Local product takes on Microsoft

An Auckland teenager is getting praise from his first client and encouragement from industry heads and Microsoft for a file version control tool he developed.

An Auckland teenager is getting praise from his first client and encouragement from industry heads and Microsoft for a file version control tool he developed.

Andrew Thomas’s Global Source 2002 keeps track of revisions to files. The product, which the 19-year-old software developer created in his spare time, is aimed at software developers, architects, lawyers and others who regularly store multiple versions of documents.

Soft Tech, Thomas’s first customer — and current employer — says the system is faster than its Microsoft equivalent, SourceSafe, and web-enabled.

Soft Tech has used Global Source 2002 for six months to store its Delphi source code and analyse documents. It previously used SourceSafe, but the product could not be used over the web, and other equivalent products, Thomas says, were too expensive.

Soft Tech product development manager John Wilson says the firm also found the Microsoft product, with a third-party “bolt-on” to allow web enablement, was too slow.

“We have a partner in France and [its slowness] was killing our software development.” Wilson says other people use the Microsoft product adequately, “but we could not get it to perform”.

Thomas says Global Source should excite IT managers at $US200 a user, and because it works through the internet, it eases the way for remote workers. He says he is still a fan of Microsoft. “They write good development tools,” he says.

He also hopes Microsoft will approach him and offer to buy it. “Isn’t that what everyone wants?”

Thomas, who won the NZ Bright Sparks 1999 and New Zealand PC Networking 2000 awards, has formed his own company, Inobyte, with his father, Team New Zealand director Tony Thomas, to sell the software.

Microsoft New Zealand says it hasn’t yet reviewed Global Source 2002, but its .Net enterprise and tools manager, Tony Ward, said in a statement that Microsoft takes a keen interest in software developments. He wishes Thomas “every success”, but notes that it will be up to the local market to evaluate Global Source against Microsoft offerings.

NZ Software Association president Rollo Gillespie hasn’t heard of Inobyte, but beats the local drum, saying software made here is at least the equal of that produced in the US and Europe.

However, Gillespie acknowledges that while Inobyte may be offering an extremely good software tool, he says Microsoft tends to dominate its target markets by throwing huge resources at them and producing “pretty good” products.

The software was developed in Borland Delphi 6 and uses 448-bit encryption and TCP/IP and third-party compression tools for transmission.

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