Left somewhat behind by the trendier multi-tier, application partitioning school of fourth-generation language companies, Compuware Corp is hoping to sidestep the competition by rejigging its Uniface 4GL development suite and repositioning it as an application assembly environment. The Farmington Hills, Michigan- based company’s taking its recent Uniface 7.1 release and extending support to non-Uniface components written in Java, C++, Visual Basic, Powersoft and legacy environments, including Cobol and RPG. The commercial reality is that we’re going to have to live with Visual Basic, comments Ian Meakin, product marketing manager for Compuware, we call it the mother-in-law syndrome. With this in mind, Compuware has based its component management facilities on a component signature repository where all components are registered, regardless of their physical implementation. In this way information about the call interfaces of each component, including operations (or methods), parameters and data types, is made available to developers. Compuware is betting that potential customers, who in the past might have been wary of buying into Uniface, will be persuaded by the company’s message that applications re-use will see a corresponding return on investment. The choice of development tool for component construction becomes a tactical issue – the strategic business decision is the choice of the assembly environment, explains Meakin.
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