Enhanced DB Driver Enables Cross-Platform Development

SystemObjects Corp. (West Chester, PA) has released an enhanced database driver for its ClientObjects/400 offering. ClientObjects/400 is middleware that is intended to enable cross-platform development despite differences in underlying business-data definitions. The new driver offers compatibility not only with AS/400, but also any ODBC, OLEDB, and ADO compliant development environments.

Specifically, the enhancement fosters the use of such popular tools as Visual Basic, Centura's CTD, PowerBuilder, and Macromedia's Drumbeat 2000 for manipulating AS/400 data. It also provides direct access to 5250 data streams, which according to Olivier Play, North American General Manager for SystemObjects, differentiates ClientObjects/400 from other similar integrated-development packages.

"With our tool, it's like you have both access to data from any Microsoft product, as well as from any AS/400 objects," explains Play. Most competitive packages, Play asserts, allow either one or the other.

SystemObjects is already a proven development tool provider for Inprise, as its Delphi/400 and C++Builder/400 have been well received by the AS/400 community. Play believes, however, the new database driver creates a "more complete tool."

By taking a broad-as-possible approach, SystemObjects hopes to better position its database and server offerings within the enterprise community. Theory being, an all-in-one solution is more attractive to end users for reasons of support, compatibility, and economies-of-scale. However, this strategy is not devoid of danger. SystemObjects, if not careful, runs the risk of overextending itself.

Play is confident this will not be an issue, saying, "our beta testers have found that the ability to give an AS/400 development project to a programmer that has traditionally been involved with the PC side of things has lifted a tremendous burden off of their very valuable RPG guys."

As companies using AS/400 continue to struggle to fill RPG programming positions, a need has arisen within the midrange space for cross-platform development middleware. In fact, over the past few months, several products including California Software's Baby AS/2000 and Jacada Innovator have been released in an effort to fill the growing RPG programming void. SystemObjects' new database driver offers further proof of just how desperate the market is for RPG-programming assistance.

Positioning ClientObjects/400 as a peace-of-mind solution, Play says that with the added functionality of the new driver, "a company can change from AS/400 to another platform in the future without changing a lot of code." So, for example, if an AS/400 shop wanted to build Internet or Intranet applications, or migrate Visual Basic applications to AS/400, it could do so without a ton of recoding.

Free trial versions of the ClientObjects/400 database driver are currently available via download from the SystemObjects' Web site or on CD. A driver-enhanced ClientObjects/400 is also available as an integrated component of ActiveObjects/400, and will be offered in the same way with the next releases of C++Builder/400, and Delphi/400. ActiveObjects/400 costs $2,000 per concurrent developer.

Related Information:

  • SystemObjects Corp. (new window)