[Mirrored from: http://dynaweb.ebt.com:8080/company/press/2093]
"Rainbow" DTD and Tools Publicly Available
SGML '93, BOSTON, Dec. 8, 1993 -- Electronic Book Technologies, Inc. (EBT) today introduced a public technology platform to ease the transition from proprietary word processor (WP) data to SGML. Dubbed "Rainbow," the approach specifies a single Document Type Definition (DTD) for representing a wide variety of proprietary word processor data formats. Rainbow supports the proprietary-to-SGML interchange and transformation process in a common, tool-independent manner.
The conversion process from legacy, proprietary data to SGML today requires costly, custom-built tools, which make the SGML-hurdle fairly difficult to overcome. Rainbow provides a stair-stepped approach: "Rainbow Makers" convert proprietary WP information into very basic SGML structures. Once a document is represented in basic Rainbow format, translation tools extract the richer SGML structures required by the different industry-standard DTDs. By using this two step approach as the standard "enabler" between proprietary WP data and SGML, the entire process is vastly simplified, more efficient for SGML conversion and translation tools vendors, hence much more affordable for consumers.
SGML is gaining tremendous momentum in the marketplace as organizations with large bodies of knowledge·technical manuals, maintenance procedures, catalogs, price lists, etc.·look to stabilize their information assets by converting to a standard, vendor- and application-neutral electronic format. Corporate information is currently locked into proprietary formats which are imposed by the different word-processing vendors. SGML is turning the tide, forcing the vendors' publishing applications·authoring, indexing, storage, printed and online delivery products·to comply with customers' SGML information, not the other way around. Customers who have their information in SGML are free to make purchasing decisions based strictly upon price and performance, not the pain and expense required to move their huge information assets around every time a vendor shows up with a new "mission critical" feature.
According to Dave Sklar, Senior Application Developer at EBT and manager of the collaborative Rainbow development effort among the SGML tool vendors over the past five months, "Proprietary word-processing formats are typically poorly documented, highly idiosyncratic, and subject to change without notice. Maintaining conversion tools that recognize such formats is thus a very expensive endeavor. The goal of Rainbow is to provide a stable data format to feed conversion tools, making the path to SGML much more affordable and increasing the shelf-life of such tools."
"As more and more corporations adopt SGML as a vendor-independent solution, Rainbow will ease their conversion curve and help out the SGML vendor community as well," said Louis R. Reynolds, President and Founder of EBT. "DynaText was built around the SGML standard from the ground-up, so we are especially appreciative of the current effort required to convert proprietary information into SGML. Rainbow will provide a useful stake-in-the-ground around which SGML conversion vendors can help customers hurdle the proprietary wall. To jump-start Rainbow support, we are coordinating with the SGML tool vendors to incorporate Rainbow support into their tools and we are making the Rainbow DTD and several Rainbow Makers·FrameMaker MIF-to-Rainbow and Interleaf ASCII-to-Rainbow·publicly available. Because the need for such a solution is so wide-spread, natural supply and demand will take care of the rest."
Pam Gennusa, Executive Director of Database Publishing Systems, a premier SGML systems integrator and consulting service located in the UK, said "We have long recognized the need to provide the all-important 'first-step' toward the use of SGML and enjoying its many advantages. Rainbow will make it possible for us to provide this important first step to our customers who have large existing sets of electronic documents in proprietary format. Customers will now be able to realize the rewards of SGML earlier in the overall conversion process. Rainbow is a solid approach to the conversion problem; it's also good for business."
Eric van Herwijnen, author of Practical SGML said, "Rainbow will enable the conversion of any kind of electronic information into SGML. It supports the application of powerful SGML tools to a part of the market place that was hitherto beyond SGML's reach. At last, hypertext will be available to the common user. Rainbow makes your information shine!"
Jim Sterken, President of ArborText, which develops and markets SGML Publisher, a popular native SGML authoring tool, said, "The Rainbow DTD and associated conversion filters will greatly simplify the process of converting legacy data into SGML. We plan to use Rainbow and associated conversion filters in our PowerPaste(tm) document conversion application."
John McFadden, President of Exoterica, which develops and markets OmniMark, a specialized SGML text-manipulation language, said, "We have recognized the need for something like Rainbow for a long time. We are delighted that EBT has taken the initiative and dedicated the time and effort needed to finally make it happen. Exoterica whole-heartedly embraces Rainbow."
"With an emphasis upon 'ease of conversion to SGML,' the Rainbow DTD nicely complements the easy-to-use strength of SoftQuad's Author/Editor SGML editorial environment," said Yuri Rubinsky, President of SoftQuad Inc., a leader in multi-platform SGML authoring software. "Word-processed files converted to Rainbow markup will import instantly into our full suite of SGML tools. We will continue to work closely with EBT and other industry leaders to develop a de facto industry standard around Rainbow."
EBT's flagship product DynaText(tm), introduced in August of 1990, is the first electronic book publishing system for large-scale SGML documents. DynaText accepts any valid SGML document and automatically builds a Dynamic electronic book that enables users to quickly browse, search, and annotate large, highly structured documents. The electronic books can be shared among heterogeneous networks or placed on standalone portable information delivery devices. DynaText currently runs on Microsoft Windows(tm), Apple Macintosh, and UNIX workstations.
Electronic Book Technologies was founded in 1989 to provide in-house publishers with state-of-the-art solutions for the publication and delivery of a new generation of Dynamic electronic books. EBT is privately held, and is headquartered in Providence, RI.
To obtain the annotated Rainbow.DTD and Rainbow Makers via anonymous FTP:
· Name of FTP server: ftp:ftp.ebt.com
· Location of Rainbow data: pub/outgoing/rainbow
To receive notification regarding Rainbow.DTD updates, events, and information on the status of Rainbow Makers, subscribe to the Rainbow information service by emailing "firstname.lastname@example.org"
Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML) is an international ISO standard for the publication and delivery of electronic information. SGML has been adopted by industries with large amounts of in-house publishing including, aircraft, automotive, computer, defense, electronics, and telecommunications, as well as government systems integrators, publishing companies, and academic research centers.
Kent Summers, Paul Lamoureux