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April 1, 1997updated 05 Sep 2016 12:57pm

SOFTLAB SHOWS REPOSITORY COLORS

By CBR Staff Writer

German CASE vendor Softlab GmbH has finally unwrapped the Enabler object repository that its partners such as Select Software Tools Inc have been beating on about for weeks now. With the CASE market in full decline and Softlab’s Maestro II product a dwindling source of revenue, the 26-year-old company acquired by BMW Inc back in 1992, is trying to re-invent itself as an object-oriented repository company. The game plans effectively means keeping its Maestro development tools ticking over for those who want to use them to maintain legacy systems, and skimming off the repository and porting it to modern mass-market platforms. Originally code-named Partitur, Softlab’s aim is to get Enabler deployed in production Unix and NT systems as a new class of business information management tool, and not simply an application and API store. It believes that Lexington, Massachusetts-based Software Emancipation Technology Inc is currently driving this market. Softlab’s aim is to enable users and developers to see the same versions of the same information at the same time, and to change the status of collections of information at the same time. Enabler is claimed to provide object, version, configuration and process management, plus file access and tools integration. It has user access, interface and repository services layers. Typically, Softlab says, these mysterious repositories which get some sections of the industry so worked up, are used only in development and prototype situations. The basic Enabler source-code control technology is currently being fitted with a whole bunch of graphical front-end utilities and integrated with Microsoft Corp’s Visual Studio 97 developer suite. Visual Enabler will ship later this year. Softlab likes to think of itself as the source code management solution for Visual Studio. As well as Select Software, Softlab claims Information Builders, Cincom Systems and the German CinMark Inc application development joint venture of Vmark Software Inc and CinCom as Enabler partners. IBI’s building its new Cactus product on top of Enabler. Softlab’s clinging to Gartner Group numbers which claims the repository market will be worth $100m this year. Softlab claims the Platinum Technologies R&O and ViaSoft repositories are proprietary datastores for database and tools solutions. It would like to count the major repository companies such as Unisys, Oracle and Microsoft as its competition. It reckons they are keeping low profiles or are in the market with incomplete solutions. Softlab’s business is split 50-50 between product sales and its services business. It’s US business is currently insignificant which is why it brought in John Kopcke as CTO from US OLAP company Pilot Software Corp to give it a face. Enabler is now available for NT, AIX and HP-UX servers; Windows and NT clients. Softlab has no direct sales presence in the US and is peddling Enabler to ISVs and large-end users at from $3,500 per seat. Softlab has 856 staff, 30 in the US. The privately-held company promises to disclose financial details in a few weeks’ time – Der Spiegel magazine reported Softlab made a loss on its 1995 $121m revenue, though Softlab denies it – remember, we’re use SAP R/3, it quips.

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