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database management systems

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database management systems

I am a tech writer/consultant who is new to SGML. I am interested in
developing a SGML database of modular pieces of information. I am
looking for help/guidance on the database side. Can anyone suggest books
or websites that will help to educate me on this topic? While I have
lots of questions, there are probably many more questions that I have
not yet thought to ask.

Thanks in advance.
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3 REPLIES 3

database management systems

Virtually any DBMS is capable of receiving and managing the contents of SGML
instances at a low level. The challenge is development or selection of the
application layer that sits between the DBMS and the user, providing the
control and visibility appropriate to the editorial and management task.
When you buy a system such as Documentum, XyVision's PDM, Chrystal's Astoria
(not intended to be an exhaustive list), you get some database and the
vendor's application code to do what you want. It's only fair to point out
as well, that you can do a heck of a lot of document management using
nothing more than the good ole' file system.

If you are a real database expert with plenty of time to develop and support
your code, you may want to write this type of thing yourself. However, if
that is not the case, you may want to look at the tools in the marketplace,
evaluate them against the details of your task set ( in short, cut through
the document management generalities and ask them in detail if they can do
what you want, which, of course presuppses that you have developed an
exhaustive list [how's that for a tool long sentence?]) and choose the best
one based on functionality and cost. In this area, the devil really is in
the details and we have seen more than one case in which a DMS was purchased
and had to be heavily and expensively modified or actually shelved at great
cost because, at the end of the day, they just didn't do what the buyers
needed done.

I think the best comparison is between developing your own DMS and
developing your own SGML editor; definitely doable but hardly cost-effective
or risk averse in all but the most unique situations.

Best regards,

Barry Schaeffer

database management systems

Not to brag or anything, but my book probably comes the closest to what you
are looking for, but it may not be enough. My book SGML @ Work, takes a
FrameMaker document through the process of building a DTD, converting
it loading it into a variety of SGML editors and finally into Texcel Information
Manager - which is now owned by Interleaf.

For more information see:

http://www.slip.net/~dvint/pubs/sgmlatwork.shtml

If you go with a native SGML tool like Astoria or Texcel, much of the work is
done for you because they read the DTD directly and you can get to any piece of
data without them being in special files. With the non-native tools like
Documentum or Xyvision PDM you have build tools first that basically break
your document into separate files and then your reuse is based upon that level
that you set. Want a differnt level, re-write all the tools. I definitly
recommend the native SGML tools.

If you have any specific questions, write, we are currently setting up an
Astoria implementation where I'm at now.

..dan

>
> --=Bndry=--137371234

database management systems

>
> Virtually any DBMS is capable of receiving and managing the contents of SGML
> instances at a low level. The challenge is development or selection of the
> application layer that sits between the DBMS and the user, providing the
> control and visibility appropriate to the editorial and management task.
> When you buy a system such as Documentum, XyVision's PDM, Chrystal's Astoria
> (not intended to be an exhaustive list), you get some database and the
> vendor's application code to do what you want. It's only fair to point out
> as well, that you can do a heck of a lot of document management using
> nothing more than the good ole' file system.

I agree totally,

We just went through an extensive search for a document management
system and database. We evaluated several products like eXcelon etc. Our
conclusion was that if you need full control over the document instances
or parts of it and indexing mechanismen, you just need to write the
document management system yourself.

This is exactly what we've been doing lately (in java). If you decide to
write your own content management system, do it based on an object
database, this will help a lot.

Jeroen.

ps. If your interested in our solution, contact me by mail.