PDF, Web, and wireless. To publish to CD-ROM, Arbortext offers the optional component CD-ROM Composer.

Arbortext's Extend product gives off-site authors access to Epic Editor via Web browsers. Contact: Arbortext Inc., Ann Arbor, Mich.; (734) 997-0200;

Adobe FrameMaker
The latest version of this content creation powerhouse, FrameMaker 7.0, features new XML capabilities that allow users to create, edit, import, and publish content in many formats, including print, Web, eBooks, and PDAs. Version 7.0 essentially blends the WYSIWYG features of FrameMaker with the publishing options of FrameMaker+SGML.

The structured authoring environment simplifies content creation and editing in XML format through Document Type Definitions and Element Definition Documents. FrameMaker 7.0 offers enhanced page layout, template and font management, and graphics management tools. For users who are new to XML, Adobe offers support in the form of a set of starter templates.

The software now includes basic document management and workgroup collaboration features that make sharing, tracking, and filing content easier to manage. FrameMaker outputs to Adobe PDF files, which are accessible to users with visual disabilities who read with the aid of a screen reader. Contact: Adobe Systems Inc., San Jose, Calif.; (408) 536-6000;

Morphon XML Editor 3
The Morphon XML-Editor lets users create and modify XML documents. Morphon also provides a Cascading Style Sheet (CSS) editor. Because it is written in Java, the XML Editor runs on any program. Morphon's XML Editor features WYSIWYG editing, a validation engine, and hierarchical views. Views are extensible through a plug-in API with DOM3 support.

New to the latest version is a spell checker, print previews feature, folding options, support for XPath queries, and automatic save feature. Users can view the editor in three modes: no tags, boxed tags, and inline tags. Users can also work remotely via HTTP, FTP, or any other network. Contact: Morphon Technologies, Rotterdam, The Netherlands; +31 (0) 10 750 2600;

Apache Xindice
Xindice is an open source Native XML Database. The project, in development by a team of volunteers, aims to make the storing and cataloguing of XML data simpler. Xindice stores and indexes compressed XML documents in order to provide data to a client application with very little server-side processing overhead. It also provides functionality that is unique to XML data, which can't be easily reproduced by relational databases. In other words, users enter XML data and retrieve XML data without having to transform it along the way.

Xindice uses XPath for its query language and XML:DB XUpdate for its update language. Interested parties can download Xindice by visiting the Apache Software Foundation Web site:

Design Science's MathML Tools
Design Science's WebEQ Developer's Suite is a set of tools for building Web pages that incorporate dynamic math content. Incorporating MathML (essentially, the XML for mathematics), WebEQ products allow users to create and publish math documents from any source.

WebEQ Editor is an intuitive WYSIWYG MathML editor that includes a comprehensive set of mathematical symbols and templates, which are easy to access from pull-down palettes.

WebEQ Editor includes: a customizable toolbar; improved editing and intuitive management of MathML display properties; advanced content recognition algorithms and visual syntax checking to generate both Presentation and Content MathML; features that let users create interactive equations with mouse-over, toggle, and other functions; and the ability to save equations as JPEG or PNG images, WebEQ Viewer Control applet code, or MathML.

WebEQ Publisher helps authors prepare Web pages containing math markup for publication on a server. It analyzes completed documents and generates any extra HTML code or images necessary for publication on the Web. The user sets the preference parameters. In addition to Editor and Publisher, Design Science sells other WebEQ developer tools. Visit their Web site for more information. Contact: Design Science, Long Beach, Calif.; (562) 433-0685;

Bambookit is an ultra-light thin client that relies on XML standards to deliver feature-rich, real-time applications over the Internet. The idea is to take desktop applications out of the PC and “place” them on the Web, where they can be retrieved quickly as needed simply by visiting a Web site.

The applications, all written in XML, are built on top of Java, and run equally well on operating systems, browsers, and mobile phones. With Bambookit, administrators can run applications from a central server and make adjustments without having to touch every desktop or device. What the end-user receives has the same level of interactivity and flexibility as a downloaded or installed product. Contact: Bambookit, Montreal, Quebec, Canada; (514) 849-1435;

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