PTC (Nasdaq: PMTC) announced the general availability of Arbortext 5.2, the latest release of PTC’s dynamic publishing software. The new release is geared towards helping customers solve their global publishing needs for technical documentation, product catalogs, and product information. The release includes support for EU languages, in particular for the new countries that joined the EU in 2004. For content editing, this release also supports Hebrew and Arabic. The user interface and help system of Arbortext 5.2 will also support the 9 languages common to other PTC solutions. These include English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Japanese, Korean, Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese. The Import/Export feature, which provides conversion between word processing/desktop publishing files and XML, will provide new functionality and replace the Arbortext Interchange module. The Import feature will offer finer control over the conversion of styles into XML tags, so that word processing and desktop publishing files can more easily be translated into XML. The Export feature will convert XML to RTF using the same stylesheets that are used to publish to print and electronic media. Without altering existing stylesheets, users will be able to produce Microsoft Word documents with just the click of the “Print” button. Availability of a Linux version is planned for March 2006. http://www.ptc.com
Stellent, Inc. (Nasdaq:STEL) announced a new strategy enabling customers to better manage wikis and blogs within their corporate environments and integrate wikis and blogs into a multi-site Web content management framework. Stellent Universal Content Management now enables wiki contributors to create hyperlinks in both pattern-matching and wizard style formats. This capability allows users to link to other topics and pages within a wiki site, as well as other Web sites. When an author creates a new hyperlink about a particular subject, the Stellent system will automatically link to a wiki page about that topic. If the page does not exist, it will automatically create a new page. Contributors can edit wiki pages in real-time and instantly view their changes. The Stellent technology also records a history of wiki activity, so readers know who writes or changes content, how many times content is revised and if there are certain topics currently under heavy debate. A locking and revision control feature ensures only one user may change content at a time, and it also keeps an audit trail of all revisions which is then available for records and retention management purposes. Stellent Universal Content Management now provides short, blog-formatted WYSIWYG forms, enabling authors to post new blog entries without requiring HTML expertise. Authors can submit new posts to a blog via email or by using word processing applications such as Microsoft Word or OpenOffice. Stellent Universal Content Management’s new, out-of-the-box templates enable organizations to quickly deploy RSS feeds for intranet, extranet and public Web site content managed in the Stellent repository. The Stellent system automatically generates RSS feeds of managed content using metadata and rule sets. These feeds can be static lists or dynamic feeds that change depending on the viewer’s role and access privileges. Stellent users also may leverage external RSS feeds to display content from other online news sources within the branding parameters of their particular Web sites. And, users can utilize the system to monitor and distribute blog posts via RSS feeds. http://www.stellent.com/blogswikis
We have written about the idea of content that is critical to business process before, such as the content that is intimately tied to eCommerce (see here and here). Forrester Research, as well as Gilbane colleagues Mary Laplante and Bill Zoellick like the term “transactional content,” and Bill and Mary have offered the following helpful definition in the past:
Transactional content can be defined as shared information that drives business-to-business processes. It is the content that flows through the commerce chain, initiating and automating processes such as procurement, order management, supply chain planning, and product support. Transactional content is shared in the sense that it is exchanged among partners, suppliers, customers and distributors who each can contribute to it.
Gilbane colleague David Guenette and I have grappled in the past with ‘actionable content” as a preferred term. We keep thinking that transactional is just too narrowly suggestive of the financial transaction that takes place when something is finally purchased. Instead, we argue, there are many, many steps leading up to the financial transaction where content can support a series of actions. Looking at the industrial buying process in the recent past, I see this idea of a series of actions making more and more sense. More complex buying doesn’t happen in one single transaction. A prospective buyer needs to first search for information, find it, review what he or she has found, perhaps download more detailed information, evaluate what he or she has learned, query for more information, and so on. Each ot these are actions, and content drives each one.
In industrial buying, the particular actions around content can be complex–reviewing technical specifications, downloading and using CAD drawings, and even configuring the content and CAD drawings prior to downloading them. This kind of content and this kind of parameterization of content is increasingly available on the Web. For example, look at the detailed information one motor company, Oriental Motors, provides for one of its thousands of available products. This page includes specifications, photos, dimensional images, connection diagrams, and both two-dimensional and three-dimensional CAD drawings. Users can view all of this information and then download, for example, CAD drawings in one of several formats, depending on what CAD package they are using. Once downloaded, these drawings can be more closely analyzed, and can even be inserted directly into active designs.
