"The Internet is the way we are going to access information and applications in the future," says Oracle Chairman and CEO Larry Ellison.
Speaking at the company's iDe-velop conference in Burlingame, Calif., in May, Ellison went on to say that "balance of power has shifted" to an economy driven by browser-based clients and Inter-net-focused applications.
Ellison was one of the early promoters of "thin-client" computing. The idea being that a user didn't need an expensive, powerful desktop computer with a lot of expensive applications to work with data. You should be able to do all the same tasks through a Web browser by accessing applications on a remote server.
It has taken a couple years for the technologies to mature and for real thin-client applications to appear, but Web technologies are finding their way into nearly every kind of computing task. Everything from e-commerce and electronic banking to browser-based project management and video conferencing - the Internet is enabling people to work more closely together, and share more information, from more diverse locations, than ever before. And newsrooms are beginning to realize what these systems can mean for them.
Imagine a managing editor that needs to go home early because she has caught a bad cold, but she still wants to know if her team is going to meet its deadlines. Wouldn't it be great if she could access her company's publishing system from a laptop in her bed? Add comments to articles and suggest a new lead story for the front page? Until now, that would have been a difficult thing to do.
"At SAXoTECH, we are rapidly attempting to integrate Web technologies into our publishing system in order to stay on the cutting edge and fulfill the rising de-mands of the future newspaper in-dustry" says Chief Technology Officer Werner Elhauge, SAXo-TECH.
At the America East show in Hershey, Pa., SAXoTECH introduced the newest addition to its SAXoPRESS Publishing System - SAXoAnyWare.
Built with Java technologies, SAXoAnyWare allows browser-based clients to gain access over an Internet connection to the full suite of SAXoPRESS modules. No SAXoPRESS software is required on the remote workstation.
"Without running any SAXoTECH software in a local computer, a client workstation can perform full SAXoPRESS page makeup, image processing, archiving, and production management functions," says The Seybold Report on Publishing Systems.
Application speed over the long-distance connection is the only major drawback of this approach. But SAXoTECH software engineers believe that even with a moderate-speed Internet connection, the performance should be acceptable, since the server is producing the user interface and only transferring screen images to the client browser.
"A key benefit of this approach is that a wide-area system can be implemented without installing any extra hardware or software at the client stations, while still enabling all personnel to have access to all system functions, including tracking of status," continues the April 19, 1999, Seybold Report.
These modules include:
- Articles module
- WireNews module
- SAXoTEXT module (text editor)
- Pictures module
- WirePhoto module
- Layout module
- NetNews module (Web publishing)
- SAXoBRS Archive module
- QuarkXPress Xtensions (page building and production)
The SAXoAnyWare module allows remote users to work with same, intuitive SAXoPRESS modules as onsite users. The interface is the same.
To use the software, a remote user would:
- Initiate an Internet connection (through dialup to an Internet Service Provider, via a dedicated line, or through a VPN connection).
- Start their Web browser (Internet Explorer 4.x and above or Netscape Navigator 4.x or above).
- Enter the URL for the SAXoAnyWare login page.
- Log in to the system.
- The SAXoBASIS palette appears according to that user's system preferences.
- The user can then open and work with the modules as usual.
Security is handled by the customer's server authentication scheme. Users must login to the publishing system through the browser, by a VPN client protection scheme.
To use these modules, a user would need to maintain the connection throughout the editing session. But it is also possible for the user to log in, search the production database, download articles or photos, and then disconnect and work offline. The user could then reconnect and upload that work later.
System requirements: A Standard Web Browser with the ability to load Java Applets. Simple as that. Access to the Internet by Ethernet - or telecommunication.
Bandwidth demand is moderate - ISDN speed is more than adequate.
Expect to see more functionality offered through a Web Browser - and integration packages between the traditional printed media and the Internet publishing systems.