by Mark Trescowthick - GUI Computing
The Delphi bandwagon would seem to be getting up a decent head of steam, if events over the past six weeks or so are any indication. Jim Karabatsos' Australasian tour attracted good crowds, we've seen the release of some significant components (though, interestingly, nothing from the established VBX vendors - perhaps they're all too busy making OCXs), the rush of books is finally upon us and nearly everywhere I go I'm presented with developers who just plain like what they see. And, I hear on the grapevine, Borland may announce a quarterly profit on the back of better than expected Delphi sales.
Delphi provides a real opportunity for Aussie developers and I'm proud to note that the first VCL components to be distributed by GUI are local- TOLE (a cool OLE Automation Client) from New Zealand ($49) and ABC for Delphi from Australia. ABC is a group of 25 VCL objects- sort of a VBTools for Delphi, and is available with ($238) or without ($119) source. Jim Karabatsos will be reviewing ABC in the next issue, but noises are good.
Meanwhile on the VB front, the impending release, or at least announcement, of VB4 (on September 12th, according to PC Week) with some features not many of us have seen yet. It will be interesting to see how VB4 stacks up in an increasingly-competitive market.
Finally, I think, we are seeing the feature battle enter development environments in a big way. The benefits of some serious competition for MS. They normally react pretty well to competition...
GUI has also been ringing a few changes over the past weeks. Long-time Technical Support Co-Ordinator Steven Jeavock decided to move back into the world of full-time programming, and so John Mina (who's been working in Technical Support for quite a while now) has taken over Steve's position. And, in what I consider a coup, Tony Goodhew - who I'm sure is familiar to most readers as the ex-VB Product manager for MS before he moved to Gupta a year or so ago - has finally been persuaded to make the move. Tony joins GUI on August 21st as NSW State Manager.
One interesting product I spied at the VMark conference was a pretty decent (beta) basis for a 4GL for VB - Vantage by name and available not long after VB4 ships, so they say. It was originally built, and is still best at, talking to Universe back ends, but already does SQL Server with others coming. It will be interesting to see what ships - the developers have some pretty good ideas. Also at the VMark conference were a number of HyperStar based solutions from VMark. I've been a fan of HyperStar for a couple of years, and this is still the best (or perhaps only) way to get efficiently to diverse back ends. HyperStar is heading quickly down the OLE route, but also offers it's own API and an ODBC solution as well. All done directly over TCP/IP and therefore both quick and relatively easy to deploy.
Some might suggest that I'm saying that because VMark are sponsoring the drinks this year at VBA'95 (I'm not!) but it is good to have them on board.
VBA'95 is looking great, and I hope to see you in Sydney or Melbourne. Microsoft have confirmed that Rick Hargrove, Program Manager for the Enterprise Edition, will be coming... it will be interesting to hear and see Microsoft's enterprise development solution. Gary Wisniewski is also coming down, ostensibly to talk about the Win32 API (which will be interesting) but also to talk about Internet servers, applications and ideas. Gary has been doing a lot of work in this area lately, having left Apex (and TrueGrid).
Plus, of course, there's Keith Pleas, Joe Robison and Chris Kinsman from Redmond, the irrepressible Jonathan Zuck, VMark's Peter Weyman, Jim Karabatsos and even GUI's latest acquisition Tony Goodhew.
If all that sounds like a long plug - you're right. Hope to see you there.