Ricoh Silicon Valley Announces Open Source Framework for Web-Based Information Applications

RSV’s Platform for Information Applications (PIA) Defines a New
Generation of Document-Oriented Processing Systems

SAN JOSE, Calif. (March 2, 1999) Ricoh
Silicon Valley (RSV) today announced an open source release of its
Platform for Information Applications (PIA), a framework for the
development of flexible and dynamic information applications for
small to medium-sized offices and workgroups. Designed specifically
for light-weight, task-specific information applications, the PIA
framework is distinguished by its ability to embed intelligence and
action into collections of active pages without the need to learn a
programming language.

“Most commercially available network-based information
applications are out of the reach of small offices and workgroups
due to their complexity and the significant IT investment

Now developers have a framework to create customized information
applications that can be evolved and maintained by web authors and
content developers, without the need for heavy IT resources,” said
Greg Wolff, RSV’s PIA group leader.

“Developers using the PIA framework can create representations
that make sense to web authors and give him/her control over the
processing of interactive pages,” Wolff continued.

PIA will be available for download under the Ricoh Source Code
Public License from www.RiSource.org, a
site dedicated to providing open source support to developers of
information applications for workgroups and small offices (see
today’s related press release entitled Ricoh Silicon Valley
Launches RiSource.org

The PIA Framework

PIA defines a new generation of document-oriented information
applications with its unique use of XML to specify processing. The
PIA framework separates an application into a core processing
engine (called an agency) and task specific modules (called agents)
which consist primarily of simple web pages.

The agency provides basic support for processing electronic
documents — a key component for utilizing web-based information.
In addition to basic http client and server functions, the engine
can dynamically parse and transform structured documents. Operating
as a server, proxy, or client, the agency flexibly routes request
to the appropriate agent(s) and provides hooks for customization
and enhancement at all levels of the processing.

Agents provide the user interface and task-specific information
processing (with the processing logic represented in XML)-making it
easier to develop and maintain by non programmers. These pages may
include special tags which are dynamically interpreted by the
agency. Interface designers, graphical artists, or technical
writers may develop the XML pages, and actual information design
can be modified without code modification. Likewise, implementation
changes do not affect the information design and delivery.

“What makes PIA unique is the unparalleled control its gives to
authors, interface designers, graphical artists or technical
writers over document processing and task-specific information
applications ,” said Steve Savitzky, RSV’s Chief Software
Scientist. “Using a PIA framework, users will no longer find
themselves at the mercy of servers and the people who program

The framework also includes templates, example applications,
development tools and substantial documentation.

Note to Editors

Peter Hart, Chairman and President of Ricoh Silicon Valley, and
Steve Savitzky , RSV’s Chief Software Scientist, will present a
detailed look at the PIA framework at the LinuxWorld Conference and
Expo on Thursday, March 4, at 10:30 a.m. (conference session

About Ricoh Silicon Valley

Ricoh Silicon Valley, Inc. is a business development and
research subsidiary of Ricoh Company, Ltd., a world leader in
electro-optics and office automation. RSV includes Ricoh’s
California Research Center dedicated to applied research, and the
Ricoh Strategic Business Center focused on alliances and new
venture investments. RSV’s goal is the application of leading edge
computer and communications technologies to small business
information management.

Greg Wolff, Ricoh Silicon Valley, Inc.
(650) 496-5718
[email protected]


Michelle Soleau, i2 Consulting
(650) 369-1123
[email protected]