Technology Positioning Statement Report

1.1.4 File Utilities

Description: File compression tools, file translation tools, file readers.

Category: 1 - Authoring and Editing   Subcategory: 1 - General Purpose
Old Category: Infrastructure Services – Utilities


Acrobat Reader
FormFlow Filler
Quick View Plus
Quick View Plus


Industry UsageSC Usage

Performance Metrics

Meets specific requirements of SC usage; reliability and compatibility with Office 2000 and Windows 2000; ease of use; level of support; documentation.

Usage and Dependencies

Industry Usage: Despite the advanced features of desktop office suites, small third-party utility programs are still needed to handle a number of important desktop operations, such as reading files from diverse sources (Quick View Plus) file compression/extraction to save space (WinZip), file transfer over the Internet (WS_FTP), and some web browser plug-ins and document viewers for data formats not supported by SC. (This category excludes multimedia player clients, which are covered in their own category.)

In some cases there are versions of these utilities available for free, while there are versions that have more features and support that are licensed. The sources of these products tend to change as the products/companies are acquired by larger companies.

It is important that users have the ability to view a wide variety of file types. WinZip provides such a capability. Its documentation states:

"Archive formats:

  • Zip files are the most common archive format. Zip files can span multiple disks, and provide both compression and file grouping. WinZip does not use external programs to work with Zip files.
  • TAR, Z, GZ, TAZ, and TGZ files are often found on Unix-based Internet sites. TAR stands for “Tape ARchive”. The TAR format does not provide compression; it is used only to group files. GZ and Z files are gzip files. GZ and Z files cannot contain multiple files. TAZ and TGZ files are TAR files compressed in the gzip format. Since almost all new archives are created in Zip format, WinZip does not provide facilities to add to or create files in these formats (however, all other WinZip functions are supported). WinZip does not use external programs when working with files in these formats.
  • File formats such as UUencoded, XXencoded, BinHex, and MIME are used primarily to transfer binary files by Internet e-mail. If you encounter one of these files, you can open it and extract its contents with WinZip. You can UUencode an archive using the UUencode entry in the WinZip Actions pull-down menu. WinZip does not use external programs when working with files in these formats.
  • WinZip also handles most files in the old Microsoft Compress format (also known as LZEXPAND format). However, there are several variations on this format, and Microsoft has not released documentation on these variations. WinZip issues an appropriate message if you attempt to decompress a file not supported by your version of Windows. Microsoft Compress files usually end with a trailing underscore, for example, “commdlg.dl_”
  • Like Z and GZ files, Microsoft Compress format files contain only one file. This format is used for many files on the Windows 3.1 distribution disks and many older Microsoft products. Note that not all files ending with an underscore are Microsoft Compress format files. WinZip does not use external programs when working with files in these formats.
  • The Microsoft CAB (short for Cabinet) format is used by most Microsoft setup programs, including those used to install Windows 95, 98 and NT. CAB files provide both file compression and file grouping. You can use WinZip to open and extract files the contents of CAB files. WinZip will handle most self-extracting CAB files. WinZip does not use external programs when working with CAB files.
  • ARC, ARJ, and LZH are older formats that provide both grouping and compression, like Zip files. Unlike other supported file formats, WinZip’s optional support for these formats requires external programs that are not included as part of the WinZip distribution package."

Adobe Acrobat 5.0, the latest version, finally includes the ability to convert from PDF to RTF format, which will allow PDF documents to be converted into an editable, COM-compliant format within Microsoft Word. Word, of course, has the ability to convert between many word processing formats, including WordPerfect.

SC Usage: SC requires a set of file utilities that are commonly used, as well as some new ones to facilitate document creation, formatting and conversion as we make the strategic move toward HTML and XML-based standards. A detailed list of currently installed software is included here.

The new version of the FaxPress client 6.2 will be installed on a per user basis (request only). Version 6.2 of the client software will not be installed as a core component of the image.

GroupCal is a calendar application created by DOE that was used by several people when we were using Outlook 97. There is no documentation on this VB 5.0 application and it is extremely complicated. Its major feature was the ability to view several peoples' calendars at the same time. This is very convenient when attempting to schedule a meeting. The new release of Outlook 2000 has this functionality built into the meeting scheduler.

SC Application Impacts: Indirect.

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