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Technology / AI and automation


C++ house Rogue Wave Software Inc, Corvallis, Oregon, dives into the Java tsunami this week, unveiling a JFactory visual application builder and code generator for Java. It runs under Solaris, Windows95 and Windows NT, with a Mac version poised and enables developers to create stand-alone Java applications or Java applets that run within a Web browser, by dragging controls, lists and buttons from a menu. Written in C++, JFactory is built on the well-regarded Zapp Factory cross-system graphical user interface builder from Inmark Development Corp, the Mountain View, California-based company that Rogue Wave acquired last October (CI No 2,769). JFactory can test an application’s interface, generate code, compile and run the application. It comes with its own editor, but can also be used with vi or emacs. It’s priced at from $500 until March 31 – $800 thereafter. Stuff still missing from Java will be added in future revisions. Through its relationship with SunSoft Inc on C++ development tools, Rogue Wave says it’s in the fortunate position of being one of maybe 20 companies that are able to get time with JavaSoft. One cloud on the horizon could be a TCL Terminal Scripting Language-based generator for Java that Sun Microsystems Inc’s SunLabs is creating, though it’s apparently not as far advanced as JFactory. The companies were meeting as we went to press to forge a relationship. C++ shop Rogue Wave believes Java, which it describes as a three and a half GL, could be the death knell for Smalltalk as it includes the automatic garbage collector and dynamic run-time binding mechanisms still missing from C++. It will also challenge Delphi, Oracle Corp Power Objects and other C++ environments. The portability of Java object code is its key advantage, according to Rogue Wave. You don’t need a large implementing team, it says, which typically accounts for up to 30% of a project’s cost. It has other Java data access and manipulation products under way and is preparing Java components for each of its five C++ development packages. It’s re-vamping its math products for the general purpose business market for doing forecasting and analysis and adding other distributed products. Rogue Wave competes with object- relational house Persistence Software Inc in the class library market, but potential synergies in database mapping led Rogue Wave to approach Persistence about a merger last year. The offer was rebuffed by Persistence, which has acquisition and flotation plans of its own. Rogue Wave expects to do $1m on JFactory to the end of its fiscal 1996 in September. JFactory has cost it around $500,000 so far. The 180-employee company did $12m last year and is looking for revenues between $20m and $25m this year. It’s been consistently profitable for some time, but is not yet ready for an initial public offering. It says it has not yet reached the $100m market valuation it believes investment banks need to see to guarantee their $2m-odd commission and 10% share of an offering.

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