Informix Software Inc duly unveiled a Universal Tools product strategy yesterday to support its Universal Server object-relational database (CI No 3,130), promising to flesh out its plan with additional partners, plus new support for Java and design and lifecycle technologies in the coming days and weeks. The Menlo Park, California company has productized the application modeling tools it picked up with the acquisition of CenterView Software Inc a few weeks ago as Informix-Data Director for Visual Basic, which is essentially a collection of pre-built components and modeling tools enabling developers to create Visual Basic applications that access information in relational database without writing SQL code. Informix is selling the tool as an add-on to existing database server licenses priced at $6,000 per CPU in internet environments or $200 per user. Informix-Data Director for the Informix Workgroup database is $1,500 per CPU in internet environments or $50 per user. The product is bundled with a runtime license for NewEra applications. At the same time, Informix has re-named its Jworks drag and drop Java development environment Informix-Data Director for Java. Even though the product doesn’t contain technology from the CenterView acquisition, Informix is using the Data Director brand to identify its drag and drop modeling and development tool products. Its Java work is available now; Data Director for Visual Basic is due by the end of this quarter. Informix is trumpeting the fact that developers will be able to automate much of the application development process when using a range of third party tools in conjunction with its Data Director products, including those from Symantec, Microsoft, Forte Software and Sybase. Informix also introduced its long-delayed NewEra 3.0 graphical application development toolset for developing C and C++ database applications that support 32-bit Windows 95 and NT environments, and has added native support for Universal Server in addition to ODBC links. NewEra 3.0 includes an application builder; a window painter re-written for Windows 95 and NT; a wizard to partition application processing with support for OLE automation clients; a debugger; Seagate Software’s Crystal Reports 5.0 reporting tool; the Versant Object Technology Corp- based object repository for storing class and library definitions plus administration tools; a class browser; and the Premedia Codewright language editor. NewEra 3.0 costs $4,500. It won’t support the development of web-enabled applications or support Universal Server until a NewEra 3.1 release in the third quarter. Informix attributes NewEra 3.0’s delay – it was originally due late 1995 – to execution defocus and a lack of synchronization between APIs used by the tools and database products. Informix says customers of its Informix-4GL are now able to migrate their Unix applications to run unchanged on Windows NT using third party tools. Other pieces of the Universal Tools strategy are supposed to fall into place later this week with the announcement of new partners and products for building applications for Java client devices at the JavaOne developer show in San Francisco later this week. Informix will also add support for a bunch of third party object-oriented design and analysis lifecycle products it currently lacks to provide end-to-end application design and development. Informix ISV Computer Systems Advisers Inc, Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey says it’s working with the company on a set of object tools for use with Universal Server that will be unveiled at DB/Expo in May.