Proceedings of the 14th International Conference on Information and Intelligent Systems (IIS 2003 Proceedings), 24-26 september 2003., Varaždin – Croatia; ISBN 953-6071-22-3; Published by Faculty of Organization and Informatics Varaždin, University of Zagreb

Proposal for XML Technology Programming Solutions in the Printing Business INFORMIX database

Marinko Žagar
Školska knjiga, Zagreb

Vilko Žiljak
University of Zagreb, Faculty of Graphics Art, Zagreb

Zvonimir Sabati
University of Zagreb,
Faculty of Organization and Informatics, Varaždin

Klaudio Pap
University of Zagreb, Faculty of Graphics Art, Zagreb

Abstract: Implementing advanced information computer science technologies, having in mind firstly the XML program environment, is not possible in all managing entities simultaneously. There are typical examples of companies in the publishing and printing industry where it is necessary to invest into advanced technologies of graphic prepress often because the printing press interests and those of digital business operations and new electronic publishing merge. Thus there is application of various technologies in various managing entities. Each day XML is becoming more and more important as a communication standard for any company aiming at fully implementing Web technology support. Database users need to search for information using Web technology. XML has been accepted as the basic communication activity carrier between various bases, dislocated sources and various operation systems. Our experience lies in the use of Informix Dynamic Server 9.x. We are presenting the engineering of our own software solutions for generating XML output documents from an existing database. This paper gives an example of how it is possible to link various technologies in a big publishing company.

Keywords: database, XML, publishing, printing


The changes that have taken place in graphics systems’ digitalisation in most production phases are universal and require a completely new approach in managing. If we observe the publishing business and book production fields following such changes, similar conclusions may be brought. Even the Web environment that has become the standard for communication in these systems is going through extensive expansion on a daily basis.

Whereas there were only some 200 Internet servers in the Internet’s infancy in 1991, there are approximately 170 million servers in the world today. In the years to follow the number of Internet servers will be equal to the number of inhabitants on our planet. Communication through the Internet is also growing. HTML, the Internet standard language that is still the most frequent Internet language,
is now giving way to XML.

XML as a code communication system linking different equipment, application systems and databases is becoming a significant novelty in the graphics and publishing production, i.e. in the complete book production system due to its enormous comparative advantages. In a year or so, if not sooner, it may be expected that it will become the only universal standard for business, computer and technical communication in the field of book production.

The transformation of CIP3 communication standard into CIP4 in graphics and book production is very significant for the publishing business. The publishing business system has thus acquired the following business relations that can be used progressively in the most intensive manner:
- due to XML on basis of which the complete CIP4/JDF workflow was elaborated, the communication in the chain consisting of the publisher-production (prepress-press-bookbinding)-marketing-distribution-databases has been immensely improved;
- technical possibilities coming out of this offer the publisher twofold progress. On one hand he participates in graphic production phases (especially in the control phases) in a dynamic manner and comprehensively. On the other hand, the book as a product becomes less expensive and of better quality, whereas the production cycle is much shorter. Thus the publishers may be more relaxed in respect to planning, especially when the planning area is very cramped due to exterior factors.

Due to the specific methodology applied in bringing decisions as to school books in the Republic of Croatia, the school books plan and production plan containing all the relevant elements is cramped into a time period of some 3o days. Such a time limit does not leave place for many possibilities of workflow control beginning from prepress, press, book storage and distribution to bookshops. If the XML technology advantages were to be used in controlling the listed phases, the control process would be much simpler and more effective.


XML – eXtensible Markup Language is used in linking various computer science technologies in our publishing system and computer system. XML is a language for marking that may be started on any platform, operative system or environment and is used in such a manner that it offers designers mechanisms for better content description. XML is used for an easier and more effective exchange of data through the Web. It is program oriented towards technology where a designer may write his own definition of the document type (DTD). With the help of the XML system there are significant advantages of application for the book publishing production that can be seen in the following business results:
- significant automation and shortening of the book producing cycle;
- significant simplification, rationalisation and reduction of manager    business processes control;
- openness of business dealings through the Internet and significant    possibilities of business process remote control.

Our position is that XML technology placed at the computer and information centre of the publishing business production brings significant, even revolutionary changes in the field of the Internet, book production, graphics production and the whole integrated environment. Therefore, it is absolutely a must to engage the necessary managing mechanisms and implement XML and Internet business operations into the very centre of business dealings standardisation in this environment very soon, meaning - today.


