Banff from OmniMark

January 10, 1998

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

Banff is a Web site-development application from OmniMark Technologies that includes an application server template and a load manager. Banff should help Web site managers get off and running more quickly by prepackaging database extraction and loading functions. It also adds repository maintenance and a load manager to the OmniMark programming language.

The OmniMark Programming Language is in release 4.0 and supports XML and Unicode with UTF8 encoding. OmniMark is the basis for one of the most commercially successful and visible sites on the Internet, the Wall Street Journal Interactive Edition, which uses OmniMark to tie its SGML-based content and Dow Jones relational databases together into briefing books, personalized portfolios and constantly updated news coverage. Other common OmniMark Web applications include catalog publishing and technical documentation delivery.

The integration of relational data with SGML or XML "microdocuments" is a hallmark of OmniMark applications. Eric Skinner, product marketing manager for OmniMark, says his firm typically works with two types of clients: those who come out of traditional publishing who are adding relational tools to their text markup repertoire, and those who come out of catalog publishing who are adding XML markup to the narrative portions of their databases. Both groups like the product’s flexible approach to combining toolsets.

While OmniMark is not in the business of shrink-wrapped application software, Banff offers a degree of prepackaging that should be welcome for the firm’s large potential customer base. Skinner describes OmniMark’s application space as lying between those with data-processing intensive requirements and those with pure document-management requirements. The company is privately held, has 75 employees, and offers both software and consulting from offices in Canada, the U.S. and Europe.