Re: Online with IBM's BookManger

Subject: Re: Online with IBM's BookManger
From: Kris Olberg <kjolberg -at- IX -dot- NETCOM -dot- COM>
Date: Sun, 17 Mar 1996 16:22:30 -0800

At 09:31 AM 3/14/96 CST, Carl Rudorf wrote:

>Management just got a great idea: let's put hardcopy online. "Carl, see to it;
>here, use BookManager."
>Specifically, the goal is to create softcopy books on the AS/400, using
>BookManager -- which is incorprated into the 400 OS V3R1.
>I've successfullty ported a legacy WordPerfect doc into BookManager, but this
>stuff looks ugly! Has anybody else the dubious honor of having to work with
>stuff? Any tips?

BookManager was IBM's implementation of an idea for an online book product
with super versatility.

The BookManager product line consists of READ and BUILD applications that
run on various platforms: OS/2, VM, MVS/TSO, CICS, AS/400, DOS, and possibly
even Windows. As far as I know, they have created a BUILD application, which
is the software that compiles your tagged source, that runs under OS/2, VM,
and MVS. The READ products cover almost every platform. What makes
BookManager an attractive product for some applications is that regardless
of the platform on which you BUILD the book (BOO) file, you can read that
file on any of the other platforms. For example, if you use BUILD/2 (runs
under OS/2) to create the BOO file, you can READ that same BOO file on OS/2,
on DOS, on the AS/400, on VM, etc.

To use BookManager, you create a flat, ASCII file containing your text
tagged with BookMaster tags. (BTW, if you need to create hardcopy from the
same source files, you can use BookMaster to compile and print the
document.) These tags are very similar to SGML. Then you BUILD (compile) the
document using one of the BUILD products. This process creates a BOO file,
which you can read using any of the READ products.

One of the drawbacks of BookManager is that the products running on
mainframes are (or at least used to be) very expensive. And books tagged in
BookMaster cannot be compiled using a BUILD product running on a PC. IBM has
always made it very clear that they do not want to give up their mainframe
business and will provide no filter to convert BookMaster tagged files into
Word or WordPerfect for use in the PC BUILD products, which are much
cheaper. Another drawback is that the need to tag and compile a flat file
can be daunting to the writer who is used to WYSIWYG.

Good luck!

kjolberg -at- ix -dot- netcom -dot- com (preferred)
kjolberg -at- aol -dot- com
102031 -dot- 3556 -at- compuserve -dot- com

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