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  1. Technology
November 25, 1991


By CBR Staff Writer

As expected (CI No 1,736), Informix Software Inc has signed up to license and market software engineering tools developed by Edmonds, Washington-based FourGen Software Inc. FourGen was established in 1983 and claims to be the largest supplier of applications generator-based accountancy packages in the world. Since 1987 FourGen has been working with Informix and re-engineered its applications using Informix 4GL. To do this they had to create product tools, code generators, menus and report writers. With these tools in hand the company was in the position of offering standardised code with their accounting packages that value-added resellers could modify. This is particularly significant in a market where resellers are helping data processing sites move from proprietary hardware to Unix. After this breakthrough, FourGen, a privately-held company, says it has grown quickly, doubling its revenues for the past four years. It now employs 80 people. Originally, the lower CASE tools – Screen, Form Painter, Code Generator and User Control Library – evolved as an adjunct to the accountancy products but now they are very much a product set in their own right, contributing 40% to revenues. FourGen products run on any Informix class of machine, from Unix on the 80386 to the big Sequent Computer Systems Inc and Pyramid Technology Corp machines. The majority of units sold are currently on 80486 boxes but new sales are moving up dramatically to the higher end, as, of course, are those of Informix. For example, FourGen has recently established a marketing relationship with Hewlett-Packard Co for Hewlett to promote FourGen software with the HP 9000 Series 800 computer. The tools are capable of supporting from one to 25 developers. Vice-president of marketing for the company, Gordon Schaeffer, wanted to stress that FourGen offers lower CASE form generators and does not provide upper CASE bit-mapped methodologies. He sees the FourGen product set as being complementary to Informix work being done with Systematica to produce a concept to code development tool for UK government-approved Structured Systems Analysis and Design Method, known as SSADM.

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