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Also posted on: The Norfolk Punt
OK, I’m at Day 1 of the Worldwide Compuware Uniface User Conference (CU2008) and it’s pretty good. I’ve always liked Uniface – its a productive way of building rich applications at an abstraction level somewhat above that of C++ (although that’s a little unfair; C++ and its libraries works a little differently)
Compuware announced immediate availability of Uniface 9.3 Application Platform Suite today. This offers simplified deployment, targeting businesses who don’t maintain an IT specialist on-site and want to run their applications 24×7.
It also has an enhanced mobile interface (if you can write Uniface, you can easily get your data onto a mobile device; which is now end-user configurable) and something called a “cross reference feature”. This last is a faculty for generating, maintaining, reporting and using cross reference information, identifying where objects are referenced in applications. It is particularly useful as service-oriented architectures are introduced—something similar was available in Uniface 8.4 but was dropped and is now being put back in, as a completely new implementation, by user request.
But what’s with the yoof culture and the rock guitar theme running through CU2008? Perhaps I’m old and titter and bwisted, but I’m not sure I need to associate Uniface with kids and guitars, in order to realise that its a pretty good tool still (perhaps I’m still wound up about Rational and it’s Superheroes—I thought the last thing development needed was a superhero culture). Still, I suppose it’s all a bit of fun—most people seemed to be enjoying the Rock Party (complete with Elvis) Compuware threw on Monday night.
Talking to Sogeti from the Netherlands, Uniface is still pretty active on its own turf, with people who were looking at other technologies returning to the fold. After all. It’s still very productive, still focuses on delivering business automation rather than technology games, still makes a profit and its owner isn’t in debt. Around Xmas 2008, that looks pretty good to me. Uniface might be another of the more solid companies with a real provenance to benefit from a risk-averse recession-oriented mood.
I got to an interesting breakout from Karl Sup (Development Director JDA Software Inc) on Uniface’s Unicode support (a Uniface 9 feature and now pretty much all patched and working; partly due to JDA’s efforts)—obviously, for a multinational product company, it makes worldwide language support much easier. However, one interesting point was that the business people in JDA often missed the potential business benefit from, for example, now being able to store all your data in one database regardless of language. And one more thing, having got a team together to implement and test the Unicode conversion, JDA took the opportunity to clean up its applications and remove legacy “style” anomalies and other issues—a visible benefit from a very small incremental effort, which shows a forward thinking approach others could usefully emulate.
So, that’s about it for Day 1. Tomorrow, amongst other things, we get a preview of what’s in Uniface 9.4 (which goes into Beta at CU2008) for RIA (Rich Internet Applications.