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Snappy publishing with Snapbridge

Aug 18, 20044 mins
Enterprise Applications

* Snapbridge software for online publishing

Turning raw content into publishing output is much like turning data into information – the transformation process imbues the result with context and intent, adding value in the process.

But publishing online is tricky stuff. Not only are there usually severe time constraints but also there’s the sheer scale of orchestrating huge quantities of digital items that are becoming increasingly complex and inter-related (for example, styles sheets, Java applets and Flash content).

The problem with serious publishing is that assembling all of the content components into a finished product becomes remarkably complicated and often results in multiple inter-related end products.

To put it simply, publishing often becomes a management nightmare.

A new entrant into the market for publishing-focused content management is Snapbridge Software (see editorial links below) and its latest product, FDX Cross Media Server was designed to provide a framework for coordinating the publishing workflow.

Snapbridge has a history of supplying sophisticated tools that underpin online XML-based content management: Snapbridge XStudio Stylemaker and Snapbridge XStudio Pro are development environments for creating XSL, XSLT, and scripts for content integration and publication.

The company’s top end product, Snapbridge FDX XML Server, is an XML database service “for persisting, versioning, indexing, and searching XML at the finest level of granularity” that can store text, HTML, images, PDF and other binary large objects (BLOB). It can act as a virtual, or federated, database by offering a consolidated view of all the data of the connected external heterogeneous data sources, the company says.

The Snapbridge FDX XML Server runs under Windows NT/2000/XP, Linux, and Solaris with Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, or mySQL as the underlying data store. It uses the BEA Weblogic, IBM Websphere, or JBOSS application servers (and optionally the .Net and IBM Simple Object Application Protocol servers) and can interface with the iPlanet Lightweight Directory Access Protocol directory, Novell eDirectory Server, and OpenLDAP LDAP servers.

Released this week is Snapbridge’s latest server and first application-focused product, Snapbridge FDX Cross Media Server. This server has three subsystems: the Search and Archive Engine, the Web Publishing Engine, and the Editorial Workflow Engine.  The Search and Archive Engine will be available as a download from the Snapbridge Web site in mid-August and the other two components will be available in the third quarter of 2004.

Snapbridge FDX Cross Media Server uses a browser-based interface and presents what Snapbridge calls “a real-time, unified view of an organization’s information assets.”

The difference between the Snapbridge FDX XML Server and the Snapbridge FDX Cross Media Server is that the former was developer-oriented while the latter product is essentially an application targeted at the publishing market.

In particular, the Search and Archive Engine provides a much richer search capability that supports Boolean logic and “collections” – groupings of related content.

An important design feature of the Search and Archive Engine is that the underlying XML database is schema-free – that is, it can accept any XML data without any kind of translation being required. The engine also supports WebDAV and news industry text formats as well as providing access for editing and production tools such as Adobe In-Design and In-Copy.

Snapbridge already has a customer win: Greenspun Media Group, one of the largest magazine and newspaper publishers in Nevada. Greenspun titles include the “Las Vegas Sun newspaper,” “Vegas Magazine,” “Las Vegas Weekly” as well as and the company has migrated its content to the FDX Cross Media Server Search and Archive Engine.

Pricing of Snapbridge XStudio Stylemaker is $199, Snapbridge XStudio Pro is $399 and Snapbridge FDX XML Server starts at $499.

The Search and Archive Engine Standard edition for the Snapbridge FDX Cross Media Server is priced at $499 per CPU and comes bundled with a pre-installed database and support for MySQL.

The Search and Archive Engine Enterprise edition is available for $4,999 per CPU and supports Microsoft SQL and Oracle in addition to MySQL and provides J2EE application servers, LDAP security along with load balancing and fail-over capabilities.

All Snapbridge Products are available for download with a free, 30-day trial.


Mark Gibbs is an author, journalist, and man of mystery. His writing for Network World is widely considered to be vastly underpaid. For more than 30 years, Gibbs has consulted, lectured, and authored numerous articles and books about networking, information technology, and the social and political issues surrounding them. His complete bio can be found at

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