A New XML-to-Legacy Connection

One of XML's most compelling advantages is its potential to act as a near-seamless interoperability glue between disparate application or platform types. Nowhere is this advantage more pronounced than in XML's role as a connector between traditional enterprise applications and the World Wide Web.

Companies can now use XML-based tools to publish reports, documents, or other information directly from legacy applications and databases to the Web. A new XML-based content management and workflow application publishing tool developed by eBusiness Technologies USA (www.ebt.com) now gives IT organizations a way to automate this process.

The tool, called engenda, lets end users integrate with any of the leading application servers to dynamically deliver and personalize content. Engenda features eBusiness Technologies' core content management capabilities from its DynaBase server series -- including workflow, editions, templates, and dynamic assembly -- while leveraging the strengths of application servers to provide personalization, transaction processing, and other delivery related capabilities. With this announcement, eBusiness Technologies intends to compete head-to-head with market rival Interwoven Inc. (www.interwoven.com), according to a company spokesperson.

The system provides forms-based authoring and templating, as well as Word-to-XML conversion for non-technical users. In addition, the system includes a centralized content repository and content management engine.

"Nearly 70 percent of our customers use DynaBase to manage their content and then serve it through an application server," says James Ringrose, president of eBusiness Technologies. "Engenda leverages our ability to work seamlessly with application servers to meet this growing demand for greater flexibility."

The engenda-DynaBase union can automate the publishing of documents, reports, or other data to Internet sites or to corporate intranets and WANs. Among other standard amenities, company officials say engenda features enhancements that help reduce the overall time-to-market and costs for e-business ventures, such as content management and XML tag generation.

Engenda/DynaBase features a Web builder tool that leverages a set of XML tags to facilitate the creation of personalized content without the need for complex scripting or for hands-on programming. Engenda also features a new tool -- dubbed Web Manager Pro -- that can help content contributors and IT administrators manage or reduce the surfeit of data that accrues during the application-to-Web publishing process.

Houghton Mifflin Co. (www.houghtonmifflin.com) recently implemented engenda/DynaBase to manage and publish content on its 150 College Division Web sites. The sites offer online textbooks, videos, study aids, and other educational resources in more than 40 disciplines and subdisciplines. Tools such as Web Manager Pro provide additional development support for back-end integration tasks that were previous difficult to coordinate, says Justin LaPierre, systems architect for the College Division at Houghton-Mifflin. "The fully functional Java version of Web Manager Pro allows the user to choose any Java-supported platform for content and script development," he says.

Most enterprise knowledge workers aren't power users, however. To accommodate this class of end user, engenda ships with a new tool, Web Author, that also provides a browser-based method to publish content. Engenda's Web Starter tool provides a way for enterprises to get Web applications up and running quickly.

"Web Author, with its browser-based interface, greatly extends the ability of users to participate in content development and management both on and off site," Houghton-Mifflin's LaPierre says. "Web Builder provides a useful base of functionality and technical strategies for continued development." The tool also enables Houghton-Mifflin "to exploit the capabilities of XML for a competitive advantage," LaPierre adds.