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CTO on quest for Holy Grail of content management

At the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo in San Diego this spring, Microsoft's Bill Gates listed speech recognition, handwriting recognition and code-free modeling among his top 10 "Holy Grails of computers."

Ben Chen, CTO at Snapbridge Software, an XML technology start-up in San Diego County, Calif., adds another Holy Grail to the list -- content management of all text and graphics for the publishing industry. He calls this goal of creating content once and automatically publishing it in multiple print and electronic formats "cross media." The good news, Chen says, is XML tools and technologies are close to making cross-media management a reality.

"XML is ideal for cross media," he says, noting that meta-data tagging is common for text and graphics files contained in data repositories.

At this week's Seybold San Francisco 2004, Snapbridge is unveiling FDX Cross Media Server, a multiplatform family of XML applications Chen and his development team created to manage the archiving and repurposing of newspaper and magazine content.

Demonstrating the practicality of the product, Chen lists Greenspun Media Group as an early adopter of Snapbridge's integrated cross-media publishing applications. Greenspun wants to streamline production at its newspapers and magazines, including the Las Vegas Sun daily newspaper, Vegas Magazine, Las Vegas Weekly, Las Vegas Life and ShowBiz Weekly.

Although most publishing organizations have gone high tech by putting content on Web sites, Chen says most content repurposing is done the old fashioned way -- by human interaction. Editors and other knowledge workers convert text and graphics files for print publications and for use in other media.

Snapbridge's patent-pending Federated Data eXchange (FDX) technology leverages XML standards and Java technology to give developers tools to create applications that replace this handwork, Chen says. He also claims FDX lets IT organizations quickly and easily develop cross-media applications for repurposing, archiving and streamlining editorial workflow.

FDX-based software products provide a Web browser-based interface linking desktop applications to the different types of content publishers work with, including text and graphic files. Supported XML format support includes Adobe's XMP standard, DocBook and NITF; multiple platform support covers Windows, Linux and OSX.

The XML-based tools were developed after Snapbridge spent time on the frontlines with workers who needed to repurpose content for multiple formats. As with all desktop products, the goal was to make it easy to use, which Chen says his development team achieved.

"If you can use Google, you can use our product," he says.

About the Author

Rich Seeley is Web Editor for Campus Technology.

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