Progress Software is updating its product line in an attempt to move it into the twenty first century. The revised offerings will be marketed under the banner, Universal Application Architecture (UAA).
Under the UAA scheme, the database and development tools supplier intends to enable customers to create interface independent components, which can be hooked up to any data source, server or client.
Rick Reidy, Progress? vice president of product development, explained: ?UAA is a term to describe the merging of our servers over the next two years. The servers provide the business logic, which can be reused, and users can add a new front end, written for example in Visual Basic or Java, but everything is hooked together using Corba-compliant Orbs (object request brokers)."
The first step will be to update Progress? fourth generation language (4GL) by merging version 9.0 with version 3.0 of Webspeed, which is the HTML front end to the development environment.
The combined offering, codenamed Skywalker, is due in the second half of this year, and users will be able to build front ends in either the existing Progress language, Java, ActiveX or Dynamic HTML. They will also be able to interface into the Corba object world.
The next version of the Progress database, codenamed Bastille, will also be unhooked from the development environement for the first time and, the company hopes, will support up to 100,000 users. But, unlike other players in the database market, it has no plans to add object or other data type support to the product.
Reidy explained: ?There may be opportunities in future for including third party data types, but people are not using them now. The Progress 4GL doesn?t use object/relational features internally, so we don?t need that support in the database. The Apptivity Java-based tools do though, so we?ll include interfaces into third party object/relational databases there.?
Next on the design board after Skywalker is Project Vader, which will follow in 1999. This will be based on Corba and be marketed as OpenAppServer, but will also support Java Beans and talk natively to third party databases such as Oracle.
Progress said it was talking to Sun about licensing its new Java-based object request broker (Orb) to include in the product, but would leave the choice of Orb open to the user if it could not come to an agreement with the supplier.
Elsewhere, the company is trying to build up its newly acquired Apptivity business, which it sees as a means of enabling it to break into a new less conservative customer base. As a result, it will spend $7 million on marketing for the unit this year.
Reidy said that Apptivity exists within UAA but is designed for a different set of customers.
Version 3.0 of the Apptivity Java rapid application development tool, codenamed Vail, will support HTML, but also be able to communicate with Enterprise Java Beans and Corba-based server applications. It will include more ease-of-use features and support for team development and is due to ship next quarter.
The Aspen release, which is due to go into beta by the end of the year, will be based on Corba, but will also fully support Enterprise Java Beans and Corba, and enable users to wrap their existing legacy applications.
Progress? third business unit is also working on new products, including testing and deployment-oriented monitoring tools. But, the next release of its ProtoSpeed protocol-level debugger will include probes for database and systems management objects and support for Microsoft?s DCOM and the Object Management Group?s IIOP protocols.
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