Vermeer Technologies to pioneer "Webtop" publishing; Venture-funded start-up developing first-of-a-kind, easy to use authoring tools that eliminate the need for programming to publish on the Internet's World Wide Web.
Vermeer's first product, code-named "Pavilion," is well under development and expected to begin beta testing in Q2.
Pavilion is a suite of visual authoring tools for the Web that is easy to use and requires no programming whatsoever in order to publish commercial grade Web services and perform highly sophisticated functions. The company is targeting the rapidly growing market for Web services along horizontal market lines, including large corporate enterprises, small businesses and workgroups, and individuals who want to deliver on-line Web-based services. Pavilion will enable end-users and professionals to develop Web-based services without the need for programming or central MIS intervention.
"The availability of a powerful, easy-to-use tool like ours will soon make Web publishing accessible to everyone. That's why we're coining the phrase, `webtop publishing,'" said company cofounder, Chairman and acting CEO Dr. Charles H. Ferguson. "Our mission is to provide best-in-class authoring tools for Web-based services, and by so doing, to become the industry standard way to publish on the Web."
Pricing for Pavilion has not been set. Production shipping is planned for the end of Q3. The Web authoring tool will be available on most popular platforms, including Microsoft Windows 3.1, Windows 95, Windows NT, and Macintosh. It will be able to work with all standards-compliant commercial and academic Web servers, and industry standard platforms, such as SunOS, HP/UX, or NT.
"We see a tremendous need for easy-to-use Web authoring tools," said Tim Sloane, director at Aberdeen Group, a high technology consulting company in Boston. "While there has been an explosive growth in Web sites on the Internet, these sites rarely offer particularly rich or timely content. Aberdeen research has shown that the largest expense of making a Web site is the creation and management of both the content and the forms that drive the end-user interaction. Tools like Vermeer's Pavilion--designed so business people can directly manage the content on the Web server--will open the floodgates for commercial growth of the Web, and position the Web as a new business tool for managing documents within the company. Vermeer calls this `webtop publishing.'"
Initially financed by Dr. Ferguson, the company received its first round of venture capital financing, totaling $4 million, last January, with investments from Sigma Partners, Matrix Partners and Atlas Ventures. Vermeer currently has 25 employees.
Vermeer's technology will enable users to develop their Web services on familiar client platforms, such as the Microsoft Windows family and Macintosh. It will also enable collaboration and team-based authoring. End-users can develop remotely over the internet, for either a single server or for "Web farms" or collocation sites run by Internet service providers that are geographically distant from the user/publisher.
"We believe that remote distributed client/server authoring is crucial to the effective deployment of Web services," said cofounder and Chief Technology Officer Randy Forgaard. "That's why we designed our architecture to support remote or collaborative authoring over the Internet."
Vermeer's Pavilion environment will provide easy-to-use interfaces that enable on-line service developers and information delivery personnel to quickly integrate existing information systems. Professionals will be able to customize and maintain on-line systems without having to know specialized programming techniques--thereby providing unlimited opportunities to bring information and commerce on-line.
"We will provide easy-to-use interfaces for frequent tasks, such as WYSIWYG editing, interactive forms and graphics generation, document conversion, and a variety of customizable, reusable templates that appear in commonly developed on-line services," said Ed Cuoco, Vermeer's director of product marketing and business development. "We are also designing unique collaboration, navigation and maintenance aids to allow authors to deploy Web service projects in truly distributed, multi-user environments."
Vermeer's open, standards-based architecture is one of its essential components. Through membership and participation in standards groups such as the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the company is committed to providing products that do not lock customers into proprietary or nonstandard applications or services on the Internet.
Web services developed using Vermeer Pavilion will be fully browsable by all industry standards-compliant browsers, including Mosaic clients, such as NCSA Mosaic, Enhanced Mosaic from Spyglass and Netscape Navigator from Netscape Communications Corp., and deployable on all popular academic and commercial Web servers.
Founded in April 1994 by Dr. Charles H. Ferguson and Randy Forgaard, Vermeer Technologies, Inc. is pioneering the development of powerful easy-to-use World Wide Web authoring tools that let end-users and professionals publish on the Web without programming. Vermeer's first product, code-named "Pavilion," will enable everyone to quickly and easily gain the business benefits of Web publishing. headquartered in Cambridge, Mass., the company's tool suite supports remote authoring on the Web, and the ability for anyone to electronically publish, prompting the company to coin the phrase "webtop publishing."
Vermeer is a trademark of Vermeer Technologies Inc. All other products mentioned are registered trademarks or trademarks of their respective companies.
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Brenda Nichols, 508/369-2100