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This year's Seybold San Francisco, the largest ever, was filled with interesting developments. Our intrepid team canvassed the expo floor for news, and then digested what we found into capsule peeks at segments of the Net publishing tool market, pulled together here as one special report.
When all was said and done, it was clear that this year's Seybold San Francisco was one of those rare events that you just had to be at to appreciate. More than 40,000 voracious attenders crowded the show floor hungering for print and Web products alike. And this year, vendors came prepared with large numbers of both. Not only was there much talk and speculation about publishing on the Web, but there also were truly innovative print products in abundance. The conference sessions buzzed with talk of flexible publishing, adaptive workflow and "content asset management." Repurposing, last year's buzzword, was replaced with "prepurposing" and "depurposing"--the idea being that you might be willing to give up some of the automation associated with binding content to print in order to gain automation in preparing it for other media. In many instances, the products being shown and the solutions being discussed presupposed all-digital workflows that could make "binding" decisions at the very last moment, allowing digital streams to be directed to a press or to a Web site.
Digital publishing has finally arrived. It has been a long time in coming, but we have finally gotten to the point where we can talk about print and the Internet without causing anyone to run from a room screaming. Well, almost anyone. There was one chap who was quoted in the Show Daily as claiming that the Internet will prove to be the "CB radio of the '90s," and will be gone in five years. Perhaps. But we argue that if it does disappear from our cross-hairs in five years it will be because it will by then be subsumed in everything we do--just as desktop publishing and multimedia have gone from being "markets" to integral, enabling technologies underlying all of our written …