Informix Corporation and eHelp Corporation announced a partnership in a joint effort to support the ALURe specification. ALURe, the Aggregation and Logging of User Requests, is an open implementation of XML that tracks and reports usage patterns in Help and customer assistance systems on Web sites. Led by eHelp, the ALURe Partner Program is designed to bring industry leaders together with a shared interest in promoting user assistance standards for the Web. The open ALURe specification defines how companies identify, track and modify trouble areas on their Web sites. By adopting this specification, companies can easily obtain valuable feedback and usability data about their site when using data mining, analysis and reporting tools. The ALURe specification and Informix Object Translator are for capturing and analyzing critical customer care information to improve customer service on the Web. Informix Object Translator, a data integration tool for mapping the relationships of XML objects to the Informix Foundation.2000 database server provides two-way transparent mapping between the ALURe XML model and the data collection model in the database. Informix Object Translator generates Java components to handle ALURe XML documents, making it easy to integrate ALURe transcripts with common business analysis tools. Any data mining and analysis tool that recognizes XML can use data gathered through ALURe. Adopting the ALURe standard allows developers to make continual Web site improvements that ALURe data point to, and alleviates the need to implement data gathering and reporting technologies into their online User Assistance Systems. www.alurexml.org, www.ehelp.com, www.informix.com
The VoiceXML Forum announced that the W3C has acknowledged the submission of Version 1.0 of the VoiceXML specification. At its May 10-12 meetings in Paris, the W3C’s Voice Browser Working Group agreed to adopt VoiceXML 1.0 as the basis for the development of a W3C dialog markup language. The Forum’s founding members, AT&T, IBM, Lucent Technologies, and Motorola made the W3C submission. Acknowledgement by the W3C will help to accelerate and expand the reach of the Internet through voice-enabled Web content and services. The VoiceXML Forum will host the next meeting of the W3C Voice Browser Working Group in September 2000. Since the release of VoiceXML 1.0 in March 2000, the Forum has nearly doubled its supporter membership to more than 150 companies. Based on XML, Version 1.0 of the VoiceXML specification provides a high-level programming interface to speech and telephony resources for application developers, service providers and equipment manufacturers. Standardization of VoiceXML will: simplify creation and delivery of Web-based, personalized interactive voice-response services; enable phone and voice access to integrated call center databases, information and services on Web sites, and company intranets; and help enable new voice-capable devices and appliances. More information about VoiceXML can be obtained at www.w3.org/Submission/2000/04/ or www.voicexml.org. The complete W3C Note, Voice eXtensible Markup Language (VoiceXML) version 1.0, can be obtained directly at www.w3.org/TR/2000/NOTE-voicexml-20000505/.
In response to growing demand for quality content over the Internet, Bookface, Inc., announced its development of proprietary technology to deliver valuable content online securely. The Bookface delivery solution offers content providers a secure method for publishing their content directly on the Internet, enabling them to reach the entire Internet audience while protecting the integrity of their work and gaining appropriate credit and compensation. Internet users also benefit by being able to access content directly from their browser — without installing software or buying special hardware. Prior to Bookface, utilizing the simplicity and installed base of the Internet for displaying digital content was hindered by piracy. Websites either posted warning notices to reduce copying, alteration, and unauthorized redistribution, or packaged their content into secure files for delivery. File downloads represent an extra step that reduce convenience — online delivery allows content creators to place secure content on the web, so that users will not need to interrupt their reading to download. Slow modems and firewalls may also prevent downloads and installation of files or reader software. The Bookface protected, yet direct, avenue for delivering content also has the advantages of a centralized delivery system. Since content is served from one central location, publishers can easily control or limit access and track usage. The Bookface delivery solution will work flexibly with any business model. Content providers can charge access fees, subscriptions, per use charges, or leverage ad revenues to gain compensation from their content. Bookface technology will first be applied to their own web destination, www.Bookface.com. This website will deliver the ultimate reading experience to Internet users — actually opening books online. Regardless of whether they are logging in from a Mac, Windows, or Unix machine, Internet users will be able to read whole books via the site. Targeted towards providing a new marketing and distribution channel for the U.S. trade book market, the branded web destination will be launched in the summer of 2000. www.Bookface.com
Worldweb.net announced their third generation content management solution, Expressroom I/O, which enables content to be entered from and delivered to multiple formats and devices. Because of its XML and Java-based open architecture, Expressroom I/O expands content management beyond just managing and delivering content on the Web. It enables syndicated content, live news feeds, and legacy information to be managed and delivered to multiple sources including web pages, cell phones, and other wireless devices. Expressroom I/O provides a reliable and scalable foundation for obtaining and creating content from multiple sources. Expressroom is then able to manage the interaction and deliver the content across fixed and wireless communication channels such as those using Wireless Markup Language (WML). Expressroom I/O uses XML to provide a highly sophisticated content management solution that is targeted to both web professionals and everyday users. It is designed to create, manage, deploy and deliver web content. Non-technical contributors effectively control content input and design/layout issues by using Graphical User Interfaces that provide a collaborative environment for managing XML-described site components. Content input and design/layout issues are separated from web site administration in Expressroom I/O, empowering non-technical end-users with the ability to make real-time content changes ‘on the fly’. Expressroom site components are managed within a versioned, access-controlled, and XML-aware asset manager. It is then deployed to a page server that performs just-in-time transformation of XML-described content into any delivery format needed. By fully separating the web site development environment from the deployment environment, Expressroom I/O supports distributed content delivery for thousands of users and millions of page views. Newly supported inputs and outputs of Expressroom I/O include: WML, Kinecta Syndication Server. ScreamingMedia, QuarkXpress, and Oracle 8 and 8i databases. Expressroom I/O will be available at the end of Q2, 2000. Expressroom is sold on a monthly or annual subscription basis. www.worldweb.net
OverDrive Inc. and Microsoft Corp. announced a comprehensive set of authoring tools and services to enable publishers to easily create eBook titles based on Microsoft Reader with ClearType display technology. A beta version of the initial product, ReaderWorks Standard — which enables individuals to convert content from Microsoft Word, HTML, ASCII, OEB or image files into Microsoft Reader format — is available via free download from the ReaderWorks Web site. Through its ReaderWorks family of products, OverDrive offers publishers tools and services to join the eBook revolution. Individual authors, as well as large-scale production houses and datacenters, are able to easily and economically build eBook titles and repositories for Microsoft Reader. ReaderWorks Standard is a free Microsoft Windows-based application that enables users to build and customize Microsoft Reader-enabled eBooks from Word documents and HTML, ASCII, images or Open eBook Specification files. ReaderWorks Publisher is an upgrade that prepares Microsoft Reader-compatible titles for sale and distribution by eBookstores. With ReaderWorks Publisher, eBook authors can answer a few questions about their title and create XML files that contain marketing and copyright protection data in ONIX, XrML and Microsoft Digital Rights Management architecture. ReaderWorks Software Developers Kit includes developers tools for integrating the automated production of eBooks in Microsoft Reader format. ReaderWorks SDK also permits software applications to add “save as Reader” support. ReaderWorks Professional is a suite of eBook conversion and quality control tools for volume producers of LIT files (Reader format) in a batch environment. OverDrive and its network of VARs offer publishers a range of education, training and conversion services, including turnkey systems. The ReaderWorks Standard beta version is available free of charge at www.readerworks.com. The other products in the ReaderWorks suite are expected to be commercially available within the next 90 days; pricing has not yet been announced. www.overdrive.com