Beyond Y2K: the rebirth of Cobol

Beyond Y2K: the rebirth of Cobol

Beyond Y2K: the rebirth of Cobol

by Matthew JC. Powell

Think Cobol, and most people think legacy apps, huge enterprise installations, and - last but far from least - the ominous millennium problem. Stories abound of Cobol developers being called out of retirement in droves to try and fix decades-old systems which are about to be destroyed in just under 700 days by their inability to handle four-digit dates.

According to Acucobol, however, Cobol is also the most powerful development environment for enterprise applications available today.

Acucobol-GT is the company's latest offering. Its main strength is a high degree of platform independence, meaning that code can be imported from a variety of sources and targeted to over 600 platforms including DOS, Windows and many flavours of Unix. Since Acucobol is year 2000-compliant, this makes it an ideal tool for updating legacy code from a variety of sources. Acucobol also includes tools for transitioning legacy Cobol to 4GL and a range of RDBMSs.

As well as these updating and transitioning functions, Acucobol is enabled for client/server applications and has extensions allowing developers to build graphical user interfacesinto their code.

Acucobol hopes that, once developers get a feel for these extras on top of the Cobol with which they are familiar, Cobol will become their development tool of choice.

Robyn Cowie, of Acucobol distributor Soft Centre, said: "Once you've gone to all the trouble to update all that code, why would you want to code it all again using something else?"

Acucobol delivers context-sensitive help, multithreading and multiprocessor support, transaction management, 64-bit architecture support, multi-byte character support (for Asian languages) and numerous other enhancements. Cobol may have been dragged out of the closet kicking and screaming for the last few years of this century, but Acucobol hopes it has some life left for the next one.

For more information contact:

Soft Centre

Tel (03) 9654 1977

Fax (03) 9650 3429

Verity announces on-demand HTML Conversion APIby Marc Ferranti and Matthew JC. PowellNEW YORK - Verity has announced the release of KeyView HTML Export, an application programming interface (API) toolkit designed to convert various types of files into hypertext markup language (HTML) for publication on the World Wide Web or intranets.

Software developers can integrate KeyView into software such as document management packages, groupware and e-mail collaborative software, to let end users convert their application files into HTML documents. These can be stores or published on the Web, according to Verity.

The API toolkit also gives developers control over the conversion process, using templates that assure the HTML document is rendered to fit corporate standards, the company said.

Robert Miller, general manager of the KeyView Business Unit said, "the high speed conversion provides the on-demand performance required by developers, eliminating the need to synchronise files between the original and a remote HTML version."

A variety of third-party developers, including Xerox, Odyssey and InfoSquare, have already given the toolkit a vote of support by licensing it for integration into their products. Xerox will incorporate KeyView into its DocuShare Web-based document management product, to be launched in February.

KeyView HTML Export is based on the existing KeyView file filtering, conversion and viewing technology, which is already incorporated into many popular applications including Lotus SmartSuite and Eudora Pro.

KeyView HTML Export technology is available immediately to developers on a royalty basis for Microsoft's Windows NT. By the end of the month, it will also be available on the Sun Microsystems Solaris, Hewlett-Packard HP/UX, IBM AIX, Silicon Graphics IRIX and Digital Alpha Unix operating systems. Verity can be reached on the Web at Coda seeks partnersby Matthew JC. PowellFinancial software giant Coda is seeking to fill a few vacant spots on its dance card with Australian resellers. However, rather than trying to push its software through every reseller it can find, Coda says it is looking for appropriate niche players with whom it can form "true partnerships".

As an example of this, Coda has recently signed a deal with Data Freight, a New Zealand-based specialist in freight-forwarding software, that will see Coda's financial accounting package incorporated into the next generation of Data Freight 2000. The agreement also allows Data Freight to resell Coda-Financials as a stand-alone product.

It will also mean that Data Freight can concentrate on its core competency, upgrading the freight handling and forwarding components of its software, and leaving the financial aspects to an established product. Coda-Financials is compliant with multiple currency standards, which means it is equipped to handle Europe's transition to the Euro over the next few years. The time it would have taken for Data Freight to develop its own Euro-compliant software would have been considerable, but the deal with Coda immediately opens it to the European market.

As well as niches like this, Coda is seeking to break new territory, especially South Australia and Western Australia. During the development phase of these partnerships, Coda is willing to provide one of its staff to work on-site as part of the partner's staff, to ensure a high degree of product knowledge and expertise. Coda may also share funding for sales representatives during the development phase.

Neil Currie, managing director of Coda Australia/New Zealand, told Reseller News that the push for channel partners was the first phase of a growth plan that he would be announcing early in 1998. For more information, contact Pam Carroll of Coda on (02) 9411 8500 or e-mail business partners roll out new softwareby Nancy WeilAlthough Lotus held centre stage at its annual Lotusphere user conference, company business partners and third-party vendors also announced a wealth of new products with an emphasis on the World Wide Web, information management and automation.

