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January 16, 1997updated 05 Sep 2016 12:18pm


By CBR Staff Writer

Denver, Colorado-based Unidata Inc will be entering the object- relational database throng later this year, and has just announced it is shipping a new toolkit for building transactional Web applications, RedBack. The company is developing an object- relational hybrid, code-named Falcon, with the help of O2 Technology Inc of Palo Alto, California. According to Unidata, Falcon will be the first object-relational database to be Object Database Management Group -compliant, so will make use of an ODMG-standard querying language and standard bindings. This, says Unidata, will save businesses from vendor lock-in likely to be experienced by users of Informix Software Inc’s Universal Server or Oracle Corp’s forthcoming Oracle8. Unidata is working hard to shed its Pick associations: we’re not a Pick database company, we’re a Unix database company it insists, despite years of its database being bracketed as a Pick on Unix implementation. The company started shipping an application development toolset for building transactional applications for the Web – RedBack – in the last week of December 1996, having inherited the development aspect of the toolset, RedBack Developer, when it bought System Builder Pty Ltd of Sydney, Australia in 1995 (CI No 2,823). The developer portion includes a graphical user interface painter – developers are said to be able to create a basic application without touching any code – as well as the tools to link the front-end into the defined business logic. Unidata created the server side itself – including RedBack Gateway, RedBack Application Server and RedBack Repository. The Gateway is a middleware component that maintains and schedules requests between a standard Web server and the Application Server. Unidata says the Gateway enables load-sharing between multiple Application Servers, controls the number of users, and also adds the security benefits associated with separating the Web server and Application Servers physically. The Gateway comes with one default Webshare Connect, which provides access to the Application Server for about 30 concurrent users, and further Connects can be added at a price dependent on configuration. The Application Server controls the access of server-side objects and databases: currently Vmark Software Inc’s uniVerse and Unidata’s own nested database, with other relational databases to be added soon, as well as support for Falcon once it’s ready. The Application Server runs on most major Unix platforms, with Windows to follow. The RedBack Repository stores Web pages and objects to enable their re-use, and the contents of the repository can be maintained using RedBack Developer. A developer kit for value-added resellers costs $4,000, and users who want to make their own changes to Redback can take Developer for $1,000. End users should expect to pay $4,000 to $10,000 for the server side. UniData says it does not expect revenue from RedBack to dwarf its database products, but sees it as a way of offering its resellers a way of writing transactional applications accessible from any Java-enabled browser with multiple database support – though the company hopes businesses will choose to use its database and Falcon when it is ready.

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