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June 17, 1990


By CBR Staff Writer

The Unique fourth generation language from Unique A/S has been tied to Norsk Data’s proprietary Sintran operating system for nigh-on 10 years now. After doing this stretch inside, the Sandes, Norway-based software outfit has decided it is time to scale the walls to open systems territory and is introducing a version of its application generator and report writer for Unix, MS-DOS, OS/2 and VMS, to be shown at this week’s software tools exhibition at London’s Wembley Exhibition Centre. Unique version III also runs under X Window, a beta version is now testing, and is scheduled for a September launch. It comes with an easy-to-use interface and its own database, but like the rival Uniface, can mix and match data from all the major databases, including Oracle, Ingres, Informix and Sybase – you just buy the library, or libraries that are required. Unique missed being included in Butler Bloor’s influential report on generators and databases because it was still under development. However Unique’s UK managing director Mark Taylor reckons that Unique III can do all that Uniface can do – and more – with advanced report and data model writers included in the new version. Unique is jumping into what is currently a cut-throat part of the industry, widely predicted to be facing a shake-out from the looming prospect of databases and generators becoming commodity software items. However the Norwegian is confident that Unique can compete on the back of its strong Norsk Data user base – it reckons to have 2,000 licensees worldwide, and has already converted the software to IBM’s RS/6000, a job it claims took just a day to complete. It has taken two years to re-write Unique in C, which is primarily aimed at small-to-medium sized businesses and other organisations, and the company now has offices in the UK, West Germany, Sweden and Denmark in addition to its Norwegian headquarters, employing around 100 staff in total. A Unique III development environment on an RS/6000 system with 30 users will cost around UKP30,000, a run-time version for the same systems would be UKP5,000. Unique UK did UKP420,000 last year.

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