A new generation of user interface tools for database products that will take advantage of the facilities of graphics workstations are to be developed in a joint agreement between Sun Microsystems Inc, Mountain View, and Relational Technology Inc, Alameda, California. As reported briefly (CI No 826) the tools will provide a window-based user interface allowing access to central databases without the need to use a query language, and will be licensed to other hardware manufacturers and database vendors in the hope of establishing an industry standard. The product will be built on top of X Window and an enhanced version of Sun’s existing SunSimplify product, which was originally developed for use with the Unify database, and they will operate in conjunction with the networking and distributed data management connectivity tools underlying Relational Technology’s Ingres/Star database products. Versions operating with the Ingres database will be offered both under Sun/Unix and DEC VAX/VMS environments, with Relational distributing both versions, while Sun will have rights to distribute the Unix version only, and in addition to Ingres will be licensing it for different database products in the future – it is claimed that this will be easily achieved as the interface will generate SQL commands. Versions for multiple operating environments will also be developed and licensed at a later date. Relational’s Randy Livingston said that with the growing convergence of Unix workstations, 80386-based machines such as the PS/2, and Apple Macintoshes, all using bit-mapped graphics and a mouse, demand for this type of interface was growing. The first product from the agreement is expected to become available in mid-1988.