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Content software targets small publishers

Snapbridge Software brings content management to the little guys.

The content management software industry has grown rapidly in the past few years, but the benefits of the boom have pretty much eluded any company that can't spend thousands on new software and server hardware.

Snapbridge Software hopes to change that with a new sub-$1,000 application that lets an organization continue to use its hardware and database systems while achieving most of the goals of expensive enterprise content management systems.

The San Diego company this week introduced Cross Media Server, an application that embeds XML (extensible markup language) data into text, photos and other documents to allow them to be archived, indexed and reformatted.

Ben Chen, Snapbridge's founder and chief technology officer, said Cross Media Server is initially being targeted at small to medium-size publishers mixing print, Web and other media, such as newspapers and magazines. Such businesses typically have no comprehensive approach to archiving content, leaving them ill-prepared for opportunities to repackage and reuse older material.

"At this level, we're dealing with people who really don't have a system," Chen said. "Their content management system is rearranging the folders on their C drive."

Targeting such inexperienced users dictated a simple user interface for Cross Media Server, which uses a browser-style interface with functions similar to a Web search engine. Type in a search term, and the application finds all applicable corporate content. It also supports RSS (really simple syndication) feeds to suck in data from the Web. Chen said his goal was to make the application as simple and useful as a Google search.

Chen said much of the initial interest in the application has come from publishers switching from Quark's page layout software to Adobe Systems products. They need help bringing over old files in Quark formats, he said. "They're interested in what we can do to help make that transition more seamless."