Has a transaction taken place yet? It could be argued both ways, I guess. Whatever the terminology, however, a great deal has happened. The engineer has learned a great deal. The company has been able to share their product information. The design of a new product has been furthered by the engineer downloading the drawing. Research tells us that a drawing inserted in this way usually results in the product being sourced when the design goes to manufacturing. Actionable or transactional? Either way, it’s good news for the company that has deployed their content to the Web in such a usable, flexible manner.
I will have some more thoughts on this in the next couple of days.
ZyLAB announced that its channel program has gained several new partnerships in the past six months. Ambit Solutions, Information Management Solutions, Light Industries, Lockheed Martin, RS Pacific, Solutions in Software, Southeast Digital Networks, SECURE ITnet have all engaged ZyLAB to participate in the program. ZyLAB offers partners a modular information access platform to manage e-mail, electronic documents and paper. http://www.zylab.com
Scientigo, Inc. (OTCBB:MKTE) and Critical Technologies, Inc. jointly announced the signing of a technology teaming agreement. The collaboration between the companies joins Critical Technologies transaction processing solution with Scientigo’s multi-patented intelligent document recognition and search solutions to create an information processing, management and retrieval solution. The companies will initially concentrate on addressing the document management demands associated with medical and dental revenue cycle management processes, compliance issues mandating large data and email storage, and other enterprise management applications within the healthcare, financial and legal markets.
Altova announced a new approach to accelerating the creation of reliable Web services by leveraging the visual design capabilities of Altova XMLSpy and MapForce. Customers can develop applications based on WSDL, SOAP, and other Web-based standards so that data can be shared across disparate business systems. To help customers better understand Web services and how Altova tools simplify their development, the Altova Solutions Center now contains specific business scenarios, case studies, technical guidance, video demonstrations, white papers, free online training classes, and a recommended gameplan for Web services success. The complementary features of Altova XMLSpy and MapForce automate many of the otherwise complex steps in Web services development so developers can concentrate on business rules and logic instead of becoming mired in source code or the arcane implementation details of the infrastructure. The Web services information resources are available now in the Altova Solutions Center and can be accessed free of charge at: http://www.altova.com/solutions_center.html
Idiom Technologies, Inc. announced expanded deployment and licensing options for its WorldServer globalization platform. Aimed at the translation and localization needs of global organizations of all sizes, Idiom now provides deployment and licensing options to suit nearly every IT resource and budgetary need. These options include hosted solutions, with the ability to deploy WorldServer offsite in a secure datacenter, and month-to-month or multi-year term licensing choices in addition to the company’s traditional perpetual license agreements. With WorldServer Hosted Solutions, Idiom Professional Services or an Idiom Technologies Certified Partner install, configure and run WorldServer offsite in a secure, reliable and high-performance datacenter. All WorldServer Hosted Solutions are based on a dual-server configuration designed for optimal performance. Customers may choose from Microsoft SQL Server or Oracle Database, and a variety of user configurations. An alternative to traditional perpetual licensing plans, WorldServer Term Licensing provides customers with the option to make time-limited software licensing commitments on a month-to-month or multi-year basis. Software maintenance is included in the term license fee.
Microsoft’s InfoPath was announced with great fanfare in October 2003 as part of the Office 2003 release. Microsoft then included some enhancements to InfoPath in a Service Pack release (SP1) of Office, which was distributed in June 2004. Since then, there has been little news about InfoPath. The InfoPath team blog at the Microsoft Developer Network went quiet in early 2005, with its last post in November of 2005, which was an announcement of an InfoPath 2003 Toolkit for Visual Studio 2005. There is a newish InfoPath tips-and-tricks blog by Microsoft blogger Tim Pash, but other than that, Microsoft has been very quiet about InfoPath. Does this suggest a reduced commitment by Microsoft?
UPDATE: As you can see from the comments, Microsoft appears to be plenty busy with InfoPath. See also this post from Eric Richards, who is a development lead on Microsoft Office.