If Cardinal Technologies has it right technically with its new application development product, Jade, it has a very real opportunity to return to the halcyon days of Linc, on which much of the group’s fortunes were founded.
At last week’s rollout in Christchurch, Gartner Group analyst Brent Williams, in a video conference, described the fastest growing segment of the application tools development market as the non-mainframe enterprise area, where mainframe robustness with good GUIs is provided at reasonable cost. A Gartner graph positions non-mainframe enterprise tools between departmental and “heavy metal” enterprise tools. Current tools that fit that description include Forte and Dynasty. Williams stopped short of endorsing Jade but did so implicitly by its market positioning.
Cardinal boss Gil Simpson describes Jade as an integrated product that enables programmers to build enterprise-wide computing systems that can be reliably run in a distributed PC environment.
It combines object-oriented and client-server technologies in a way that enables the variable allocation of processing tasks across cooperating hardware resources. Jade applications consist of small self-contained components that can be easily regrouped and distributed in a way that is consistent with changes to the scale and location of the computing resources.
Amid the hype of such product rollouts, it is not always easy to get a fix on some of the technical details. @IDG subsequently posed a number of questions to Cardinal. Here they are with the answers.
Does Jade support ODBC interfaces as well as native RDBMS interfaces? What databases are supported?
Jade has an ODBC interface allowing the use of tools that use that standard to access Jade application data. All Jade application data and application parameters are held in the Jade OO repository and there is thus no need for other databases. Jade is extremely open, as indicated by Gartner, and this allows the user to have applications that co-exist with other software.
What are the application partitioning capabilities?
Jade implements a “nodal” approach to client-server which allows any Jade method (code unit) to run on either the client or the server. In this release the developer indicates where the code is to execute. This can be altered at any time as application size and other requirements change.
What application server operating systems are supported--Unix, NT? Can Jade generate C or C++ which can be compiled on both the client and the server?
This release is available under both NT and Win95, with NT the requirement for servers. Unix is the next platform to be addressed as a server node. Jade is interpretive at present and does not generate C or C++ code. An evaluation of generating .exe files has been made and this can be added to the product at a later stage.
What plans are there to support the Web? Will Jade support browsers as a deployment platform?
A prototype using Jade connected to the Internet and processing transactions initiated on the Web has been built and is under review. This capability will be released as part of the next major product release. Using a Web browser as the front end to a Jade application will be supported in a later release.
What plans are there to support complex data types?
We believe we already do.
What is the language behind Jade and how proprietary is it?
Jade application development is done in the Jade language. It is a strongly typed OO language. Syntax is similar to Pascal. It should be noted that Jade is itself developed in its own language, which ensures both consistency and robustness.
Will you support standards such as Microsoft’s OCX, Active X and Corba?
Jade supports the use of OCX’s and Ole 11, and as part of its on-going commitment to openness, these standards and open capabilities will be extended. Corba is not currently supported but is under investigation.
What plans are there to support mobile and occasionally connected clients?
Jade is not cognisant of how or where a device is connected.