Producing BT’s Yellow Pages with Formation

Gail Anderson, Andrew Casson-du Mont, Ann Macintosh, Robert Rae, and Barry Gleeson

This case study illustrates how the adoption of AI technology can benefit smaller companies as well as major corporations. Pindar Set is a small UK company which has originated the Yellow Pages directories for British Telecommunications plc since 1979. AIAI is a technology transfer organisation which has delivered innovative solutions to industrial clients since 1984. Together, AIAI and Pindar have developed a next-generation layout system, Formation. Formation is fast, easy to use and flexible, and had already delivered benefits through marketing trials before being successfully deployed in production of the Yellow Pages in December 1997. The heart of Formation is a 2D layout engine which formats input data according to styles written in lssl, a domain-specific language developed at AIAI. Through representing the layout knowledge in Formation explicitly in lssl styles, and ensuring that it can easily be modified, Pindar has enabled itself to respond far better to its customer’s present and future needs.

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