Third Party Watch
Shawn M. Gordon
President of S.M. Gordon & Associates
Interex, WOW. I can’t begin to describe how overwhelmed I was by the show, but I will try to sum it up anyway. First I want to thank everyone for not smacking me in the back of the head, although Ken from Adager kept trying. Although you may have heard, I believe this was the biggest turnout for Interex ever, last count I heard was around 5,200 people, I feel sorry for the vendors that didn’t make the effort because last year ended up being a bit weird due to the hurricane.
You know I wandered around that big hall for 2 full days and I still didn’t manage to see all the booths that I wanted to, although I think I collected about a dozen T-Shirts. The first thing you saw when you walked in was M.B.Foster & Associates, they had a girl on a microphone welcoming you and saying some other stuff I didn’t quit catch. They had Jerry Johnson from Magic Software in their booth, and I think there is some talk about slapping SortMagic into Data Express (I think this is a great Idea). OCS was also right there at the front kind of showing off their new PRISM stuff. They now have a totally configurable scheduler that runs under MS Windows, I believe it is in BETA at this point, but it looked pretty neat. I understand that they are going to be using WingSpan from SRN to spice up their Librarian product as well.
Speaking of SRN, they have a new product they were showing called Lumen. They are using a VERY nice WingSpan interface to generate SQL commands and pass them to ISQL. This gives you an easy to use inquiry tool for ALLBASE relational data bases. It looked very nice, so did the T-Shirt that went with it. While on the subject of ALLBASE I saw the new DBTune/SQL from HICOMP. This handy dandy program gives you a massive amount of control over configuring and maintaining ALLBASE as well as IMAGE/SQL and the connection between the two. If you are working in this environment you should check it out, they have some pretty cheap intro pricing going on. Along the same vein LeeTech was showing a pre-release of a program that gives you an MS Windows interface for doing SQL lookup on the 3000 and they were selling it real cheap. There are other programs on the PC that can do this kind of thing, but not for anywhere near this price.
I have to cover 4GL’s now, before I forget what I was going to say. The first booth you ran into was COGNOS and their theme was “Keeping your applications fit” and to enforce that theme they had a stage show that ran periodically that had 3 aerobic dancers doing some sort of routine. I didn’t hang around to watch the show, but I did notice that the music was awfully loud if you were at a nearby booth trying to get any information. It didn’t really seem like anything major had been released, just basic improvements and streamlining. The next group I saw was SpeedWare and they were showing their latest MS Windows environment, and I have to say it looks light years better than the last version, I think they have finally hit their stride here. They have also got a version of Designer running under OS/2 that is supposed to be nice, but I didn’t see it.
I went by the IBI/Focus booth several times, but I didn’t have an opportunity to actually check anything out, so I can’t give you any info there. The UNIFACE booth was interesting, they had a cutaway of an airplane that they would sit you in and then do a slide show on the “Movie Screen” and a guy behind you gave a narration. It was the same sales pitch that I saw before so I didn’t hang out. The only thing that bothers me with UNIFACE is that it is supposed to run on the HP 3000, but they only ever seem to show it to you under MS Windows. Someday I would like to see it on the HP.
There seemed to be a couple of other hot topics other that SQL and 4GL’s, and that was Spool File viewers and Electronic Mail. Design/3000 was touting a new spool file viewer and report distribution module to complement their batch scheduler. O’Pin systems was showing Reveal for Client/Server and Unix, which looked very nice. Dave Mendoza of Quest was running people through Vista, which also is looking very good these days. And there was a change at Gennesse Software recently, Gordon from Maui Vision fame has taken over the company from Bob Andrews as well as taken over responsibility for the WRQ electronic mail package PostHaste. He has integrated them together so you can get and view reports through the mail system. Now that we are on the subject of mail, it seems that Minisoft is getting out of the PerfectMail business, but I am not sure what the implications of this will be. 3K Associates was showing NetMail, and E-Mail Inc. was showing their OneStop mail with the MCI and AT&T Easylink Gateways. E-Mail was showing their ad-hoc addressing templates for X.400 access which looked very nice. Robelle was showing Express, but the emphasis seemed to be on their new Qedit/UX a full screen editor for UNIX, lord knows UNIX could use a decent editor.
While on the subject of editors, I have to tell you about the MS Windows version of SpeedEdit. This thing looked great, for a COBOL programmer it was sheer heaven, such power and convenience, I really have to look at it in more detail soon. DSI was showing TurboEdit running as a host based application, and it looked very nice as well, it’s almost overwhelming how much you can do in it.
I have decided to make this a two parter because I think I am starting to get a little long winded here, and there is a bunch of other stuff I want to talk about. The last thing I want to mention was QueryCalc from AICS. Wirt was in the Adager booth showing his latest integration with Postscript, and he really blew me away. He was generating these gorgeous color graphs and reports on a color laser printer (or in B&W on a Laser Jet or anything that supported Postscript) incredibly fast and with an output quality that looked like it was published in Playboy or something. I showed them to my wife (and she could care less about my computer work) and I even got an “ooh ahh” from her. Now I made Wirt promise me he would let me review it whenever he felt like it was really finished (it looked finished to me, but Wirt is one of the few true perfectionists left I think).
I want to wrap up this month with a real live quote from someone other than me, it is “There is no traffic jam on the extra mile” by Glenn Wilson Jr. (whoever he is). I thought it was a powerful thought and I would like to thank Lund Performance Solutions for putting it at the beginning of their manual for Q-Xcelerator.