Here are the general areas in which announce-ments were made, together with details on specific companies' new or upgraded software applications which are designed to support Lotus products:


ErgoTech said its Sales Suite, the first modular sales automation package for Lotus Notes/Domino, combines contact management with ACT for Notes. ErgoTech said Companies using Sales Suite can incrementally add functions as needed, so the system can be easy to use in the beginning and grow more complex as salespeople adapt to using it. ErgoTech can be reached at www.ergo-tech.comMFJ International's OverQuota Release 4.6 incorporates transaction processing, sales and opportunity analysis, knowledge management and customer service into sales automation software. MFJ can be reached at www.overquota.comSynergistics has bought out Prevail 4.6 for IBM's AS/400 server platform. The software includes customer management, scheduling and forecasting. Synergistics can be reached at www.syner.comManagementDPI Services released QMX Software 4.6, a suite of workflow applications that help organisations reach and maintain compliance to the ISO 14000 series of environmental management standards. DPI can be reached at www.qmx.comQuality Decision Management announced Business Bureau for Lotus Notes and Domino 4.6, which facilitates customer communication and management on the Web. Quality Decision Management can be reached at www.qdm.comInfinium Software introduced e-business Extensions which are enhancements to the company's financial, human resources materials management and process manufacturing software, to run with Domino for the AS/400. Infinium can be reached at www.infinium.comInterliant announced OnSight, a control system for its hosting services that lets customers manage Notes applications, networks and Domino Web sites. Interliant can be reached at www.interliant.comThe Sabre Group introduced Travel Planner for Lotus Notes. The software lets business travellers manage travel plans themselves - booking tickets and reservations from their desktop computers. The Sabre Group can be reached at www.sabre.comĀ„ ITM Associates released Fusion 4.0 for Notes, which manages large amounts of information and conducts searches on large collections of data. ITM can be reached at www.itmassociates.comProtectionIntegralis announced it will soon ship MIMESweeper - content-based protection software - which protects Lotus Domino users from viruses, junk e-mail, confidentiality breaches and offensive material sent through e-mail and databases. It also blocks objectionable Internet sites. Integralis can be reached at www.mimesweeper.comReplicationCasahl Technology released the latest version of Replic-Action, which allows customers creating applications on groupwares the infrastructures to integrate with data from corporate and legacy systems. Casahl can be reached at www.casahl.comSystems administrationInfoImage released Essential Tools Release 4.3 systems administration software that transfers users' mail files amongservers and over domains with a mouse click. The company also announced groupware applications, including software designed to run on IBM's AS/400 platform. InfoImage can be reached at www.infoimage.comWeb-based applicationsGWI Software said it is shipping Help! for the Web for Domino 2.0, which allows Web-based customer service and help-desk functions. GWI can be reached at www.gwisoft.comBright Ideas Software released SUGAR, which is a Lotus Notes application that stores and manages Web-enabled applications on a Domino server. Bright Ideas can be reached at www.bright-ideas.comCamelback Consulting announced its NAB MAN 2.0, which manages user access to Lotus Domino applications through the Web, using a standard browser. Camelback can be reached at www.camelback.comLante launched a new version of Net Customer for Domino, which allows businessesto provide customers with various services including order information and transactionsover the Internet. Lante can be reached at www.lante.comInternational Messaging Associates (IMA) announced the latest version of its Internet Exchange for cc:Mail and Notes. The routing software integrates proprietary Lotus e-mail and groupware with Internet protocol for sending e-mail and files.


Drumbeat makes building Web apps elementalby James NiccolaiPALM SPRINGS - Elemental Software unveiled the latest version of its Drumbeat Web authoring software at Web Tech-Ed last week, a product it claims will enable "mere mortals" to build interactive, data-driven Web sites for intranets and the Internet.

Users of Drumbeat 2.0 choose elements they want included in a Web page from a point-and-click list that includes ActiveX controls, Java applets, Component Object Model (COM) objects, JavaScript functions and Dynamic Hyper-Text Markup Language (DHTML) tags. The elements are dragged onto the page and Drumbeat generates the corresponding HTML tags and script, eliminating the need to write code, said Ed Forum, the company's vice president of products and a co-founder.

"None of our customers can write code," Forum said. "They might know a little bit about technology, but they can't write code - either that or they don't like to."

Drumbeat 2.0 is targeted at the estimated 2.7 million Web professionals who are not programmers, the company said. That group includes Web authors, departmental personnel, desktop publishers, as well as value-added providers like small systems integrators and value-added resellers.

Drumbeat also has a Data-Driven PageSets feature that allows users to build database applications to create pages from Microsoft's Internet Information Server or Netscape's Information Management Servers. Used in conjunction with Microsoft's ActiveServer, the professional edition of the product can be used to build Web pages that update themselves dynamically as changes are made in the back-end database, Forum said.

A SmartPages feature lets users take advantage of the latest features in Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser without having to worry about compatibility with any other type of browser, Forum said. A one-button publishing feature allows the sites to be deployed to Microsoft, Netscape and Apache servers without use of File Transfer Protocol".

A preview edition of Drumbeat is available for free download from the company's Web site at Drumbeat 2.0 is available now for $US399. Drumbeat Professional Edition is expected to be available in March for $US799.

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