ERCIM News No.26 - July 1996 - CLRC, CWI

ERCIM Institutes work together to industrialise a Tool from a Research Prototype

by Michael Wilson and Dick Bulterman

A principle behind the planning of the EU Research Frameworks is that high risk basic research should be undertaken at the national level where overheads are smallest. Multinational cooperation is required later in a technology's or product's development to understand market needs and overcome market barriers. CWI and CLRC have applied that principle in taking a multimedia editor CMIFed originally developed at CWI using Netherlands national research resources into an EU fourth framework ESPRIT project.

The objectives of the Chameleon project are to define and implement an industrial prototype version of a multimedia authoring tool which provides production support for durable multimedia documents and which supports the notions of detail-based, content-based, quality-based, resource-based and format-based projections of a single meta-document.

Current multimedia authoring tools each address markets defined by the skills of their users: those with traditional text publishing skills choose Folio Views, those with graphic art skills choose Macromedia Director, those with primarily programming skills use Asymetrix Toolbook, those with Computer Based Training skills choose Authorware Professional. Similarly, although all these tools are primarily intended to produce multimedia products distributed on CD-ROM, a plethora of tools have been recently introduced to support the authoring of multimedia to be delivered over networks.

CWI have extended the Dexter Reference Model for Hypertext to cover Hypermedia including Multimedia, resulting in the Amsterdam Hypermedia Model and a research prototype multimedia editing tool around this called CMIFed (Hardman, Bulterman, and van Rossum, 1994). The Chameleon project will port CMIFed to a mass market operating system environment and expand it to meet the market needs of all of these current tools by providing tailorable variability within the clear bounds of the Amsterdam Hypermedia Model.

The tool will also be extended to include content addressibility in continuous media of video and sound by incorporating technology developed at CLRC (Burrill et al, 1994) to address a need for which no current market solution is available. The combination of two technologies developed at different ERCIM institutes provides a more powerful tool than either could alone. The final industrialised tool will provide multimedia documents which can be presented on a variety of delivery machines, or over networks; which can be inherently multinational and multilingual so that they can address the individual needs of the multinational market, and which will meet the needs of professional document publishers, multimedia kiosk developers, computer based training suppliers and CD-ROM producers.

In order to address this varied market for multimedia documents produced with the tool, CLRC and CWI established a consortium including not only commercial software developers who would port the code to a commercial platform (Epsilon SA, Greece) and market the tool after the project, but also four user organisations representing different markets who would refine the commercial tool through user trials and tune it to their individual development methods :
Please contact:
Michael Wilson - CLRC
Tel: +44 1235 446619

return to the contents page