First of all and as a rule of thumb Elepub can be sensibly applied wherever database publishing would basically do the job. In all such and many other cases Elepub is the much more flexible and sophisticated alternative without any of the usually many welded joints inherent in conventional database publishing solutions.
Beyond this, Elepub Object Publishing will be especially useful for several publications and applications, which are explained in more detail throughout this page.
Elepub specially focuses on companies, to whom publishing information to the world at large is an important part of their business activities or even, as with the publishing and graphics industry, the main focus of their business.
Targeted publication types
Regardless of the industry the publications types are even more decisive. As previously stated, Elepub Object Publishing will do better wherever DTP or database publishing would do.
Still there are some publications and document types where Elepub is especially useful such as:
- paper and electronic paper product catalogs
- online product catalogs
- one-source multi-media and multi-lingual publishing in general
- tabular information
- real-time personalized publications and documents
- multilingualization of publications in general
- re-use of non-fiction book DTP page design after translation
- import of content from existing DTP files
Product catalogs are essential marketing tools for all companies that need to make their products known to their customers. The production and maintenance of product catalogs causes substantial expenses and the need for multi-lingual versions even worsens this situation.
Product catalog content is or should be stored in databases, but is in reality often spread over several sources and many formats. The production of catalogs also includes many graphic and multi-lingual text assets, which are stored in different sources and formats and on different devices. Database publishing systems wanting to generate product catalogs must be capable of handling huge documents with large and complex tables and many graphic objects. This often causes substantial problems for most DTP software products, which tend to hold all the content of one file entirely in memory, because database storage for publications is not supported by today's DTP software.
For printed catalogs and even more for electronic product catalogs, whether in paper or any other format, it is vital to contain tables of contents (TOCs), indexes and cross-reference lists. The product catalog should be offering multiple ways of finding a wanted product such as via product groups, part numbers, name, functions and/or places of application. Such references are important aids in helping the user to quickly and effectively navigate the product catalog.
Elepub was especially design for these tasks. And the substantial advantages deriving from the close collaboration of the twin products Elestore and Elepub are explained at various places throughout this document.
Technical documentation often demands the highest standards of formatting, clarity and accuracy. The content must often be aggregated from several different information systems and databases. In addition to the integrity of data, text and graphics, the effectiveness of formatting and page layout is even more important for the usability of such information. The same applies to user aids for navigating the documentation.
This is where Elestore's flexibility in accessing external data and Elepub's abilities in clearly formatting complex tabular data play a vital role for the outcome of such publishing activities. Also Elepub's capabilities of handling large table objects are another advantage. See the next chapter.
The best and clearest way of presenting tabular database content is in most cases in the form of tables. Typically, tables have a header row identifying the content of columns and one or several data rows each having multiple "cells". But often much more complex table structures are needed, which must be created and supported by the database publishing solution. Also it is quite common for a single table to span over multiple pages.
This is where conventional DTP software has substantial problems, because they typically do not support real table objects but rather only present visual "tables" only, which are internally composed from several independent and non-related text frames separated by independent lines.
Elepub is specialized in handling complex table objects for long tabular documents with database content such as directories and any type of catalogs. These tables can have any size and Elepub will never risk reaching any realistic limit. These requirements are well supported by Elepub through "proxy objects", which can be split over many pages and still ensure that a table is handled as a self-contained object no matter how large it is.
Elepub's great difference is once again caused by design and architecture. Table objects are one of the strongest points of Elepub profiting from all the basic concepts like modularization, object encapsulation and inheritance. Through these features extremely flexible, dynamic and "intelligent" data structures are created.
Books - especially non-fiction books
Book contents are typically not stored in databases or as XML, although the general movement towards structured authoring is leading to an increasing demand for maintaining book contents in databases or, at minimum, in rigorously defined document structures defined by XML. This is especially true if non-fiction books are to be published in several languages based on an identical layout and color print. This is frequently the case especially for cookery books, travel guide and similar books.
Such books are generated from data in the broader sense and therefore the same benefits of automation achieved by Elepub are available for such books and their content. Making book content available as a database or as XML is a prerequisite for secure translation and also to repurpose such content for output to new media formats or for re-using the content for different new publications.
Exactly this is enabled by Elepub in close co-operation with Elestore. Elepub can extract format and content of entire books from DTP files, store the content in an indexed format in Elestore to make it available for re-use, for modification, and for re-purposing. Elepub stores the entire publication format in its meta- objects and is therefore able to re-create the same publication with changed (translated) content later in DTP with the same original layout - or with a modified layout, of course.
Real-time personalized documents
With the grown importance of the Internet, there is an increasing demand for information tailored to the specific needs of an individual web site user. For example, a user may wish to see individual information from a database stored on the central server in HTML format. This data is generated as the results of a query based on criteria entered by the user on a web site.
It is relatively simple for Elepub to instantly generate such formatted output for high-quality presentation from such database queries. Another main reason for delegating such tasks to Elepub and Elestore is in the fact that this would completely avoid data redundancy for content and formatting, which would be the case if these tasks were done by conventional HTML generating server applications. But, of course, the responsibility of our two products could in such environments also be limited to provide the needed data while other software does the HTML formatting.
Personalized product catalogs
A much more challenging and useful task is in blending statically defined repository layouts with dynamically added and personalized values. This enables the creation of dynamic and personalized product catalogs especially for use on the Internet. For users on the Internet individualized product catalogs are generated on the fly with individual data such as prices, stock or back order quantities added.