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Meridian Data intros enhanced version of VR Publisher.

Meridian Data Intros Enhanced Version of VR Publisher

Meridian Data has introduced VR Publisher 5.0, an enhanced version of the company's desktop CD-ROM publishing system software.

Designed to operate with an IBM 286, 386, PS/2 or compatible computer as well as the Macintosh, the VR Publisher indexes and organizes a database, simulates the database as if it resides on a physical CD-ROM, then outputs the data to a tape medium.

One of the key features behind the latest VR Publisher software is the use of a virtual file structure, according to Pat Tinney, product manager for the VR Publisher.

"In the past, a CD-ROM publisher needed at least 1.2 gigabytes of hard disk storage to manipulate the data and produce a finished CD-ROM," said Tinney. "But the VR Publisher's virtual file structure enables the publisher to achieve the same end result with only 600 megabytes of storage."

Tinney cited the new system's ability to "virtually" transfer files faster than its predecessor as a second important enhancement. He noted that this can cut hours out of the CD-ROM publishing process.

Meridian Data plans to ship the new 5.0 software and installation program on compact disc as well as 9-track tape, DAT and Exabyte tape. The latest release is fully automated, meaning computer checks are automatically run and the user is prompted through the installation process.

Virtual File Structures

All data preparation, editing and testing is done in a virtual High Sierra or ISO partition - both read-only structures. However, the partition is actually MS-DOS, which allows users to manipulate data.

"The virtual file structure is critical to the time and disk space savings," explained Tinney, "Data conversions from DOS or other partitions to the High Sierra or ISO 9660 formats don't require a complete physical copy of all data sectors on hard disk."

He explained that conversions are done by creating new directory databases which simply point to the appropriate data sectors on a hard drive.

Optimized Performance

Another new feature on the VR Publisher upgrade is the CD Optimizer. The Optimizer works in conjunction with the virtual file structure and allows users to log disk activity as the user application is being simulated.

During simulations, statistics partition information is tracked, documenting the files and sectors accessed. After the user has completed running and testing the application, a list of statistics is built.

"VR Publisher 5.0 automatically prioritizes and updates the information as multiple simulations run," said Tinney. "File order can then be reviewed and compared without physically restructuring sectors. The result is that applications perform significantly faster than CD-ROM images created without optimization."

Additional Utilities

Another VR Publisher 5.0 feature contributing to time savings when creating a CD-ROM is an enhanced direct input for SCSI devices. This copies Meridian utilities or most SCSI devices into a CD-ROM image file for direct mastering.

For instance, if a user has a 600 megabyte Macintosh disk that needs to be on CD-ROM, the hard disk can be plugged directly onto the SCSI bus. A physical copy of all sectors is made into a High Sierra file and mastered directly to a one-off CD-ROM with a CD master, or mastered to 9-track, Exabyte, DAT or U-Matic tape.

This is especially effective for prototypes," Tinney said. "Users simply connect the hard drive, CD-ROM or other physical device to the SCSI bus and take the contents of the disk."

With the increased power of PCs, larger amounts of information are being generated from the desktop. To ensure users have the maximum number of media options, VR Publisher 5.0 is compatible with DAT and Exabyte.

"Users are no longer limited to using mainframes and 9-track tape for large data transfers," said Tinney.

PHOTO : Meridian Data's desktop multimedia CD-ROM development system, which operates with a microcomputer, enables the user to prepare a database ready for CD-ROM mastering.
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Title Annotation:VR Publisher 5.0
Publication:Information Today
Article Type:product announcement
Date:Nov 1, 1990
Words:645
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