New File-Sharing Tool Leverages Print Command

Typically, file sharing is a multi-application exercise. Recipients download a file in a format such as a Word document or PDF, then launch an application or viewer to open the file. In most cases, the file cannot be edited, updated or altered.

Recently, Sharing Technologies (www.sharing.com) launched a new file-distribution tool that enables end-users to almost instantaneously open application files from almost any type of system. Sharing's Papirus tool, which runs in Lotus Domino/Notes environments, is targeted at user groups that quickly need to pass around and collaborate on files.

The tool uses an application's print command to capture any information from that application. Once created, the package can be indexed and shared and its content extracted and reused by end-users. "The only requirement is that you have access to the Windows print facility and have a print command available in the application," says Guillaume Deudon, vice president of marketing for Sharing Technologies. Files from any type of application can be created, including home-grown programs, and those generated through terminal emulation of mainframe, Unix and AS/400 sessions.

Files created with the Windows print command are based on vector technology, derived from the Windows metafile format, Deudon explains. "That means the information is available on-screen, at different zoom levels, with high-quality renderings." Plus, any text in the image can be searched and retrieved, he adds.

Papirus integrates with Notes/Domino 4.51 or higher running on Windows NT Server 4.0. The client component creates and shares Papirus information packages and is integrated with the Notes client, while the server component is a Domino server task that stores information packages, handles client connections and monitors users.

Sharing has no plans at this time to offer a version on Microsoft Exchange, Deudon says. Eventually, the vendor may offer a version on Exchange 2000, but "right now, it's too early," he explains. "It looks like the rollout of Exchange 2000 with large corporations will not happen until next year." He adds that Notes/Domino has about 66 million seats, which is a sizeable market.

Deudon sees the tool as a more comprehensive alternative to file formats such as PDF. "PDF is a file converter that only addresses a format issue," he explains. "Plus, it's an end-user solution for a single person, not for sharing information in a group. PDF is perfect for e-mail, a fire-and-forget solution. That's not practical when it comes to collaboration."

The package also employs language translation technology from Alis Technologies Inc. (www.alis.com).