Visa International has introduced a new specification that will increase a corporation’s ability to automate B2B purchasing functions and monitor travel and entertainment expenses worldwide – both on the Internet and in the physical world. The new Visa Global Invoice Specification uses XML to exchange invoice and payment data across industries and technical processing platforms. Implementation of the specification enables corporations to negotiate prices and control costs, as well as increase productivity by eliminating manual processes. The new Visa Global XML Invoice Specification was developed with Visa technology partners Commerce One, IBM, Sun Microsystems, Inc. and ValiCert, Inc. These partners provided Visa with an extensive review, validating Visa’s efforts to use XML technology and supporting Visa’s contribution to the buyer / supplier value chain of enhanced data. With its use, corporate clients will have a standard way to process detailed information on procurement transactions, as well as T&E spending on airline travel, hotels and car rental. In the near future, Visa plans to expand the specification to support other merchant sectors including healthcare, maintenance, repair & operations (MRO) and fleet services. Visa is also supporting the global invoice needs of buyers and sellers around the world who choose to use the specification for their own invoice processing and payment services. This means that developers may use the specification independent of the payment brand and can integrate multiple payment types into their data-flow processes. Visa has compiled a comprehensive list of data elements used in most invoices and has classified them into the following information areas: Buyer/Supplier, Shipping, Tax, Payment, Currency, Discount, and Line Item Detail. Visa can also deliver the XML invoice data across VisaNet, Visa’s global network. Visa used the Commerce One Common Business Library (xCBL) as the foundation for the Visa Global XML Invoice Specification and is working with several international XML governing bodies, including ebXML, for its official adoption as a standard. Other international standards organizations include Oasis/XML.org, and Microsoft BizTalk. Visa will work with Members worldwide to install the new Visa Global XML Invoice Specification and has conducted a pilot project in the European Union which has successfully proved that the specification can accommodate the information collection and delivery needs of all commercial users. www.visa.com/xml.
First Call has launched FIRST CALL Templates, a Web-based authoring tool aimed at facilitating the research production process at brokerage firms. With Templates, sell-side analysts are able to create and edit new notes and research reports, efficiently move these documents through the production channels, and accurately index and convert documents for electronic distribution. Templates utilize XML, allowing for greater customization of the product. Users of Templates may use the system’s standard template types, such as Morning Meeting Note or Industry Report, or they may create, store and use their own templates. They also are able to save indexes for future use and are able to easily access their index criteria by ticker, industry, analyst, country, subject or headline. Templates’ advanced indexing capabilities allow for more accurate and targeted search results by institutional money managers accessing the research documents. The service also offers disclaimers, which may be customized for specific tickers. The XML technology used in Templates allows clients to customize and pre-populate specific fields in a document, including analyst and ticker information. Templates can also be used to update a broker’s quantitative information on the FIRST CALL Network. With the use of XML, earnings estimate information is easily tagged and extracted from Excel spreadsheets. XML also allows for the efficient conversion of documents to various file formats. Users may edit, approve, or hold a document at each stage of the production process – from creation, editorial, and compliance to distribution. Since the research document is available in an electronic format, it efficiently moves through the approval process. E-mail alerts allow users to e-mail each other when the document is ready for the next stage of the production process. Users are also able to track the production status of their research document at any time. Once a document has been published, a copy is sent to the brokerage firm’s FTP site, providing the firm with a copy of the document for their records. www.thomsonfinancial.com
Quark Inc. took the wraps off QuarkXPress 5.0, unveiling core technologies designed to streamline the process of making content flexible and appropriate to its delivery medium. Quark said they will continue to improve the set of features in QuarkXPress, and add HTML and XML tools for Web communications, giving publishers the ability to publish to multiple media as easily as to one. QuarkXPress 5.0 software will allow users to design and lay out documents for export as HTML, including support for image maps, rollovers, meta tags, and forms. Users will be able to create hyperlinks and control all basic HTML page options, such as background images and page titles. The QuarkXPress style sheet feature will be complimented by cascading style sheet (CSS) formatting for the Web. The HTML code generated by QuarkXPress 5.0 will be table-based for compatibility with version 4.0 browsers and above. Quark will bundle the avenue.quark software free with QuarkXPress 5.0, giving every copy of QuarkXPress round-trip support for XML. Avenue.quark is XTensions software that allows publishers to richly describe their QuarkXPress content in XML or automatically insert and format XML content in a QuarkXPress document. QuarkXPress 5.0 is expected to ship in the fourth quarter of this year. www.quark.com
Xyvision Enterprise Solutions Inc. announced the availability of its new content management application, Content@ (pronounced Contenta). Content@ provides content management for collaborative workgroups using Microsoft Word by storing and managing Word document components in a dynamic database repository. Content@ offers integrated workflow, meta-data support, full-text search, and it facilitates the re-use of document components for web, print, and other media. Content@ offers companies a way to significantly reduce the time required to create and distribute business critical documents such as policies and procedures, proposals, financial reports, marketing materials, and many other documents created in Microsoft Word. Content@ includes a new XML workflow wizard which enables users and organizations to define standard data creation and distribution processes and create XML workflows to automate these processes. Content@ is built on top of XyEnterprise’s Parlance Content Manager and its workflow tools. In a Content@ environment, a user can update content in the repository which can invoke web site updates, create new publications, send e-mail notices to end users, distribute documents in a PDF or printed format, and even send communications to portable devices. With Content@, users can store complete Word files or components of Word files in DOC, RTF, XML, or HTML format. This content can also include text, spreadsheets, graphics, presentations, sound, and video. Content@ is currently available for early adopters with general availability in March 2000. Basic systems, including 10 user seats, server, and COM API start around $50,000. Content@ server runs on Windows NT, Sun Solaris, and IBM AIX with clients on Windows 98 and NT. Content@ uses Oracle and other databases and supports Word 97 and Word 2000. www.xyenterprise.com