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December 1, 1998


By CBR Staff Writer

Forte Software Inc will next week begin shipping the mainframe version of the Forte Applications Environment running on IBM Corp’s OS/390 operation system. The system has been development for two years, having first been announced in May 1997. Forte 3.0.5 is written entirely in C++, but the next version, which will add Java support, will be written in a combination of C++ and the caffeinated language. It means that Forte applications built on Windows NT, Unix or VMS systems can be deployed on S/390 systems. This is not a development tool – applications need to be developed on Forte’s other platforms. The company said earlier this year that demand for a development environment was low because of factors such as the lack of a GUI environment for mainframes (07/29/98). However, Forte says the new product can be used to test the applications across a distributed environment prior to deployment. This version includes support for DB2 version 5 and the company is also testing a Forte DB2 adapter, which will work with Forte-developed applications that receive and send data to and from applications that are accessing DB2 databases. That will be delivered early next year, probably in the first quarter. Support for IBM’s CICS transaction processing and IMS database software will come in the form of further adapters, probably in the second quarter. Forte says one of the main applications for this software will be the consolidation of servers back on to large Unix and mainframe systems – client- server in reverse. Forte president and chief executive Marty Sprinzen says the company is seeing some signs of reversal of the slowdown in the enterprise software market, which he talked about in January this year and cited as the reason for Forte’s sudden slowdown in revenue growth. That was due to companies tackling Y2K problems, but he – and analysts he insists – are starting to see signs that companies are done with their Y2K work and are getting back to concentrating on development, which would suit Forte better. However, Sprinzen said the market is not out of the woods yet. IBM says there are about 13,000 OS/390 licenses out there, plus the remaining MVS shops. Forte for OS/390 costs from $100,000, which Forte said would be for a fairly small enterprise.

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