SGML '94 - New products

By Tony Buche

SGML BeLux, Vol. 1, N° 4

For the fourth consecutive time, the yearly American SGML conference was a big success. More than 600 people attended the conference, a raise of 50 % in comparison to SGML '93. In addition to the usual publishing companies, there were new people ranging from the banking sector to the chemical industries sector who are all facing the usual documentation and communication problems. Also, a lot more consultants and vendors were represented at the vendors' day.


The conference started with Exoterica's OmniMark User Group meeting, where about 100 people heard Exoterika's CEO claim how good Omnimark is.

The other major company dedicated to SGML, Softquad, was represented by Yuri Rubinsky, who didn't have much news to announce either, except that their HTML editor was being finished just in time to benefit from the increased interest in the World-Wide Web.

The people who were present at SGML BeLux '94 already know it, but this time it was Microsoft itself who presented SGML Author; their SGML extension to WinWord 6.0, developed with the help of Avalanche. Just for once, Microsoft didn't claim to have single-handedly solved all SGML problems, but just introduced itself as another SGML tool vendor. The fact that Microsoft has entered the SGML market clearly shows that SGML is finally entering the mainstream of computer practices.

NICE Technologies announced its new version of TAG Wizard, an SGML editor based on the style sheet mechanism in the normal version of WinWord.

Big news came from James Clark, who announced that SGMLS has been completely rewritten as an object oriented C++ SGML parser. As SGMLS, this new parser is given away free of charge. The tool's performance is said to be truly impressive.

World Wide Web

A very dominant subject at SGML '94 was the World-Wide Web (WWW), a global on-line hypermedia system on top of the Internet. WWW is offering to SGML a whole new opportunity to promote itself. The WWW uses as its underlying document description language HTML (HyperText Markup Language), a simple '6 tags' SGML DTD which makes it possible for almost anybody to publish information electronically on the Internet. In doing so, the WWW is convincing thousands of Internet users of the power of SGML to encode and exchange electronic documents.

SGML Open, the SGML consortium, is even opening its own WWW server, where all sorts of information regarding SGML will be publicly available. Since the end of the Cold War, the CALS market has gotten into a slump, so it's good to know that SGML is now well positioned to conquer the fast expanding Internet as the dominant document description standard, generating increased demand for SGML tools and solutions.

latest update: November 21 1995
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