Wordperfect Corp has launched its answer to Adobe Systems Inc’s Acrobat, a new portable document publishing tool called Wordperfect Envoy. It has also created a new division, Electronic Publishing, to handle the new product and related technologies – the company hopes soon to publish its Open Document document format standard. Envoy is based on technology […]
Wordperfect Corp has launched its answer to Adobe Systems Inc’s Acrobat, a new portable document publishing tool called Wordperfect Envoy. It has also created a new division, Electronic Publishing, to handle the new product and related technologies – the company hopes soon to publish its Open Document document format standard. Envoy is based on technology licensed from Tumbleweed Software Corp, and consists of a printer driver for creating portable files from any Macintosh or Windows applications, a viewing application and a run-time file; no licensing is required to send a run-time file to other users. The announcement caught Adobe rather on the hop; the day after Wordperfect’s first demo of Envoy, Adobe’s European director for Acrobat business development, Christina Liberman, said she had seen no information on Envoy. But she commented: It seems evident that they’re looking at this with regard to their word-processing function, and that may mean that they’re not able to handle the wide range of documents that a large organisation would require. She added that Adobe is readying a new version of Acrobat, which will add the ability to use non-Adobe search and retrieval engines, and which will ship in the middle of the year – around the same time as Envoy. Wordperfect product marketing manager Daniel Sumner concedes that the number of file formats currently available is limited, but says that as they’re incorporated in the form of dynamic link libraries – rather than being hard coded – new file formats can and will be added progressively. Wordperfect claims that Envoy files are often half the size of Acrobat files, and says they’re binary-compatible across multiple systems. Live thumbnail images of pages can be used for navigation and displayed at any zoom level. These thumbnails don’t add to the file size, unlike Acrobat ones. The user interface is customisable via a Software Developers Kit that enables publishers to embed the viewing engine transparently within an application.
Intelligent font substition
Wordperfect claims that WP Envoy gives better performance than any other competitor, for both on-screen viewing and printing. Demand loading means that long documents open as quickly as short ones. The system uses intelligent font substitution to support both TrueType and PostScript Type I fonts. Selective embedding of TrueType fonts – providing a perfect match to the original – is available as an option. Other features include hypertext links and bookmarks, text notes and a highlighting pen. WP Envoy is also an OLE 1.0 client, and Object Linking & Embedding objects, notes, highlights, hypertext and bookmarks can be imported from one file to another. Wordperfect Envoy requires just 500Kb of memory for Windows, 800Kb for the Macintosh, and approximately 1Mb of disk storage space. This compares with the 2Mb memory and 3Mb to 4Mb of hard disk space required by Adobe’s Acrobat. Sumner commented: We feel it’s going to be successful because it’s smaller, easy to use, and it’s not a very expensive application – it’s almost shareware. Available sometime next quarter, WP Envoy will cost $190, with a trade-up price from competing products of $100. Volume pricing is $180 per package for 20 to 40 users, $174 per package for 50 to 99 users, and $170 per package for more than 100 users. Pricing for commercial and external publishing has not been set yet.