The Linc development environment created by Sir Gil Simpson in Christchurch more than 20 years ago and then sold to Unisys is being recreated for the web world.
EAE, as it’s now known (for enterprise application environment), will have web services capabilities grafted on to it over the next 18 months. And a Linux version is also on the cards — Unisys will make a decision on a Linux port in the “next few months”.
Customers have been getting an EAE update at events in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Invercargill from the head of the Sydney lab responsible for the platform’s ongoing development. LNV Samy, who has headed the facility for two years, says EAE remains a central piece of Unisys technology, as the basis for much of the company’s own software and as the development environment for 2500 customers worldwide.
Among them is meat processor Alliance Group, whose IT manager, Kevin McCrone (pictured), was instrumental in choosing Linc in the early 1980s. McCrone, who was at Samy’s Invercargill presentation, says all the company’s business applications are written in EAE.
As Unisys adds web services functionality, McCrone can see the potential for extending Alliance’s web-based activities.
“At the moment farmers can access financial details of their stock kill via the web,” says McCrone, a service which about 1000 of the company’s suppliers use. He wants to open up the company’s intranet via further browser-based applications.
Samy says his lab is about a year into transforming EAE’s development environment from a proprietary framework to, first, Microsoft’s Visual Studio.Net (in about 18 months), followed by J2EE.
“That will make it more productive and easier to use,” Samy says. “From within ClearPath [Unisys servers which are EAE’s most popular platform] you’ll be able to mix and match external components.”
EAE’s second-most common platform is Windows NT. Alliance runs both, and McCrone is also interested in the possibility of running it on Linux.
Samy says a Linux decision depends on how the company perceives enterprise demand for the open source operating system.
“We need to consider what the customer base is looking for,” he says, as well as considering issues such as scalability.