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November 2, 1995


By CBR Staff Writer

As it promised when it bought Digitalk Inc (CI No 2,669), ParcPlace-Digitalk Inc, Sunnyvale, California, is shipping the latest version of its client-server tool for building system-independent object-oriented applications, VisualWorks 2.5. It now supports Digital Unix 3.2 and Windows NT 3.5 as well as SunOS 4.1.4, Solaris 2.4, HP-UX 9.0.5 and 10.0.1, and RS/6000 under AIX 3.2.5 and 4.1.X. ParcPlace is exploring adding support for additional Unixes, according to Nick Copping, vice-president of strategic relationships, but declined to say which ones or when. The company also plans to integrate a Web application development and deployment system into VisualWorks 2.5’s Windows application. It will be enabled for Netscape and Mosaic, and is slated for release later this quarter. Version 2.5 offers connections with DB2 and Sybase on Power Mac and Windows NT. The release supports the current draft of the ANSI standard for Smalltalk, which can be used across many systems without code recompilation. One new feature enables users to break Smalltalk applications into components that use only Kilobytes of disk and memory. Additionally, users may create a repository of application components for any server Smalltalk supports, which can in turn be accessed by any client it supports. It also contains Unicode, with which users can develop national user interfaces for applications and support international standards. The company says it still intends to merge some Digitalk technologies into Smalltalk, including the Parts workbench and visual wiring programme, Team/V development, Smalltalk link libraries, Windows95 compliance and legacy integration (CI No 2,725). The company also pledges to deliver the upgraded version of VSE 3.1 in December; this will contain Object Linking & Embedding support. The VisualWorks 2.5 upgrade for existing customers with support contracts costs $400, and $800 for non-service customers. New customers will pay $5,000 for Unix systems and $3,000 for iAPX-86-based and Macintosh boxes. Meanwhile, officials explained away ParcPlace’s first quarter loss of $1.3m, against a profit of $1.0m last year, with turnover down 14.3% to $7.5m, as a pause in customer buying due to the Digitalk acquisition.

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