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Microsoft's BizTalk Server Beta and a New Sense for Web Servers

Too many new things happened last week, and I just couldn't find a way to put them into a single column. So, here are a couple of highlights.

Microsoft Releases BizTalk Server Beta
If you haven't already, I encourage you to check out what's going on in the XML world and be ready for the changes XML will bring. Microsoft is ready for those changes and has designed the new BizTalk Server to take advantage of them. BizTalk Server is designed to trade XML-based business transactions, contained in small Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML) -based messages, with other XML-compatible servers. Earlier this month, Microsoft released a public beta of BizTalk Server 2000. This product should whet the appetites of e-commerce and business-to-business (B2B) developers for electronic business transactions such as purchase orders and invoicing. Web developers should be all over this new release. Web administrators are already supporting HTML on their Web servers. Click here to learn more about the BizTalk and XML communities.

What Does Your Web Site Smell Like?
You've probably served some pretty wild content through your Web servers over the years. However, even having run the whole range from the Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML) to Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), chances are you haven't served content such as the following.

Today's Web servers serve content for three of the five human senses: sight, sound, and touch. Now, thanks to DigiScents, you can add a fourth sense to your Web servers—smell. DigiScents indexes a particular scent by analyzing the chemical makeup and placing it on a scent spectrum chart. DigiScents can recreate thousands of different scents through combinations of one or more of 100 basic scents on the client end through a small device called an iSmell Personal Scent Synthesizer, which uses replaceable cartridges.

And if that weren't enough, DigiScents demonstrates its devices by creating scent-ready HTML content. They call it—are you ready?—a Snortal, which contains scent-laden content. Thanks to DigiScents, now I have something to use when combating the office employee who intentionally burns the microwave popcorn every afternoon.

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