Tower views the next big PNG

Tower views the next big PNG

Australian knowledge management developer Tower Technology has officially added to the growing list of homegrown portal alternatives with the Tower IDM Corporate Document Portal.

Tower's product had been previewed to Image & Data Manager as the Tower IDM Internet Information Portal (see July/August 1999, page 28), but it has graduated from "beta" pre-release status and is now a fully-fledged application.

The software concentrates mostly on unstructured data, such as word processing files, e-mails, maps, and images of cheques, invoices and other financial statements. It can also extract data from COLD/ERM (computer output to laser disc/enterprise report management) reports, which are typically generated from structured databases and stored on optical discs.

Documents delivered through the Tower IDM Corporate Document Portal can be rendered in JPEG or PNG format.

The portal can also deliver "workflow-enabled online forms processing", according to Tower, so that when customers or a member of a supply chain submits an online form, it is automatically inserted into a workflow process which users can monitor through the portal interface.

These documents are all stored in one single repository, in a three-tier architecture built around the standard Microsoft environment.

All of the documents are rendered in the clients' browsers in either the JPEG format familiar to Web users, or the newer Portable Network Graphics (PNG) format, both of which allow varying levels of compression. PNG has been tipped to become the replacement for JPEG as the standard compressed graphic format in future browsers.


The interface is constructed using Dynamic HTML, and Tower has promised to eliminate the need for browser plug-ins or Java applets to view any type of document.

Security for the portal revolves mostly around password log in, which can either be user-defined or conform to an existing identifier, like a bank account number. Authentication of remote access users can also be made by using digital certificates.

Tower's first customer for the Corporate Document Portal will be Australian Water Technologies, the "trading arm" of Sydney Water.