It’s back! WordPerfect restores SGML

January 10, 1998

Seybold Report on Internet Publishing
Vol 2, No 5
January, 1998

Three years ago WordPerfect showed up at SGML ’94 with a complete structured editor running inside of WordPerfect 6 for Windows. By the spring of 1995, the WordPerfect SGML Edition, as it was called, showed every sign of becoming an important player in this market. (See Special Report, Vol. 3, No. 8, pp. 38–39 for our coverage.) Then Corel bought WordPerfect, and SGML dropped by the wayside as Corel struggled to keep the WordPerfect suite competitive in the general office market.

So it was a pleasant surprise to see Corel bring to SGML/XML ’97 an SGML edition of WordPerfect 8, and to see that Dallas Powell, the SGML product manager at WordPerfect, now managing the SGML project for Corel.

As before, the WordPerfect SGML offering is a complete structured editor integrated with a mature, WYSIWYG word processor. It can import SGML, validate real-time against any DTD, automatically insert required tags, and do context-sensitive tag lists. Corel is positioning it as a WYSIWYG editor for documents of less than 300 pages, not a full composition or large-scale publishing product. The SGML version is built on top of Corel WordPerfect, but it is sufficiently different to require separate installation off the WordPerfect CD-ROM.

As a WYSIWYG editor, it has most, not all, of WordPerfect’s rendering capability. Corel plans to support style sheet editing, when the XSL specifications stabilize. For now, the editor has the presentation but not the transformation features of style sheet editing. For example, you can do formatting based on parent/child relationships, but not "last/not last" position, and you cannot reorder components.

On import of a new DTD, WP SGML creates a logic (.lgc) file and a style specification (.lsi). Users can create tag aliases to replace cryptic tag names. Aliases can be in a different language, providing a short cut for editing in a foreign language. WordPerfect macros can be used to create dialog boxes for link and attribute editing.

Those who have followed this stealth editor closely have been rewarded by the knowledge of how to obtain a legal license for Microstar’s Near&Far Designer and Near&Far Lite. The Designer edition comes with the full WordPerfect package. Near&Far Lite, no longer available from Microstar, are bundled with the low-cost, entry-level editor.

The release 8 edition is being tested by the U.S. patent office and that old Internet progenitor, DARPA, where it is integrated with Texcel’s repository and OpenText’s SGML-aware search engine.