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Although CRAFT is a custom developed system, it uses international standards, thus ensuring that stored data could be accessed independently from the CRAFT system and their integrity remained intact for a long time.

The system uses the SGML / XML-based (ISO 8879) standard to describe document data, and the TIFF standard with G4 compression to store document images. Stored data are encoded using standard DES, 3DES (FIPS PUB 74) and Rijndael (AES FIPS-197) procedures. The XML Signature (W3C Recommendation) and the XML Advanced Electronic Signatures (XAdES) (ETSI TS 101 903) standards are used for signing the documents.

Cardinal Kft. was one of the first developers in Hungary to use SGML/XML technology.

SGML (Standard Generalized Markup Language) was developed back in the 70s and 80s. The main driving force behind its development was that companies which were equipped with a lot of computers at an early stage, consisted of numerous departments or had a lot of suppliers had to realise that the uniform and automatic processing of various incoming electronic documents was practically impossible. The reason for that was not only the difference between document (file) formats but also their heterogeneous internal structures and the fact that document elements were not identified.

SGML was created to solve that problem and it was established as an international ISO standard (ISO 8879:1986) in 1986. SGML brought about a major breakthrough in this field of document management but it is comparatively expensive, complex and requires special expertise.

As a result of the development we could witness over recent decades, the connection between business life and electronic devices is growing ever stronger. An increasing portion of business documents have been and are created using computers, and in several cases hard-copy documents are also digitised: we use photocopies, faxes or digital archiving, just to name a few examples. Apart from that, the environment has also undergone significant changes and it increasingly relies on more and more sophisticated devices. Today, we have the Internet, the popularity of which owes a lot to an application of SGML, a limited set of its functions called HTML. The power of HTML comes from its easy use and (almost total) independence from different hardware and software platforms. (SGML and XML obviously share these characteristics with HTML.)

The search for a suitable method also exploiting the advantages offered by SGML continued after the introduction of HTML and led to the development of the XML language. XML = eXtensible Markup Language, a language to describe data and information (and their structure).

We could briefly sum up the characteristics of XML as follows: it is a standard description language which can be used in Internet and e-business applications, is compatible with SGML, provides easy connection to other systems, can be easily extended and last but not least, it is easy for users/developers to understand/read XML codes.

XML proved to be so successful that it soon became the common tool for (business) data exchange. The spread of XML is also facilitated by the support of a number of market-leading companies.

According to certain expert estimations, most of the business transactions made through the web will soon be made using XML.

Features of SGML/XML applications:
  • a generally accepted, documented, platform independent standard
  • easy to process with computers and is understandable for human users
  • allows easy information management: it offers fast and exact hits, which can be used, filtered and grouped based on several aspects
  • stored information is easy to port
The technology used also by Cardinal offers the following advantages:
  • standard solution
  • platform independence
  • long life-cycle
  • easy to process stored data (recycling, filtering etc.)
An increasing number of data exchange, knowledge management, e-business and telecommunication standards (e.g. WAP, XML/EDI, DNA, Topic Maps etc.) are based on XML.
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