Veridocs Aims to Ease XML Document Creation

Looking to make it easier to write, edit, and produce XML-based content, Veridocs today announced the availability of XMLdocs Version 1, a hosted XML document authoring and management system.

“Vendors say that they are XML-based,” Veridocs’ CEO Nat Dunn told ASPnews, referring to other Web-based content management service providers. “Their XML is proprietary and for internal use. XMLdocs is built in a format you can use. You’re not stuck with one vendor.”

A beta version of the software has been available for 10 weeks, in which time more than 1,500 users have registered to test the product, Dunn said. In the shipping version, however, Veridocs has added Template Designer, which figures to be a key feature of the service.

“We listened carefully to feedback from our beta users, many of whom asked us for a way to create document templates from existing XML schemas,” Dunn said.

Template Designer, the company said, lets organizations create templates either from schemas or use an existing template from XMLdocs as a starting point. Veridocs’ built-in templates include General Document, Press Release, Help Topic, Frequently Asked Question, Product Description and Executive Biography

Using the Template Designer, Veridocs reports, non-technical users can write XML documents — which can be later exported for publication on a Web site or elsewhere via a Web service — through a word-processor-like interface.

Veridocs began operation in January 2002 as a wholly owned subsidiary of Syracuse, N.Y.-based of Summit Software. “XMLdocs started off as an in-house product for Summit Software with the intention of spinning it out as a hosted service,” Dunn said. The company also offers consulting services, which Dunn described as “a big part of the revenue.” Possible areas of consulting could involve converting sites to XML from HTML, he said.

The organic approach — that is, developing the software as an in-house solution, offering it as free download and now as a paid service — appears to make sense for Veridocs given the state of the content management industry. “It was tough to compete right off the bat, tough to sell to companies that had already invested $50,000 to $100,000 for CMS.”

Dunn said Veridocs’ target customers are companies with between $10 million to $100 million. The fee for single users will remain free. The monthly fee for up to five users is $99 and $160 per month for up to 10 users.

Dunn also told ASPnews that there are no plan for an on-site version. “We may look into it. There is interest, particularly from government agencies.”

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