Scriptura XBOS 4.0 Delivers Flexibility for Business Documents
May 10, 2005 Alex Woodie
It may seem paradoxical, but the old adage “the only constant is change” has some truth to it, especially in business. To survive in today’s turbulent business climate, it’s advisable to continually evolve to meet new demands from customers, suppliers, and the overall competitive landscape. A new version of Inventive Designers‘ XML and Java-based document management software, called Scriptura XBOS, should make it easy for users to keep their stockpile of business documents current with the day’s change.
Scriptura XBOS is a cross-platform suite of software that helps users create, maintain, and distribute business documents and forms in a variety of electronic and printed formats. With its underpinnings written in Java and its document templates stored in XSL, it would be accurate to say Scriptura XBOS was designed from the beginning with flexibility in mind.
The suite is composed of three main components, including the wizards-driven, WYSIWYG Scriptura XBOS Designer, which features a two-paned interface that allows the user to create field mappings using drag-and-drop techniques; a Server component that merges the template with variable data at runtime and distributes the finished document; and the Remote Connector, which enables the Server component to be controlled remotely. The product suite runs on any computer that supports Java version 1.4. iSeries servers with OS/400 V5R1 or higher can run the Server and Remote Connector components.
With Scriptura XBOS 4.0, the Hoboken, Belgium, company has added several new features, including the capability to make a change to an XBOS template, and have that change take effect across all documents using that reusable object. Other new features include a new template repository based on the WebDAV protocol, dynamic creation of graphs, support for custom data sources, and support for rich text format (RTF) documents. The product’s performance has also been improved, the company says.
The new reusable object features should make it much easier to maintain and modify documents that are often changing. Instead of opening up each document template and manually making necessary changes, such as a new company logo or a modification to a header or a footer, users can now make changes to a reusable object only once, and that change will be automatically reflected in every document that uses that reusable object. This feature should be a boon to organizations that spend countless hours making a single change to dozens or hundreds of different business documents.
In addition to the three main components, Inventive Designers offers a wealth of add-ons to further streamline its document processes. These add-ons include: additional Data Source Management modules (one is required), for importing data from iSeries or text spool files, XML, or JDBC-compliant databases, Lotus Notes, Zebra Programming Language (ZPL), or custom data sources (new in 4.0); Import Modules, for importing data from Word or RTF documents, XSL Formatting Objects (XSL-FO) stylesheets, or data text merge (DTM) for iSeries documents; Template Features, for adding to documents dynamic images, dynamic barcodes, dynamic charts (new with 4.0), additional languages, and business logic; a Custom XSL Extensions module for identifying common tags like bold and italic from data files; and a Repository module for storing and keeping track of changes to XBOS templates, image files, and data sources. The Repository Module is new with version 4.0.
Optional and required add-ons to the Server component include: additional XSL Processors (one is required) for outputting documents in PDF, HTML, AFP, PCL, PostScript, RTF (new with 4.0), ZPL, TIFF, JPEG, PNG, XSL-FO, or XML formats; Output Handling wizards or APIs for delivering documents through e-mail, print, and fax; WebSphere and J2EE application server connections; a Server Monitor; and application interfaces for integrating or working the software through OS/400, DOS, and Unix command line, Java and C++ APIs, or an XSL or GUI interface (these interfaces are also used for the Remote Connector component.
While Scriptura XBOS has strong multiplatform aspects, Inventive Designers has a solid reputation in the OS/400 community for product development. Before Scriptura its products included Evergreen/400, an e-mail and calendaring application, and DTM for iSeries, a replacement for OfficeVision/400.
Inventive Designers launched Scriptura, as it was called, in the summer of 2002 (see “Inventive Designers Readies Scriptura for the Enterprise”). Since then, the product has been implemented by more than 70 customers around the world. The most recent customer wins include the French company Total, several Belgian companies, including Fortis Lease, Dexia Bank, Nike, Securitas, and Winterthr, the German-American carmaker DaimlerChrysler, and the United States Postal Service and Bell South from the U.S.
One American iSeries shop using Scriptura XBOS in production is Leprino Foods, a Denver company that’s one of the world’s largest manufacturers of mozzarella cheese. Leprino was looking for a way to centralize product data on its iSeries database, while still maintaining the original look and feel of the product data created in Word documents. Keeping both sets of data up-to-date was time consuming and sometimes resulted in discrepancies between the iSeries and the Windows systems.
Leprino looked at the IBM InfoPrint Manager and the Crystal Reports product (now owned by Business Objects), but eventually settled on Scriptura XBOS, which it found the most “user friendly.” “Scriptura made our project delivery much quicker and more pleasing,” says Sajita Menon, the project implementation leader at Leprino, according to a case study on Inventive Designers’ Web site.
Scriptura XBOS 4.0 is available now. Pricing was not immediately available. For more information, visit www.inventivedesigners.com.