The management of a publishing house should be informed in a transparent and visually acceptable way of everyday activities important for the company. In order for the decisions brought daily by the managers to be efficient and in due time, the computer system should be such as to supply information the moment it is required. Besides the central Informix database, for certain reasons the Acess database, often containing essential information, is in use too, and it is, therefore, necessary to provide interaction between the two bases in order to get good-quality information. Frequent negotiations outside the company at buyer locations and locations of those using books published by Školska knjiga require the data be available through the Internet. The required data can not be always prepared and formatted in the way the user needs them at a certain moment, and work is necessary to be done in order to prepare the data before their use. Any display and data alteration requires the work of a programmer who will prepare the data in the requested format. Such a system requires programmers working full time in order to prepare reports according to users’ requests.

The overall data on schools are in the said two databases organised in such a way that the data on designation and teachers are in one database, and the data on the relations of Školska knjiga and certain schools are in the second database. The information necessary in order to bring a decision comes from both databases, so it is necessary to make an inquiry selecting data from both of them and presenting them in a certain format.

Picture 1. A “PARTNER” type table view from the Informix database

We can access the data from the given table in several ways, and the one that is the most frequent is by excerpting certain data into a separate file and linking it afterwards with data from the Access database, Picture 3, where data on teachers in the given school are stored. If we wish to import data from the Informix database into the Access database, the most efficient way is through ODBC for Informix. Once the tables from the said bases are linked, we may use them as if they were from one single database and we may create the inquiries we need.

Picture 3. An example of an Acess Database


The example we wish to demonstrate in order to show how a system with XML application should be set up refers to data on schools. The information system today does not give the possibility of flexible data access, especially data access through the Internet and without the assistance of a programmer the system is totally inflexible when change of display format is required.

The whole sistem is turned to MS-SQL database just as Pilot project because, in reality, there are diferent tools in the use: Informix, MS-Access, and some selfprograming tables. XML combines diferent sources in final documents for XSL applications. There are listing of XML source with name of variables, the same as in real use. XML examples are: “Artikal”, “Sale”, “Supply”, and “Warehouse”. For each is programed special Shema for final selection and presentation.

The XML Structure for our Pilot Project:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>
- <root xmlns:sql="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:xml-sql">
- <ARTIKAL ID="2">
<ANOTACIJA>U slikovnici su igre, pjesmice, zadaci i priče u slikama koje govore o osobnoj higijeni, zdravoj prehrani i športskim aktivnostima. Djeca će rješavanjem zadataka, odgovaranjem na pitanja, pričanjem priča i igrom postupno učiti zašto i kako se treba brinut</ANOTACIJA>
- <ARTIKAL ID="3">
<ANOTACIJA>Vježbenica za razvoj grafomotorike namijenjena je djeci predškolske dobi i onoj koja su tek krenula u prvi razred. Sastavljena je od niza predvježbi za pisanje koje će uputiti dijete u početno pisanje i olakšati mu svladavanje školskih obveza</ANOTACIJA>


Table 1: An example of an XML for “Article”

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>
- <root xmlns:sql="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:xml-sql">
- <ARTIKAL ID="422">
<ANOTACIJA>Naš ugledni politfilozof u ovoj knjizi primjenjuje tri različita metodička pristupa za čitanje novovjekovne političke zbilje. Najprije rekonstruktivnom metodom na temelju triju velikih teorija (Kantove, Fichteove i Hegelove) analizira složene političke od</ANOTACIJA>


Table 2: An example of an XML for “Sale”

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>
- <root xmlns:sql="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:xml-sql">
- <ZALIHA ID="1">
- <ZALIHA ID="90">
- <ZALIHA ID="91">
- <ZALIHA ID="92">

Table 3: An example of an XML for “Supply”

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>
- <root xmlns:sql="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:xml-sql">

Table 4: An example of an XML for “Warehouse”


The Project being Developed and Tested Controlling such quantities of data through the Internet and XML makes it possible for managers to create their own inquiries that will render data immediately, wherever their location is. The initial goal was to link various structures in the publishing business, namely: authors, reviewers, Ministry of Education, schools, teachers, shops, independent vendors, production plans, relations with the printing works. There are no solutions we could copy on basis of other publisher applications. It is not possible to build an internal network covering all the participants, activities and book production managers. The XML technology has already given us Pilot results. They are linked into a unique structure: book titles, authors or author groups, book content abstracts, reviews, recommendations, storehouse situation, situation of a certain title in the printing process. The longest period of time is needed for defining the XML variables in the project. The effort made is to have their names be identical with the names from the existing databases. Efforts are made to keep the same relationship between the tables and variables, wherever possible.


o Pitts, Natanye.: “In Recort Time XML”, Sybex, 2000.