The SGML acronym stands for Standard Generalized Markup Language. In short, it is a document generation language used as a common means of sharing information electronically. In the semiconductor industry, the Pinnacles Group has helped to define a particular subset of SGML syntax used for describing devices unique to our product-lines. Further explanation of Pinnacles/SGML is provided below.
The SGML documents accessible through the TI website were originally developed in Interleaf; format and converted to SGML format. Furthermore, the original set of Interleaf documents were used to create the first set of PostScript documents. Although every effort was made to prevent discrepancies in the conversion process some deficiencies may have been introduced. In the event of a conflict between the PostScript format and the SGML format, the PostScript format will take precedence.
Five major semiconductor manufacturers joined together to create a technical information interchange standard for use by the electronic components industry. This standard is called the Pinnacles Component Information Interchange Standard (PCIS).
In order to accelerate the development of PCIS, a proposal was made to move forward as a privately funded project that would address both business issues outside the scope of the CFI and the CFI objectives. After a year of conceiving, refining, and "selling" the plan, in April of 1993 an agreement was signed among Intel, National Semiconductor, Philips Semiconductors, and Texas Instruments to join forces under the working name "Pinnacles Group" to produce the interchange standard that is the core of the Pinnacles Initiative. ATLIS Consulting Group, a leading SGML consultantcy, was hired to facilitate the analysis, design, and development of the standard. Hitachi, the fifth member of the group, joined in August of 1993.
By April of 1994, the five member companies had completed roughly seven person-years' analysis, research, design, and development of the interchange standard. That same month, PCIS version 1.0 was reviewed by more than 60 interested parties and in May of 1994 almost 40 of the reviewers discussed the standard at a joint meeting hosted by Hitachi in Silicon Valley.
Since then, the Pinnacles Group and its SGML (Standard Generalized Markup Language) consultants ATLIS Consulting group have worked to revise and refine the standard to the point where, in October of 1994 it would be frozen for a period of 6 to 18 months to allow developers to implement the standard using existing SGML and publishing tools customized to the application.
Yes, SGML was chosen by the Pinnacles Group, of which TI is a member company. SGML was chosen because it easily and flexibly models the information that is normally contained in semiconductor device datasheets, and the way that the information is normally displayed: primarily in tables. By using SGML, the information contained in tables will eventually be searchable by the user or "parsed" for import into tools.
During the Pinnacles Group effort, the participating companies developed an SGML application standard, which comprises a tag library and one or more Document Type Definitions (DTDs) -- the fundamental elements of an information exchange standard. By using the Pinnacles Group developed tag library, the elements of a datasheet will be consistent with the published documents.
For example, in HTML the tag for the Recommended Operating Conditions table would simply be known as a Heading, in SGML it would retain its identity of Recommended Operating Conditions. In HTML, the Supply voltage, Vcc (note that HTML does not permit subscripts), would be a text entry in a table, whereas in SGML, the Supply voltage, Vcc (note that SGML allows subscripts), would be known as the <parameter> whose <description> is "Supply Voltage" and whose <symbol> is named "Vcc" and has a <value> of, say "12", and a <unit> of "Volts", etc. A search engine or database loading program can easily be used to identify these parameters and do more useful things than simply display them in a table, which it will also do. To the Internet browser, this would look like:
Parameter Description Min Typ Max Vcc Supply voltage 10V 12V 15V
and the downloadable file (for use with a search engine or database loading program) would look like this:
<characteristic> <parameter> <symbol>V<sub>cc <parm.desc>Supply voltage <value: type=Min>10 <unit>V <value: type=Typ>12 <unit>V <value: type=Max>15 <unit>V <end characteristic>
The benefits will be realized from several different venues to the user:
a) Companies who are in the business of adding value to a manufacturer's information (i.e., models, simulations, etc..). These companies can expect to satisfy customers with information that is more accurate (data will no longer have to be re-entered) and accessible, with more frequent updates, and with cost savings through elimination of data re-entry.
Information can more easily be "parsed" into the destination systems because of the structured nature of SGML encoding as shown in the "tagged" example for Supply Voltage".
b) Companies who supply hardware/software tools, such as CAD/CAE systems, publishing systems, database management systems, etc., to the industry. The next phase of the Pinnacles project enlists the aid of EDA vendors in building tools to allow information encoded in the Pinnacles SGML form to be loaded into, and likewise extracted from, both semiconductor design automation software and component information selection systems.
c) The end customers themselves. They can expect significant benefits in improved access to component information. They will also be able to more easily compare similar parts from different manufacturers and make selections based on more complete and accurate information. This will result in more efficient design-in, simplified component procurement, and better management of product data over the product life cycle.
SoftQuad's Panorama Free for Windows is currently available for download from NCSA to view SGML documents. Panorama works as a helper application with NCSA Mosaic 2.0 Final Beta or higher, Spyglass Enhanced Mosaic 2.0, and Netscape Navigator 1.1 or higher. Unix and Macintosh versions of Panorama are planned for 1Q96. Panorama Pro is also available for purchase from SoftQuad.
NOTE: Panorama is not supported by Texas Instruments Incorporated
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