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September 11, 1990


By CBR Staff Writer

Ingres Corp has released a windows-based development tool for relational database management systems, which it claims is the first to make full use of the graphical capabilities offered by windows. Windows 4GL is based on the terminal version of Ingres’ applications generator, although the windows version has taken 20 extra man-years to develop. Like Oracle, Informix and others, Ingres already has a fourth generation language database development tool which uses windows – the Ingres version is called WindowView. But Ingres says its new product is superior to other windows programs because it was specifically written for windows with the enhanced graphical capabilities of a workstation in mind, rather than essentially being a terminal system which can be run on a workstation. Initially, the software will run on workstations only – Sun Sparcstations and DEC VAXes under VMS – but next year it will be available for personal computers under Microsoft’s Windows 3.0. This is because the workstation market for database development systems is tiny compared with that of personal computers and terminals. Despite emphasising the true workstation capabilities of the product, Ingres says it will not lose any functionality when it is run on a personal computer. Product manager Mark Hanner says personal computers and workstations, which he terms microstations now have almost the same capabilities especially when Windows 3.0 is running on the personal computer. As for WindowView, the Ingres terminal-based tool, Hanner reckons that this will not become redundant. Ingres will continue to market it for people who already have terminals installed and won’t want to take up the newer technology immediately. It is an evolutionary solution. Using Windows 4GL, programmers can access any native windows environment so that developers can use facilities from any native window programs they have on their machines. This also means that an application built in DECwindows, for example, can be run under any window system with no code changes. Features that users get with Windows 4GL compared with a product like WindowView include the use of radio buttons, applications running simultaneously in multiple windows and bit-mapped images. Ingres also claims a 10-fold increase in productivity over a using a conventional high level language development environment, achieved through a reduction in the amount of code that the programmer needs to write. By the end of the year the software will be available to run under Ultrix as well as VMS, and on the Hewlett-Packard HP9000 under HP-UX, and the IBM RS/6000 under AIX Unix. The cost is around UKP1,000 per user.

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