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IF YOU'VE EVER created a directory, a catalog or a price list using data from a database, then you have done database publishing. In its simplest form, database publishing is publishing a collection of information.
There are a number of database publishing software packages available today that help bridge the gap between raw data and the publishable form of that data. We have chosen some of the packages available on the desktop for review in this article.
Cast of characters. In the course of our resting, we took three Macintosh-based programs (CatBase, DataShaper and Xdata) and four PC-based packages (dbPublisher Pro+, Ventura Database Publisher, PageAhead and DataShaper) on a short test drive to see how they worked and what the finished product could look like.
The creators of these packages vary in their approaches to the task of database publishing. Creators of some products, such as DataShaper, have decided to let the desktop publishing program handle most of the formatting. These programs are little more than guided import-filter construction kits for desktop publishing packages. Makers of others, such as dbPublisher Pro+, have elected to offer substantial database and publishing capabilities in one program. Yet all are considered database publishing software.
Not a new topic. Database publishing is not a new topic. Indeed, database publishing was one of the earliest, and most successful applications of computer-based publishing. More than 25 years ago, Rocappi Inc., under the direction of John and Jonathan Seybold, found database publishing to be the most profitable of all its computer publishing activities. Later in the 1960s, RCA introduced FileComp, the first commercial software package intended for database publishing. By the early 1970s, Datalogics was selling database publishing systems for high-volume production.