Newsgroups: clari.nb.general

SGML '93: Rainbow "SGML Enabler" Available On Internet 12/10/93

Date: 10 Dec 93 20:54:05 GMT

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS, U.S.A., 1993 DEC 10 (NB) -- Electronic
Book Technologies (EBT) has announced that Rainbow (RB), a
new "public technology platform" for easing the transition from
proprietary word processor (WP) data to Standard Generalized
Markup Language (SGML), is now available free of charge over the

David Sklar, senior application developer at EBT and leader of a
team of SGML tool vendors that created Rainbow, told Newsbytes
that the new approach specifies a single Document Type Definition
(DTD) for use as an "enabler" between proprietary word processor
data formats and SGML. DTDs are used to designate rules for
SGML, an emerging standard for publication and delivery of
electronic information.

The DTD specified under Rainbow represents a variety of
proprietary word processor formats, said Sklar, in a meeting with
Newsbytes at SGML '93. The tool makers have also developed
"Rainbow Makers" for converting the proprietary WP information
into the Rainbow DTD. 

Once a document is represented in basic Rainbow format, "Rainbow
Transformers" and other new tools can be used to extract the
richer SGML structures required by various industry-specific
DTDs, such as DocBook, J2008, RefBook, HTML, and AAP.

Sklar explained that SGML is gaining momentum in the
marketplace as organizations with large bodies of information --
such as technical manuals, maintenance procedures, catalogs, and
price lists -- begin to stabilize their data by converting to a
standard, vendor- and application-neutral format.

"(But) proprietary word processing formats are typically poorly
documented, highly idiosyncratic, and subject to change without
notice. Maintaining conversion tools that recognize such formats
is thus a very expensive endeavor. The goal of Rainbow is to
provide a stable data format to feed conversion tools, making the
path to SGML much more affordable and increasing the shelf-life
of such tools," he added. 

Rainbow has obtained strong support from a number of leading SGML
tool vendors, including SoftQuad, Exoterica, ArborText, and
Database Publishing Systems, according to Sklar.

Rainbow Makers are currently available for several word
processing formats, including Windows RTF (Rich Text Format),
Interleaf, and Frame, Newsbytes was told. "But we are issuing a
call to the industry for greater involvement in the Rainbow
effort," Sklar told Newsbytes.

To obtain free copies of Rainbow Makers and the annotated Rainbow
DTD anonymously via the Internet, use FTP server 
Rainbow data is located in pub/nv/dtd/rainbow.

To receive notification of Rainbow DTD updates and events, as
well as information on the status of Rainbow Makers, subscribe to
the Rainbow information service. You can contact the information
service by sending electronic mail to

(Jacqueline Emigh/19931210/Reader contact: EBT, tel
401-421-9550; Press contacts: Kent Summers, EBT, tel
401-421-9550; Paul Lamoureux, Miller Communications for EBT, tel