Microstar unveils Near & Far Author 2.0

December 20, 1996

The Seybold Report on Publishing Systems
Vol. 26, No. 8

Microstar introduced a major revision to its SGML editor, Near & Far Author, which is an add-on to Microsoft Word, versions 6 7. The 2.0 Near & Far Author release is the product's debut for Windows 95 and NT. The beta version has been posted on Microstar's Web site; the commercial release is expected before the close of 1996.

This release marks Microstar's first integration efforts with document management vendors. As part of its Microstar's "Main-stream SGML" effort, Microstar is working on ways to integrate its editor with document managers that store documents as records and fields in a database. To date, it has announced a partnership with Documentum, but the integration only enables Near & Far Author users to check in and out whole SGML documents as if they were Word documents in Documentum's Docbase. At this point, creating and shredding compound documents from fragments is a custom integration effort. There is no repository browser inside the editor, as with ArborText's Willow.

Among the other features in the 2.0 release are:

  • Support for the French and German versions of Microsoft Word.
  • More DTDs, templates and sample documents.
  • Improved bookmarks and annotations.

XML. We asked Microstar about XML, and it was cautious to say exactly what shape its support might take, but the company is enthusiastically behind the effort. Interestingly, Microstar sees great potential for XML in electronic commerce. It has been working with a multinational telecommunications firm and a major financial institution on a commerce project. Microstar is developing some of the client software and has been experimenting with using SGML for record layouts and its software for designing record layouts that are translated to screen forms for structured data entry. XML would fit into this scenario as easily as SGML.