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Saffron Server Project




In its brief history, Sun's Java platform has been weak in printing and document rendering as compared to Microsoft Windows. Dynalivery is fulfilling this need for better document management with the introduction of its second major product in the Fall of 2002, the Saffron Document Server.

Saffron is virtual printer software. Applications typically will connect to Saffron over intranets or the Internet, and "draw" successive text and graphics objects (using Sun's Java2D specification) that comprise the pages of documents. Saffron will then translate these pages to a variety of popular document formats and transmit them immediately to users waiting at web browsers. Saffron will optionally "archive" documents on paper or in databases for "later" use. Saffron will also optionally act as a "local virtual printer," executing on the same computer as the invoking application. Saffron includes an all-Java PostScript® language compatible interpreter and a PostScript print driver for Microsoft Windows NT/2000.

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Background

A core capability of Saffron is to generate Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) output, similar to Adobe Acrobat Distiller. However, Saffron is a high concurrency Java server application, not a single-user desktop product. The PDF format originated in the graphic arts industry and has become a de-facto standard for precisely formatted business documents such as bank statements and insurance forms that users transmit over the Internet. Unlike HTML, PDF documents retain their formatting across many different computers, operating systems, Internet browsers, and printers. Users may read PDF documents with a free browser plug-in called Acrobat Reader that is downloadable from the web sites of Adobe and thousands of its customers.

Dynalivery's first product, Parallel Crystal has generated PDF documents from one application, Crystal Reports, since 1999. It uses a thread-safe C++ library developed by Dynalivery. It processes complex report templates with sub-reports, charts, lines, and bitmaps. Parallel Crystal faithfully renders them with a compact file size and page breaks in the right locations, matching the Crystal Reports Designer Print Preview window. To see for yourself, download the sample Box Office Movie Report, Box.pdf, generated with Parallel Crystal v2.6 and Crystal Reports 7. (If you have Crystal Reports Designer 7 please feel free to download and review our box.rpt sample report template.) Dynalivery's enterprise customers have achieved scalability in the range of 10,000 to 100,000 PDF pages per day of highly personalized output with Parallel Crystal.

Dynalivery developed Saffron in response to customer demand to break out the popular C++ language PDF technology in Parallel Crystal into a separate server product that would work with Crystal Reports, competitors to Crystal Reports, and even non-reporting server applications. By implementing in Java we have met an additional customer requirement for portability across operating systems and computing devices such as appliances, printers, PCs, workstations and high-end servers. Saffron will have a number of enhancements over Acrobat Distiller including a variety of output formats beyond PDF (HTML, RTF, and soon TIFF, JPEG, PNG and SVG), document concatenation, and document storage in an Enterprise Java Bean (EJB) repository. Note that Adobe publishes the structure of its PDF file format to assist developers like Dynalivery in the creation of software products that complement Acrobat. Dynalivery currently relies upon public specifications of the other standard file format types that it targets with Saffron output modules.

Target Market Niches

  1. Printing and Document Rendering from any Java application, local or remote, to files or paper.

  2. Enabling Printing and Document Rendering from remote computers or wireless devices for which there may be no possible or economical local printer or local document rendering software.

  3. Improving performance of existing printing applications (Java, MS Windows, Legacy) whose proprietary PDF, PostScript, or other libraries must be co-resident with the core application. To the extent that these products are licensed by the server or by the server-processor, Saffron may offer significant economies through offloading the final stage of document rendering (to PDF, etc.) to another machine. When you consider that products such as Crystal Enterprise carry prices of up to USD 45,000 per processor, it makes sense to minimize the conflicting load of document rendering on server machines running the core application.

  4. True multi-threaded server substitute for Adobe Acrobat Distiller on individual corporate/large organization MS Windows PCs. A single workgroup server with Saffron for approximately USD 8,000 to 10,000 of software and hardware could substitute for hundreds of copies of Distiller (list price USD 250) while reducing the maintenance costs. To the extent that users need to generate documents in multiple file formats, Saffron can help users consolidate their software and avoid having to purchase and deploy special software for each file format.

  5. Proprietary PDF Library substitute for existing reporting tools such as Crystal Reports and Oracle Reports. Users might immediately improve the quality of their PDF output by using Saffron instead of their proprietary PDF libraries to gain Page on Demand (byteserving), higher fidelity to their own Print Preview rendering, or other features. Similar benefits may be available to users with requirements for other formats beyond PDF whose reporting tools or other core applications do not equal the high quality of Saffron output. A variation of this theme may be users who are not using the most recent version of their core application. The core application's latest update might indeed offer acceptable output quality. However, a purchase of Saffron for a few shared servers may be more economical than upgrading the core application on all computers.

Saffron will be available in a number of product packages, including integrated with Parallel Crystal and stand alone. Beginning in late September 2002, existing Dynalivery customers with paid-up support agreements will receive upon request a free update that includes a copy of Saffron for co-resident use with Parallel Crystal on Microsoft Windows NT/2000 report servers.

Dynalivery will also offer Saffron as a complement to using Java Web/Portal Servers such as BEA WebLogic, IBM WebSphere, Oracle 9iAS, Macromedia JRun, Novell/SilverStream eXtend, JBoss, and potentially others.

Saffron Output Samples

Please feel free to download and inspect the various PDF, HTML, RTF, SVG, PNG, and JPG documents that Dynalivery generated with Saffron, Parallel Crystal v2.7 Beta2 and Crystal Reports 7. All output files can be downloade from our Saffron Output Sample Page.

OEM and strategic partnership inquiries for Saffron are welcome at sales@dynalivery.com

Free Saffron Trial

To help you preview and understand these great new capabilities, click on the following URL to download trial editions from our web site. This first set of trial editions includes "Saffron Desktop" which is our graphical user interface to Saffron. It is a Java server, including a PostScript language compatible interpreter and a Formatting Objects (XSL-FO) input module , that will generate and concatenate PDF, HTML, RTF, SVG, JPG and PNG documents. It is completely functional, unlike many trial editions and is only limited by its license key expiration. While it is beta software, we encourage you to use it to prepare any web or email documents, including long or complex documents, that you may be sharing with business colleagues or remote family and friends. We have included installers for MS Windows, Linux, Sun Solaris, and HP-UX operating systems.

http://www.dynalivery.com/products/saffron/SaffronProject.html

Please try it and let us hear your feedback at saffron_trial@dynalivery.com

Trademarks
PostScript is a registered trademark of Adobe Systems, Inc.
Crystal Reports is a trademark of Seagate Software Information Management Group Holdings, Inc.
All other trademarks or registered trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

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