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July 7, 1987

OS/2 TO BECOME THE PLATFORM FOR MULTITASKING DATABASE APPLICATIONS?

By CBR Staff Writer

The OS/2 operating operating system for the Personal System/2 generation of micros will provide an attractive platform for multitasking database applications, panellists said at the Software Entrepreneurs’ Forum in Palo Alto, California last month, reports Microbytes Daily. A lot of people talk about running spreadsheets, word processors, and databases simultaneously, but one of the major uses of multitasking will be running multiple database applications at the same time, according to Wayne Erickson, developer of R:Base and chairman of Microrim. In a multitasking environment such as OS/2, it will be possible to perform many time-consuming database operations, such as report generating and sorting, in background, said Erickson. Miriam Liskin, a Bay Area dBase consultant and columnist, speculated that the next version of dBase will run only on OS/2 and will support multitasking, arrays, user-developed functions, and increased math capabilities. Asked about his opinion on IBM’s plans for SQL as part of enhanced OS/2, Erickson said that IBM is basically talking about a PC version of DB2, IBM’s mainframe relational database program. SQL is typically embedded in another programming language, since it does not include conditional processing, said Erickson. He added that SQL is not easy to use and will be hidden from the end-user, but will be integrated into many new database products. The panel discussion also focussed on the use of databases in a programming environment. Erickson cited Microrim’s Program Interface as a method for integrating database file-handling and report capabilities into a high-level application written in Microsoft Pascal, C, or Fortran. Ms Liskin stated that programming in a database application language can greatly reduce development time. She added that there is a lot of room in vertical markets for applications developed in a database programming language. A third speaker at the seminar was Bob Davies, founder of SBT of Sausalito, California, which develops accounting applications in the dBase programming language and includes the source code as part of the package. As an example of success in vertical markets, SBT started using dBase four years ago to develop a cost-control application for a Bechtel nuclear power plant project. Bechtel’s data processing department had estimated that nine months and $60,000 would be required to develop the application on a mainframe. SBT developed the application in three weeks at a cost of $12,000, according to Davies.

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