Newsgroups: comp.text.sgml
Date: 07 Oct 1994 18:30:23 UT
From: Mark Walter <mwalter@zcias1.ziff.com>
Message-ID: <Chameleon.4.00.941007120949.mwalter@ABU.ziff.com>
References: <9409067814.AA781434242@njcorp.akbs.com>
Subject: Re: Anyone have any info about WORD's recent SGML release?


[Cheryl Conway]

|   I've been passed a news release regarding MicroSoft WORD (Redmond, WA,
|   Sept. 13) that says:
|   "Microsoft Corporation (Nasdaq: MSFT) today announced Microsoft(R) SGML
|   Author for Word, an easy-to-use add-on tool for Microsoft Word 6.0 for
|   the Windows(TM) operating system for creating Standard Generalized
|   Markup Language (SGML).  SGML Author hides the complexities of SGML,
|   allowing users to create SGML quickly without extensive training or
|   knowledge."
|   => Does anyone know anything about this product?
|   The release goes on to say:
|   "Users no longer have to spend hours manually tagging documents -- SGML
|   Author does it for them automatically."
|   => Particularly, I am curious about how this automatic tagging is
|   => done.  Any input would be greatly appreciated!

I saw Microsoft's product at its introduction a few weeks ago in San
Francisco.  It's an exciting product, because it melds SGML into a popular
tool that can also be used for general word processing.

Here's my short take on what it does:

Microsoft's product is an SGML import/export filter for WinWord 6 developed
with the help of Avalanche Development Corp.  It is a sophisticated filter,
one that includes an SGML parser and can be configured for arbitrary DTDs.
In simple terms, it maps Word document template styles to SGML elements and
attributes, but, in fact, it handles quite a few of the messy instances
where these two document representations do not map on a one-to-one basis.
It covers everything you can do in Word, including math and tables.

Setting up the filter requires some knowledge of SGML (as one would also
need to develop a DTD), but a graphic DTD visualizer is included to make it
easier to point and click to objects being associated.

Once the filter is set up, you can make a Word template and writers can
simply use the "Save As" command to generate a valid SGML document.  SGML
Author also takes any errors and annotates the original Word document so
authors can see what needs fixing.

For more details, John Vail at Microsoft is the product manager.

This month's <TAG> newsletter has a more detailed 3-page writeup that
includes screen dumps.  If you don't already get <TAG>, they can be reached
at +1 303 680 0875.

PS: not sure if this is actually in beta yet; anyone on the beta list care
to comment?

Mark Walter
Seybold Publications
PO Box 644, Media, PA 19063
phone: +1 610 565 2480
fax:   +1 610 565 4659
email: mwalter@seyboldpub.ziff.com