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July 28, 1994

SYNON CLAIMS MAJOR ADVANCE IN DEVELOPMENT TOOLS WITH LAUNCH OF OBSYDIAN; EXISTING CUSTOMERS CAN UPGRADE

By CBR Staff Writer

Larkspur, California-based Synon Corp has launched what it is claiming is a major breakthrough in application development tool-sets, Obsydian, a system-independent synthesis of information engineering and object orientation. Its launch into 60 beta test sites worldwide by July 25 will mark a significant shift out of Synon’s traditional market, AS/400 users, of which it has 5,000 worldwide using the Synon/2E tool-set. Synon says current Synon/2E users will be given the opportunity to shift to Obsydian but it says it has no intention of abandoning Synon/2E. Indeed, it is planning an autumn launch of a client-server generator with a Windowsat it calls a meta model that will support the incorporation of new object types and other new technologies as they become available – enabling it to conform to Object Management Group standards as they emerge. Obsydian also allows for flexible applications partitioning between multi-vendor systems, rather in the manner of Fn sees as the key factor in achieving softw Object EngineeringSynon claims it is easy to learn. Synon dubs it application development Object Engineering; a combination of model-based business abstraction of information engineering and object orientation’s reusability and inheritance features. Synon claims it delivers an open design environment with automatic code generation. Bourne claimed the product would get over current problems of limited integration limited capacity to reuse and poorly defined generation. Among the features Obsydian has are expandable class library of reusable business and design objects; flexible application partioning enabling applications to be split between different computing environments; and the capability to adapt to new technologies as and when they appear. The object capabilities allow for a high level of software reuse, which Synon sees as the key factor in achieving software development productivity gains. It is using what it calls a meta model that will support the incorporation of new object types and other new technologies as they become available – enabling it to conform to Object Management Group standards as they emerge. Obsydian also allows for flexible applications partitioning between multi-vendor systems, rather in the manner of Forte Software Inc. At the moment it runs under OS/400, AIX, HP-UX, Windows 3.1 and is planned to run Windows NT. Obsydian is fully personal computer based, running on Windows 3.1. It generates C++, C and RPG. Database access and support offered are for DB2/400 and Oracle with Sybase and Informix, Open Data Base Connectivity and EDA/SQL planned to be operational by this time next year. It can be used on something as small as an 80386. It needs 8Mb memory and 10Mb of free hard disk space. Synon was established in the UK in 1983; it moved to its Larkspur headquarters about three years ago when US venture capitalists made that a condition of putting up cash. Obsydian, however, has been developed over the last two and a half years in the UK. Until now, the company concentrated on its Synon/2E software engineering tool, primarily for the AS/400, but more recently supplemented it with a Unix code generator as Synon/Open, which Hewlett-Packard Co has been using as part of its effort to plunder the AS/400 market. Synon has licensed its 2E tools to 5,000 customers, and as around one fifth of these have used it to develop applications for resale, Synon claims there are 30,000 AS/400 systems running its code. The company says it won’t give up on 2E, and has upgrades in the pipeline, but nevertheless expects its customers gradually to migrate over to Obsydian, and wants some new users as well. It especially wants 2E application developers to convert existing applications over, a task it claims is a simple one. A typical user’s licence, for six users, will cost around ?37,000 but smaller packages are available, as are additional generators. Licences are based on the number of developers and split into three areas: development environ ment, class libraries and code generators. A typical entry-level configurati

on will cost ?25,000 in the UK. Support will comes in four tiers; pay as you go, or three levels of pre-paid support. It will launch on September 15 and will be sold through Synon’s current channels. The firm identified as its competitors proprietary language vendors such as Uniabase vendors, as well as Forte.

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