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SoftQuad Press Release

SoftQuad Introduces HoTMetaL PRO 5.0; Update of Award-Winning HTML Authoring Tool Offers New Power, Speed, Flexibility for Professionals and New Users

New Version Features Improved Performance, New Source Editing Capabilities and Unique Resource Manager

TORONTO, Canada (September 14, 1998) - SoftQuad, Inc. (NASDAQ:SWEBF; TSE:SKI), a leading provider of content publishing tools for the Internet, today introduced HoTMetaL PRO 5.0, the most powerful version yet of the company's award-winning HTML development tool.

Aimed at empowering both professional Web developers and people new to HTML, HoTMetaL PRO 5.0 now offers users expanded features and an integrated suite of authoring and site management tools in one application.

For professional productivity unmatched by any other Web authoring tool, HoTMetaL PRO 5.0 offers users three editing views: a WYSIWYG view for quickly prototyping pages, a source code view for total control over a page's HTML, and SoftQuad's unique Tags On view for the precision of source editing with the convenience of WYSIWYG.

In addition, HoTMetaL PRO 5.0's advanced site management tools are completely integrated within the application and include powerful link-checking and management; site-wide search and replace for text, tags, URLs and meta data; easy site navigation; and an FTP client for one-button publishing to single or multiple servers.

"HoTMetaL PRO 5.0 is designed to help users quickly and easily develop modern Websites," said Roberto Drassinower, General Manager, SoftQuad Inc. "Professional Web developers will find HoTMetaL PRO 5.0 faster and more powerful than ever, speeding up the process of authoring and maintaining complex sites."

HoTMetaL PRO 5.0's new professional features include expanded source code editing capabilities like soft text-wrap, line numbering, and syntax coloring; accurate WYSIWYG display; an integrated browser preview; and a flexible new Resource Manager to easily use and manage digital assets, including JavaScript codelets, whether they reside on a user's hard disk or network.

For new users seeking to be productive without delay, HoTMetaL PRO 5.0 offers a powerful Site Maker wizard. Users simply choose page types, a layout and a graphic theme; Site Maker will automatically customize the entire site, ready to accept text and graphics.

"HoTMetaL PRO 5.0 is perfect for users new to HTML," Drassinower said. "You can easily progress from creating a site with Site Maker to developing pages from scratch using our three-view approach and the comprehensive HTML resources we provide. Because the product is designed for both experienced Web developers and new users, you can never outgrow HoTMetaL PRO."

HoTMetaL PRO 5.0 also includes the HoTMetaL Power Pack, a complete off-line development and testing solution for HoTMetaL Application Server. Using the easy-to- master, tags-based Miva Markup Language, developers can quickly create secure, interactive Web applications, like an e-commerce storefront, a bulletin board or an online survey, directly within HoTMetaL PRO 5.0.

HoTMetaL PRO 5.0 will be available beginning on October 1 for the Windows 95/98 and NT 4.0 operating systems, at a special introductory price of $99.00 (US) with an upgrade price of $49.00 (US) to registered users of HoTMetaL PRO. The list price for the full product is $129.00 (US). System requirements include a Pentium processor, 16MB of RAM, 256 color/SVGA display with minimum 640 x 480 resolution, and a CD-ROM drive.

HoTMetaL PRO 5.0 In Depth

Three Powerful Editing Views

HoTMetaL PRO 5.0's unique three-view approach to editing HTML pages provides productivity unmatched by any other Web authoring tool. Users can seamlessly switch between WYSIWYG, HTML Source, and Tags On views without switching applications. The improved WYSIWYG view lets users quickly create or prototype pages by adding tables, text, and images to a document while HoTMetaL PRO 5.0 writes the underlying HTML code automatically.

The HTML Source view provides total control over HTML code and adds new professional features like drag-and-drop element lists, automatic tag completion, syntax coloring for HTML and JavaScript, auto-indent and block indent, line and column numbering, word wrap, and automatic source layout. Users also have the ability to open a page in HTML source view, thus bypassing the HTML parser and bringing in completely unmodified text.

HoTMetaL PRO 5.0's unique Tags On view lets users view and edit both a page layout and HTML code in the same interface, combining the precision of source code editing with the convenience of WYSIWYG display.

"Our users tell us that Tags On view quickly becomes their favorite way of working," said Drassinower. "You simply move the mouse over an HTML tag to instantly see all its attributes."

Both WYSIWYG and Tags On views also feature the Attribute Inspector, which gives Web developers convenient access to all attributes of an element through a context-sensitive display that shows valid elements and attributes. Users can also drag and drop text, URLs and more, directly onto the Attribute Inspector

HoTMetaL PRO 5.0's other HTML authoring enhancements include an integrated browser preview to quickly check HTML documents without opening up a separate application, the industry's easiest drag-and-drop frame creation, and comprehensive support for cascading style sheets (CSS).

Integrated Site Management Tools

HoTMetaL PRO 5.0 now integrates its site management and editing functions within one application, resulting in a significant performance boost.

