Q&A Fact Sheet

Microsoft® SGML Author for Word

SGML Author Questions and Answers

SGML Author Q & A

What is SGML Author for Word?

Microsoft SGML Author is an add-on to Word 6.0 for Windows, that builds on Word's easy-to-use word processing tools to hide the complexities of SGML from end users-enabling them to become productive without extensive training or knowledge. With SGML Author, users can forget about spending hours manually tagging documents because SGML Author does it for them automatically. All they have to do is focus entirely on creating documents. SGML Author's focuses:

1. Easy to use SGML authoring solution-SGML Author does not use tags in the authoring environment, shielding end users from the complexities of SGML and allowing them to focus on creating content. Administrators configure SGML Author to any DTD without programming using point & click tools.

2. Leveraging your investment in Word-SGML Author allows uses to create SGML in their mainstream word processor rather than requiring a completely separate editing environment.

3. Support for key industry standards-SGML Author's ease-of-use and author productivity features are matched with its built-in support for key industry standards and its ability to read and write syntactically correct, fully parseable SGML.

What is the price for SGML Author?

SGML Author will have an estimated retail price (ERP) of US$595.00 and will also be available through the same volume licensing packages as other Microsoft software.

When will SGML Author be available?

SGML Author is expected to be available early 1995.

How will SGML Author be distributed?

SGML Author will be available through a number of well established channels including third-party integrators, ISV's, Solution Providers, and direct from Microsoft. Since SGML is a strategic technology for many organizations, Microsoft is working with these channels to insure that SGML Author users have the highest level of third-party support.

Will SGML Author be available through Select?

SGML Author will be distributed through all of Microsoft's volume licensing packages including Select, MOLP as well as single and 20-license MLPs.

What is SGML?

SGML (Standard Generalized Markup Language) is an international standard that describes the relationship between a document's content and its structure. SGML allows document-based information to be shared and re-used across applications and computer platforms in an open, vendor-neutral format. SGML is sometimes compared to SQL, in that it enables companies to structure information in documents in an open fashion, so that it can be accessed or re-used by any SGML-aware application across multiple platforms.

What are the benefits of SGML?

There are three primary reasons why companies are moving their documents into SGML. These reasons are:

Document Reuse-SGML separates content from presentation, making information stored in documents very flexible for uses with multiple delivery formats like CD-ROM and electronic publishing. Since SGML represents information stored in documents as fielded data this means that SGML-aware applications can be used to query and retrieve entire documents or even pieces of documents from document repositories. This information can then be combined and delivered in a wide variety of formats.

Document Protection-SGML is an international, platform-independent, standard based on ASCII text, so companies can safely store their documents in SGML without being tied to any single-vendor solutions.

Document Interchange-SGML is a core data standard that enables any SGML-aware application to interoperate and share data seamlessly. This enables customers to choose 'best of breed' applications for their SGML solutions. In some respects, SGML is ahead of many other computing technologies where a standard data format is defined and customers can 'plug-in' any vendor's application as part of a larger solution.

What are the primary uses for SGML?

SGML is primarily used for electronic publishing and distribution systems. One of the big advantages of SGML is that it is an open, vendor-neutral, data standard that allows companies to create documents that can be reused with a number of different media such as CD-ROM, electronic document viewers, and on-demand publishing. Further, SGML is an excellent format for archiving documents that require a long life-span.

How does SGML relate to the Internet?

HTML (HyperText Markup Language) is the data representation language for documents stored on the World Wide Web. HTML is a very simple application of SGML and SGML Author will include Microsoft Internet Assistant-an add-on tool for Word 6.0 for Windows that enables users to create and browse HTML documents on the World Wide Web entirely within Word.

How is Microsoft's working with third-party vendors?

Microsoft's strategy is to actively work with third-party vendors to offer customers a complete, end-to-end, SGML solution. A number of third-party vendors have created products and services that leverage their specific areas of expertise to specifically augment the capabilities of SGML Author. Microsoft is working with companies like Avalanche Development, SoftQuad Inc., Interleaf, MicroStar Software, and Electronic Book Technologies among others.

What is Microsoft's relationship with Avalanche?

Microsoft worked closely with Avalanche as we designed SGML Author, and Avalanche is responsible for developing a number of the 'back-end' SGML technologies in the product. We encourage Avalanche and other SGML vendors to work closely with us to provide complete SGML solutions. Avalanche has two product offerings that are designed to work with SGML Author.

To make it easier for companies to convert their Word documents to SGML, Avalanche developed SureStyle . SureStyle is a companion product for SGML Author that evaluates the visual characteristics of a Word document and consistently applies Word styles. When SureStyle completes its operation, the document can be saved as SGML from SGML Author.

In addition to SureStyle, Avalanche is offering SGML Author Assistant . SGML Author Assistant includes SGML Author as well as a complete package of integration, training and support services for companies implementing SGML solutions using SGML Author.

What is Microsoft's relationship with SoftQuad?

Microsoft is also working closely with SoftQuad to develop companion products for SGML Author. For organizations that choose to do quality assurance based on native SGML, Microsoft and SoftQuad have worked together to develop SoftQuad Enactor for SGML Author.

When an author creates a document with Word, it is possible for them to create incomplete or incorrectly formed documents. In those cases, SGML Author will automatically modify the document to conform to the target DTD. There are two feedback mechanisms for reviewing these modifications. Authors can review their document via SGML Author's report file or they can review the native SGML using SoftQuad Enactor.

SoftQuad Enactor is targeted at those users who need to inspect native SGML and reflects Microsoft Word's look in a structured, tag oriented, environment. SGML Author outputs specially marked comments in the SGML text stream to insure seamless interoperability with SoftQuad Enactor. Enactor can navigate directly to these comments so the user can inspect the areas in their document modified by SGML Author.

Will SGML Author modify and validate DTD's?

Our primary focus is on the authoring of SGML content, and therefore, we are not focusing our efforts on DTD creation and manipulation tools. In general our solution assumes you have a working DTD. To meet this need, we are actively working with third party vendors of such tools on a referral basis.

Does SGML Author assure DTD conformance?

When the user saves an SGML instance, SGML Author automatically ensures that syntactically correct SGML is always created. In order to do this, SGML Author may need to adjust the document to ensure its conformance to the DTD. To provide batch feedback to the user, SGML Author returns a new Word file which contains annotations describing any necessary adjustments. These annotations are all worded in terms familiar to the Word user, as opposed to terms familiar to the DTD creator.

Does Microsoft Word support ODA?

Microsoft currently markets an add-on converter kit licensed from Bull Software which allows Microsoft Word to import and export ODA (FOD26). It is available direct from Microsoft for US$129 or through Microsoft Select.

What is the relationship between SGML and ODA?

Microsoft is committed to supporting both ODA and SGML by making these standards more accessible to our users. We see ODA and SGML as complementary standards in that they have different methods, goals, and strengths. Traditional document formats, ODA among them, attempt to store the content and presentation of a document, especially as it relates to the physical page.

In contrast, SGML is much more geared towards the storage of content and structure within documents. While it is possible to encode elements and attributes in a DTD which pertain to presentation, many benefits of SGML stem from its ability to abstract presentation from the document. This then allows the same information to be published in a variety of different ways, whether those be on-line or print based. Because of these inherent differences, we see ODA and SGML as complementary technologies.

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