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Once again, the Seybold Report editors have chosen 25 products from the thousands of exhibits as "must see" items at this year's San Francisco Conference. We are proud to have PatternStream recognized by the Seybold Editors as a "Hot Pick" for 1998! Please visit us at the Adobe Pavilion Booth #36.
Finite Matters Ltd. (FML)'s PatternStream application and its associated database publishing architecture have been used to publish numerous types of complex page layouts from a variety of data sources. The following list shows samples of the types of pages, documents, and books that can be rapidly deployed using PatternStream:
|Financial Reports||Phone Directories with Ad's|
.....and much more!
To date we have not encountered a format that cannot be published from a database using PatternStream or our database publishing architecture and Adobe® FrameMaker®. From the simplest directories to the most complex catalogs, our systems can efficiently publish them all.
FML's PatternStream, a revolutionary new database publishing application, allows customers to publish products (i.e., Catalogs, Directories, Manuals, Reference books, Reports, and other pattern-based documents) rapidly from a database, at the push of a button for both print and electronic distribution. Utilizing standard query language (SQL), users can extract pictures, text, and dynamic data, format it "on-the-fly", and save it press-ready. The application can save a published document or book to multiple electronic formats that include FrameMaker binary file format, Adobe Postscript®, Adobe Acrobat® PDF, HTML, and soon, XML. Information can now be rapidly published from one or more data sources and distributed to multiple media including printed paper, CD-ROM, internal networks, and the WWW. PatternStream will change the way that you look at your information.
Our application is fast to implement, easy to use, and efficient. It connects directly to FrameMaker and any Open database connectivity (ODBC) and SQL compliant database. The system utilizes open standards and non-proprietary applications enabling much greater flexibility. The result is a cost-effective system that allows you to set up and publish in minutes not days, depending on product size and complexity. Typically, the application can publish up to 15-20 pages per minute on a Pentium II / 233 MHz processor. Publishing speed is dependent upon processor speed and document format. This rapid ability to publish allows you to make corrections at the database level and re-publish quickly it's that simple. Changes can also be made within the published document itself using the powerful and robust FrameMaker application, before printing or conversion to electronic file formats. Click here for more overview and company information.
FML has completed the first version of the PatternStream application. PatternStream has been constructed using the C++ programming language in combination with Adobe Frame Developer's Kit® (FDK). This ensured complete integration with FrameMaker, high performance, and a base for extensibility.
PatternStream connects to any SQL and ODBC compliant database and publishes information directly into FrameMaker. The application manages database information resulting from queries by placing them into a series of objects that are controlled by user defined schemes. The schemes may include information on which variable database information may be placed into text strings, tables, text frames, and image frames. The schemes also describe how the FrameMaker template is to be used in formatting each object. An example would be relating specific paragraph and character tags to a string template. PatternStream has a graphical user interface (GUI) that is used to establish the scheme and control the publishing process. Conditions may be established to determine which information is published, and where it is published, based on the database query results. The following diagram shows the basic workings of the PatternStream application.
PatternStream can generate dynamic documents through the Internet, intranet, or extranet WWW-based front-ends.Users can jump online, select the information they desire, click "publish", and instantly receive a PDF file of the information as an email attachment. Very quick and totally dynamic!
Dynamic PDF documents can be created using a WWW interface to the PatternStream application and the publishing database. Using Java, CGI, or other WWW programming environments, simple applications can be written which allow:
This process allows users to create documents from a database(s) and have them delivered using a WWW interface or email attachment extending the reach and scope of database publishing to make it user defined and accessible to the world through the WWW. Practical applications include custom:
Educational and corporate organizations can list their available training courses on a WWW server for access. Training customers can select the courses they are interested in and have a PDF listing of the courses, including title, number, time, location, description, prerequisites, and other pertinent course attributes, emailed to them within minutes.
Manufacturers can list products and catalog attributes on a WWW server enabling distribution centers to create customer specific catalogs. A salesperson in a remote location can go to a protected WWW site, access the appropriate page and application, choose the appropriate products and format (including end customer specific heading and footers), and create a PDF catalog. Once the PDF catalog is received and reviewed, the salesperson can 1) print the catalog on a desktop printer, 2) go to a quick-print shop to print a number of catalogs, 3) go to a high end printer for large quantities of catalogs, 4) provide the end customer with a PDF file.