HoTMetaL PRO 5.0's powerful site management features enable users to visualize an entire site with easy-to-understand and navigate site views, automatically check and fix broken links, import, edit and manage sites created with other applications, and even generate advanced summary information like image size and download times. HoTMetaL PRO 5.0 also offers one-button publishing of an entire site, or just newly-changed pages to single or multiple servers.

The Resource Manager

New to HoTMetaL PRO 5.0 is the Resource Manager, the next generation of the FX Chooser, which first appeared in HoTMetaL PRO 4.0. Designed to increase productivity and customizability, the Resource Manager provides drag-and-drop digital asset management by combining the FX Chooser, the Project Panel from the Information Manager, and a Windows Explorer-like view, all in one utility.

The Resource Manager is an ideal tool for collecting, managing and using Web effects-graphics, animations, backgrounds, applets, scripts and more. Users can easily add special effects to their sites without programming, simply by dragging and dropping effects directly onto a page. Even better, users can add their own assets to the Resource Manager by dragging them from a page to the new facility. Once there, assets are instantly ready to be dropped into future pages.

"The Resource Manager provides a one-stop shop to manage an entire site, with hooks into the editor, " Drassinower said. "In HoTMetaL PRO 5.0, users will find this to be the single largest improvement in the way they work."

Advanced DHTML Support

To make it easy to create dynamic Websites, HoTMetaL PRO 5.0 provides advanced support for DHTML. HoTMetaL PRO 5.0's HTML Source view offers developers a comprehensive JavaScript editing environment, complete with syntax coloring. When using the Attribute Inspector, users will find event attributes separated out for easy access.

In addition, HoTMetaL PRO 5.0's Resource Manager contains dozens of useful pre-built DHTML scripts, ready to drag and drop onto documents. The Resource Manager also allows users to save JavaScript codelets onto customizable asset pages for convenient access for future projects.

Improved Interface for Greater Productivity

HoTMetaL PRO 5.0's new improved interface allows users to customize their entire workspace for greater productivity. The application's new "Workbook Mode" makes it easy to switch between documents by just clicking on a tab at the bottom of the display. Using customizable toolbars, floating and dockable windows, and detachable objects, users can modify and save various workspaces to suit different tasks. Additionally, keyboard macros enable users to automate repetitive operations

100% Valid Markup for Sites that Work

Unlike other HTML authoring applications, HoTMetaL PRO 5.0 writes 100% valid HTML, 100% of the time. When authoring in WYSIWYG or Tags On view or using the Site Maker wizard, HoTMetaL PRO 5.0 will always produce valid HTML code.

HoTMetaL PRO 5.0 features a "Check HTML" command for content developers who write or modify their own HTML code in Source Code view. HoTMetaL PRO 5.0 will validate documents against all versions of the HTML specification, including HTML 2.0, 3.2, 4.0, as well as proprietary tags for Microsoft and Netscape. When the validator finds an error in the HTML, it automatically informs the user and pinpoints the source of the error for correction.

The validation feature even informs users when they have used tags that are supported only on specific versions of the HTML specification or by particular browsers. This is essential for developers who are interested in designing documents accessible to the broadest possible audience. This information assists in identifying and removing unsupported tags and helps determine when it is advisable to create a different version of a document for certain browsers.

"HoTMetaL PRO 5.0 is simply the best way to develop 100 % valid HTML," said SoftQuad's Lauren Wood, Chair, W3C Document Object Model Working Group and member of the XML Working Group. "With HoTMetaL PRO 5.0, markup is completely under the control of the author. Version 5.0 even helps developers clean up invalid code produced by other HTML editors."

Validating for Accessibility

As part of the AdaptAble Technology initiative, SoftQuad is committed to ensuring that all users have access to content and content-authoring applications. HoTMetaL PRO 5.0 integrates these technologies to make it and the content it creates accessible to everyone, including those with disabilities.

HoTMetaL PRO 5.0's accessibility features and general level of support for accessibility are unique in the industry. These features include SoftQuad's Visual Dynamic Keyboard, a technology that provides support for alternative pointing devices for users who are unable to use traditional keyboard and mouse devices, auto prompting on how to create fully accessible content for the Web, and an accessibility checker.

Bundled Software

HoTMetaL PRO 5.0 comes bundled with a clip art library of more than 5,000 images, backgrounds and animated GIFs; the award-winning PhotoImpact SE and image tool suite, optimized for Web graphics, from Ulead Systems, enabling users to create their own custom graphics; DHTML Scripts from webreference.com; the Complete HTML Reference Guide from index.dot.html; and Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.01a and Netscape Communicator 4.05. Rounding out the package is a special offer for Miva Merchant, Store Front and Cataloguing System, and hosting discounts from HoTMetaL Power Partners.

About SoftQuad Inc.

SoftQuad Inc. is a leading provider of standards-based content publishing tools for the Internet and corporate Intranets. Based in Toronto, Canada, SoftQuad Inc. is a founding member and active participant in the World Wide Web Consortium, the Internet Engineering Task Force and Editorial Review Boards. SoftQuad Inc. is a division of SoftQuad International Inc., which also owns Alpha Software Corporation, of Burlington, Mass.

SoftQuad HoTMetaL PRO and SoftQuad HoTMetaL are trademarks of SoftQuad International, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

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