Arbortext’s EPIC Work

December 18, 1998

Liora Alschuler

Like SoftQuad, Arbortext’s EPIC, which stands for Enterprise Product Information Chain, strives for a more MS Word-like GUI and achieves this by customizing the interface based on DTD-specific parameters. Thus, when customized for DocBook, users can create bulleted list using the familiar bullets icon and there are "smart inserts" that anticipate the next element type. There are other similarities -- both XMetaL and EPIC strive for quicker start-up for new implementations and attempt to expand the core techdoc market by lowering the cost of entry. But there the similarities stop.

EPIC bundles structured editing with sophisticated content management, while XMetaL is a stand-alone editor. So far Arbortext has created applications using Sherpa, Poet, and Documentum. These are pre-packaged to reduce the time and complexity of the startup cycle.

The first two vertical industries ArborText is targeting are telecommunications and computer hardware and software manufacturing. The first EPIC customers include Guidant, a manufacturer of medical devices, and AT&T’s services organization. The EPIC package includes modules for review and approval using Adept or a Web browser client. Another module customizes Web output based on visitor profiles. EPIC uses the Arbortext composition engine, Adept Publisher, for print output.

The entry-level purchase price of $100,000 for about 45 content creators and an equal number of consumers includes integration and training. While Arbortext is geared up to supply this support, they are encouraging third party suppliers to offer the same services.

In other news, Arbortext announced that version 8.0 of Adept would ship by the end of November on Windows NT. The new version features increased speed and indexing capabilities.