Numerous organizations develop databases for reports for use by internal customers, clients, or the public. Using the WWW and PatternStream, systems can be rapidly developed and deployed which will allow WWW enabled customers to create custom PDF reports from various databases.
Database publishing can be used to effectively produce superior:
Organizations that currently have shown a need to perform database publishing tasks include:
The PatternStream GUI has seven tabs:
Each tab is used to control the specific areas of operation of the PatternStream application. The image shows the Pattern Set View tab dialog. This dialog box is used to control the operation of the application and view the database publishing pattern. Database publishing pattern set template (pst) files are also opened and saved through this dialog box. This allows database publishing templates to be saved and schemes easily recalled and used when products need to be published. Additionally, it provides another way to access information quickly. From this point, the user can select and open the applicable dialog boxes.
The Data Link tab dialog is used to connect variable database information to variable objects that can be referred to by name and can be used to either build textual content or direct various formatting decisions. This establishes the connection between the database and the PatternStream application. The Query Properties dialog window is where queries are developed to obtain information from the database. Note that PatternStream can even perform where and order by statements.
The Pattern Builder tab dialog is used to build the information pattern. This establishes the motif in which the information is to be published. For example, a directory may have information that includes firm name, address, and telephone number, each having to go on a separate line using a different style. In this case, the pattern of the three paragraphs is repeated for as many times as there are firm names (i.e., answers to a particular query). The application will enable a non-programmer to construct patterns of indefinite complexity. Additionally, users can add sub-patterns and additional string templates for increased information complexity.
The String Template Builder tab dialog is used to construct text strings for publishing. It assigns paragraph and character tags to segments of variable or constant textual information. For example, the word Phone appearing before a variable phone number would be represented by a String Template object (constant and variable dialogs) with two segments, the first containing the constant string Phone and an assigned emphasis character tag, followed by a variable object containing the current value of the phone number. FrameMaker hexadecimal codes can be used as part of the constant text information.
The Conditions/Lookup tab dialog is used to set the
conditions to be used for publishing decisions. For example, in a phone directory it may
be desirable to format the business listings in bold type for emphasis. A condition can be established so that any business
receives a bold entry in the FrameMaker document. Conditions can also be used to select
which items are published in a document. The value of a condition can be dependent on the
current value of assigned variable objects which derive their value from the database.
To use PatternStream, a FrameMaker template or a series of templates must be created before establishing the application's pattern set template. If the product to be published is in the form of a book, several templates may have to be designed to represent sections of the book. This is necessary because of PatternStream's tight integration with the FrameMaker publishing engine. Instead of developing a new engine, FML decided to use the best long document publishing application as an engine to drive the publishing and output process. The application uses the formatting information contained in the FrameMaker template directly to control the database information formatting.
FrameMaker template design expertise is required to use PatternStream. This includes the design of master pages, paragraph and character tag catalogs, table catalogs, and establishing other FrameMaker document publishing attributes.
Once the FrameMaker templates are complete, the application's pattern set template can
be set up using the GUI. The FrameMaker templates can be modified as
the database pattern set template is developed. This provides the ability to
publish a page or two and view, modify, or make necessary corrections "on-the-
fly" permitting rapid development and publishing of database derived products.
PatternStream has been optimized for performance on Windows 95, 98, and NT operating system workstations. Workstations should have a Pentium II processor, 64 MB RAM, and 25 MB of free hard drive space to install and run FrameMaker and PatternStream. It is also necessary to have FrameMaker version 5.5 or greater, Acrobat 3.1 or greater (included with FrameMaker version 5.5), and Microsofts 32 bit ODBC (for database connectivity) installed.
PatternStream works optimally on Windows NT version 4.0, service pack 3, operating system workstations with 128 MB RAM or more.
The application does not include Adobe FrameMaker or Acrobat, ODBC drivers, or ODBC and
SQL compliant databases.
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