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October 30, 2009

3000 tools lose one, gain another UK entry

Birth and death are both parts of the 3000's ecosystem, even on the sixth anniversary of the system's World Wide Wake. The Wake was concocted by Alan Yeo of the UK-based company ScreenJet in 2003, a worldwide celebration in October of that year to mark the end of the 3000's manufacture. A half-dozen years after dozens of meetings lifted a glass to the 3000's HP lifespan, Yeo has introduced a new product for 3000 sites, while another UK company has closed its book on its programmer's environment.

First, the obituary. Whisper Technologies ended its 18-year run as a supplier of programmer tools, according to the company's founder Graham Wooley. (Tip of the hat to Duane Percox of QSS, whose development labs used Whisper's products.) The UK's Whisper built and promoted the Programmer Studio PC-based toolset, selling it as a development environment which understood exchanges with the 3000 but could be used to create programs under Windows. Robelle responded promptly with a Windows version of Qedit, and the 3000 ecosystem had a lively competition for programming tools for more than five years.

The birth was first announced at this fall's e3000 Community Meet. Yeo introduced EZ View, a tool for migrating the 3000's VPlus forms to industry-standard XML forms. As Yeo suggests in the video above, EZ View promotes a no-changes transformation of 3000 app hosting. Whatever the behavior of your 3000 apps today for the user base, EZ View will copy it faithfully to another environment so no retraining is required. At the same time, the door to .NET Windows or anything which XML supports can be opened.

At QSS, where the ghostscript/ghostpdl porting project is underway, Percox passed on this report from Wooley, who founded Whisper back in the era when the 3000's OS was called MPE XL. Wooley told Percox:

Unfortunately Whisper Technology is no more.  As the developer, Greg Sharp had looked after Whisper and Programmer Studio by himself for the last three years, but he has now moved on to other things and the company has now closed.

Meanwhile, EZ View is opening possibilities for companies who want to leave VPlus behind. While it was a good screen development tool for 3000 integration, VPlus was long ago passed by Visual Basic, and then Microsoft's Visual Studio in flexibility and industry support.

But the key to ScreenJet's new product lies in its ability to copy what the 3000 did. Users operate an app that's been through the EZ View transfer in the same way they've been using a 3000 app. The devotion to the old look and feel is important to minimize retraining. It also lets a 3000 shop test a migration step while the app remains on the 3000.

“We have the only VPlus migration product that runs on the 3000 as well," Yeo said. "You can switch to our API and the XML forms files.”

09:26 AM in Migration, Newsmakers | Permalink

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