Online systems

Online systems are superior to offline systems wherever occasional users are the primary target audience while offline or hybrid systems are often superior for the regular and frequent B2B customer communication.

Elepub supports all three types: online, offline, mixed/hybrid.

In all cases content must be formatted and the data for these applications is widely identical to the one in publications and should therefore come from the same single system so that all previous data redundancies are finally eliminated.

Elepub's benefits over conventional e-commerce software

First of all, let us make clear that Elepub is not another e-commerce software but a publishing system avoiding all of today's redundancies inherent to:

  • CMS Content Management System
  • current DTP or database publishing solutions
  • web based e-commerce software
  • and/or HTML generators used for formatting database content.

In today's IT world two, three or even four such solutions are in use independently from one another but each needing basically the same data. Content is typically transferred via export and import procedures requiring manual interactions. It really is rather a mess because few if none of today's products think of the multiple usage of content on different media and in various formats.

Not so Elepub and Elestore! Theytogether unite all of the above applications (but without replacing your e-commerce software). They together order the usual chaos inherent to separate solutions, they avoid any data redundancy and they substitute the narrow minded view of most e-comm systems, which fully ignored the ongoing great importance of paper based publications.

The facts in short

Elepub can supply your database content nicely formatted to pages and export them to and in any of these formats:

  • static HTML
  • dynamic HTML
  • XML containing the content only
  • XML covering both content and format
  • CDF (Catalog Data Format) for use in your electronic product catalog with underlying database
  • PDF for use as simple e-paper without underlying database
  • (plus, of course, the paper oriented formats, but they are not the subject on this page).

Elestore can further act as the central CMS (Content Management System) for your e-commerce so that your online shop is fed by the one and only central source (which can, wherever needed refer to your existing database(s) so that relevant data is physically loaded from your ERP or other database [see Elestore for more details]).

Web server

Elepub can also feed a web server. There are several ways how this can be achieved and it depends largely on your preferences, tools and application to decide, which one is the best.

This is a complex topic and this whitepaper is rather not the right place to discuss such details. Therefore, please ask us and give is some more specific information to enable us proposing the best solution for your concrete problem.

Unquestioned is that

  • Elestore in the first place can act as a content server if formatting is supposed to be handled by your web server application and
  • Elepub can supply ready formatted content in several formats such as HTML, XML, or it can directly interface to a PHP web engine, for example.

HTML generator

It's very simple: any page generated by Elepub in any format and layout can be exported into HTML with the original page layout fully preserved even for complex tables and exactly positioned elements.

Typically the generated HTML page looks exactly the same as the original page. Vector graphics are automatically translated into GIF files and/or into VML, the Vector Markup Language, inherent to HTML from version 4.0. Preserving the original page layout even for tables can only be achieved by using CSS and VML.

As you might know, HTML is only partially standardized and its interpretation depends on the browser software. Also, the result largely relies on user defined settings in the local browser, which can partially not be influenced by the HTML code. Therefore, it is only natural that Elepub can only preserve the existing layout within these given limitations inherent in HTML.

In most cases though, the paper layout can be fully preserved as you can easily see from examples on our website. For vector graphics this often implies the use of VML in the generated HTML. Unfortunately VML is not correctly supported by some browsers such as Netscape or Opera. You can switch off the use of VML, which, again, is only needed to correctly visualize vector graphics.

Currently, the best layout compatibility can be achieved with MS Internet Explorer 5.0 and above (which anyway accounts for more than 80% of all browser usage). In many cases though, the use of VML is not required and such pages will also correctly display in other browsers.

B2B online shop

There is an online shop for B2B applications available, which is fully compatible to Elepub and which makes HTML pages generated by Elepub intelligently available on the Internet. These pages typically contain links to articles, which point to the Elestore CMS so that clicking on an article number starts further processing of the selected article.

This online shop especially maintains your company's CD (Corporate Design) in that the appearance of your paper catalogs remain unchanged on the Internet when used in HTML.