Curated content for content, computing, and digital experience professionsals

Category: Software Infrastructure (Page 1 of 4)

The Pull of Content Value

Traditionally, publishing is a pushy process. When I have something to say, I write it down. Perhaps I revise it, check with colleagues, and verify my facts with appropriate authorities. Then I publish it, and move on to the next thing – without directly interacting with my audience and stakeholders. Whether I distribute the content electronically or in a hard copy format, I leave it to my readers to determine the value of whatever I publish.

However, as we describe in our recently completed report Smart Content in the Enterprise, XML applications can transform this conventional publishing paradigm. By smart content, we mean content that is granular at the appropriate level, semantically rich, useful across applications, and meaningful for collaborative interaction.

From a business perspective, smart content adds value to published information in new and compelling ways. Let’s consider the experiences of NetApp and Warrior Gateway, two of the organizations featured in our report.

NetApp
As a provider of storage and data management solutions, NetApp has invested a lot of time and effort embracing DITA and restructuring its technical documentation. By systematically tagging and managing content components, and by focusing on the underlying content development processes, writers and editors can keep up with the pace of product releases.

But there is more to this publishing process orientation. Beyond simply producing product information faster and cheaper, NetApp is poised to make publishing better. The company can now easily support its reseller partners by providing them with the DITA tagged content that they can directly incorporate into their own OEM solutions. Resellers’ customers get just the information they need, directly from the source. With its XML application, NetApp incorporates its partners and stakeholders into its information value chain.

Warrior Gateway
As a content aggregator, Warrior Gateway collects, organizes, enriches, and redistributes content about a wide range of health, welfare, and veteran-related services to soldiers, veterans, and their families. Rather than simply compiling an online catalog of service providers’ listings, Warrior Gateway restructures the content that government, military, and local organizations produce, and enriches it by adding veteran-related categories and other information. Furthermore, Warrior Gateway adds a social dimension by encouraging contributions from veterans and family members.

Once stored within the XML application powering Warrior Gateway, the content is easily reorganized and reclassified to provide the veterans’ perspective about areas of interest and importance. Volunteers working with Warrior Gateway can add new categories when necessary. Service providers can claim their profile and improve their own data details. Even the public users can contribute to content to the gateway, a crowd sourcing strategy to efficiently collect feedback from users. With contributions from multiple stakeholders, the published listings can be enriched over time without requiring a large internal staff to add the extra information.

Capturing New Business Value
There’s a lot more detail about how the XML applications work in our case studies – I recommend that you check them out.

What I find intriguing is the range of promising and potentially profitable business models engendered by smart content.  Enterprise publishers have new options and can go beyond simply pushing content through a publishing process. Now they can build on their investments, and capture the pull of content value.

eZ Systems Updates eZ Components

eZ Systems announced the release of eZ Components version 2008.2. This is the seventh major version of eZ Components, which is a general-purpose PHP library of over 40 components used independently or together for PHP application development. The latest versions of eZ Publish are also based on eZ Components. With eZ Components, developers can concentrate on solving customer-specific needs. The eZ Components tool set provides key application functionality, such as caching, authentication, database interaction, templates, graphs, and much more. Main improvements in this release include more features for the Document and Webdav components. The Document component, which enables you to convert documents between different formats, was already able to convert ReST to XTHML and DocBook. In this release, more formats are implemented, such as three different wiki formats (Confluence, Creole and DokuWiki), the eZ Publish XML formats, as well as reading XHTML and writing ReST. The wiki parser can easily be extended for other wiki formats. The Webdav component now supports authentication and authorization, as well as support for integrating authentication mechanisms into existing systems. In addition, it supports shared and exclusive write locks, even with custom storage back-ends. The main new development of the eZ Components 2008.2 release is the MvcTools component. The MvcTools component implements the tools for a framework. Instead of dedicating the structure of the application, it provides a dispatcher, two request parsers (one for HTTP and one for email messages through the existing Mail component), two routing methods, two view handlers (one through plain PHP scripts and one through the Template component), and a response writer for HTTP. http://ezcomponents.org

Sun Announces Agreement to Acquire MySQL

Sun Microsystems, Inc. (NASDAQ: JAVA) announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire MySQL AB, an open source icon and developer of open source databases for approximately $1 billion in total consideration. The acquisition accelerates Sun’s position in enterprise IT to now include the $15 billion database market. With millions of global deployments including Facebook, Google, Nokia, Baidu and China Mobile, MySQL will bring synergies to Sun that will help drive new adoption of MySQL’s open source database in more traditional applications and enterprises. The integration with Sun will extend the commercial appeal of MySQL’s offerings and improve its value proposition with the addition of Sun’s global services organization. MySQL will also gain new distribution through Sun’s channels including its OEM relationships with Intel, IBM and Dell. MySQL’s open source database is the “M” in LAMP – the software platform comprised of Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP/Perl. Sun is committed to enhancing and optimizing the LAMP stack on GNU/Linux and Microsoft Windows along with OpenSolaris and MAC OS X. The database from MySQL, OpenSolaris and GlassFish, together with Sun’s Java platform and NetBeans communities, will create a Web application platform across a wide range of customers shifting their applications to the Web. Following completion of the proposed transaction, MySQL will be integrated into Sun’s Software, Sales and Service organizations and the company’s CEO, Marten Mickos, will be joining Sun’s senior executive leadership team. In the interim, a joint team with representatives from both companies will develop integration plans that build upon the technical, product and cultural synergies and the best business and product development practices of both companies. MySQL is headquartered in Cupertino, CA and Uppsala, Sweden and has 400 employees in 25 countries. As part of the transaction, Sun will pay approximately $800 million in cash in exchange for all MySQL stock and assume approximately $200 million in options. The transaction is expected to close in late Q3 or early Q4 of Sun’s fiscal 2008. Completion of the transaction is subject to regulatory approval and other customary closing conditions. The deal is expected to be accretive to FY10 operating income on a GAAP basis. http://www.mysql.com, http://sun.com

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