e-Books, Open Standards, and Content Formats

February 26, 2009 Mark Hellinger

I want to comment and discuss a real-world example of why XML and XML standards are fundamental to your strategy when selecting an LCMS. One of the great questions we hear when prospective clients evaluate LCMS solutions is “what is the role of XML in my decision”? Does it matter if I choose an LCMS built on a pure XML platform or one that is built on proprietary content formats?

We recently completed some new outputs for our single source publishing model. The latest output is an e-Book for your learning materials. In case you haven’t looked at this emerging market, there are a plethora of e-Book readers out there, and to date, the manufacturers have predominantly used proprietary formats for their devices. As you can imagine, this makes e-Book delivery for content developers rather painful. Very analogous to eLearning delivery before the SCORM standard (Does it work on my LMS?)! And much like SCORM, a standard is emerging for e-Books that places the burden on the device manufacturer, instead of the content creator. The standard is the “.epub” content format and guess what? It’s an XML content model for e-Books.

As an LCMS based on a native XML platform, Xyleme has had minimal work to deliver our content to this new standard and platform. We have now a standard capability for e-Book output that can be used just like of our other multi-channel publishing options. We use the same publishing infrastructure, transformation tools and application functionality for the development of e-Books as we do for our other outputs. We don’t have to develop a new way to handle e-Books in our application workflow, it’s simply another output. This is where the fundamental question of XML as the native storage format comes into play. With XML it’s easy. With a proprietary system, it requires a lot more effort to develop and integrate seamlessly into the existing workflow. Both short-term and long-term, XML content storage makes it easier. And now you can download your Xyleme LCMS User Guide to your e-Book :-)

About the Author

Mark Hellinger

As President and CEO of Xyleme, Inc., Mark is one of the training industry’s leading technologists. He has an extensive track record of building successful technology companies, from early-stage private investment through IPO or acquisition. Prior to Xyleme, Mark was CEO of PRAJA, a leader in business activity monitoring that was successfully sold to TIBCO Software.

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