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DataEase 8 Tittle Tattle

We are now gearing up towards the release of DataEase 8 later this year. As you might have suspected, software release is more of a marketing gambit these days, than a technical milestone. DataEase 8 has been released to the closed developer circle for quite some time, and even though it is still being updated towards it's proper release, it is already in production on several systems.

The reason we have kept a low profile on DataEase 8, is not that we try to hide it, it is more that we want it to become a pleasant surprise to the user base, after some sour lemons. DataEase development had become stagnant, and we don't blame you for taking whatever we say with a "pinch of salt".

We have just published a new "Product Blog" on here, where we will informally publish updates and changes to our products, as development progress. We will soon also start publishing all the technical documentation, how to, samples and early trial downloads of 8, so you will be in good hands when it comes to information and help around DataEase 8.

But before all that, we want to spend some time here on DataEase 8 itself, what we think, how it came into being, and where we see it heading.

You might not have felt it yet, but DataEase is in the middle of a big turnaround. For a long time the focus has been on bug fixing and migration without either seemingly getting anywhere. After 20 years of "Bug fixing" you just have to realise that it has to stop! When one look back, it is almost comical - How come a product that was so "unpopular" when it first arrived, have managed to stay around for such a long time...virtually unchanged? We have worked with DG3 since 2007, and in that time we have managed to "glean" quite a lot of insight into the DataEase products. What is good and what is bad, what is possible and what is impossible, what is true and what is outright lie... In an episode of Seinfeld, George tried to convince Jerry that it wasn't a lie if you believed it yourself. Jerry then pointed out that George in fact actually new the issued was not true, whereupon George responded: "I am working on it!". In many ways that is what has happened with DataEase. The response to every request have for such a long time been, from "Can you please implement the Interactive DQL editor?", via "Why can't we just start and run a DFD app in DFW?" to "Why can't printing and exporting data be as easy in DFW as it used to be in DFD?", "Sorry it is not technically possible!", that even DataEase started to believe it. After more than 20 years the product is still struggling with the same basic limitations that stopped so many people from moving forward with DataEase. Why? It won't help any of us to dwell with this, but it would help us all if we now moved beyond it. Our team was the team responsible for making DataEase 7.2, and as some of you might remember, that version was supposed to be 7.5. It became 7.2 because we had to reduce our ambition. We wanted to sort out the DQL editor, the printing, the migrating etc, but we quickly realised that we had opened a can of worms. Our initial thought was simply to scrap the functionality that was there in 7.x and implement it the way we thought it should be. What we forgot, was that 7.x was a legacy product itself by then, and if we scrapped the DFW functionality ...what then about all the stuff that had been made in DFW? Luckily we realised that it would be faster and better to start from scratch (DG3), than to go via DFW, so we focused on fixing and making 7.x as good as possible, released it as 7.2 and moved on to DG3. For the next couple of years DFW was again the responsibility of DataEase International, when we focused on DG3. When the first version of DG3 was ready for "real life" testing we started discussions again with DataEase International about the future of DataEase, which resulted in us assuming all responsibility for DataEase development and publishing. Nothing much had happen since our last release of 7.2. Some bugs had been fixed, and some new ones added. Business as usual in the DataEase camp. We wanted to create a strategy where everyone that were or had been a DataEase user, could move forward with us. The first thing we did, was to create a MLU version of DataEase 6.x, as they had a big problem with running their apps in Windows 7. The "mantra" from DataEase had been; "Upgrade to DataEase 7.2", but we all know that it wasn't that easy. A lot was changed from DataEase 6.x to 7.x which caused 6.x apps to not work as they used to. Our next "commitment" was to finally make a new version that DFD users could move to "as is" - LegEasy DOS. DataEase for Windows never was and never will be the way forward for DFD users. You have all tried, and most of you have failed! It is simply not compatible, so forget about it! DataEase 8 is made with existing DataEase for Windows users in mind. Both 5.x, 6.x and 7.x users will benefit from moving to it. As we said earlier, DataEase for Windows is it's own legacy version now, and it is important for us to preserve the investments made in the product, and to help our users move forward into the 21st century. DataEase 8 will possibly be the last version made on the DFW platform, but that doesn't mean that it is the last DataEase for Windows. We all have to appreciate that the best bit about DFW is "DataEase" i.e. the stuff that ti shares with DFD and DG3. The bad bit is the reporting, the printing and it's lacking in mobility. All of these issues, will be addressed over the coming months and years. We retain all the DFW functionality like the hopeless DQL editor and DQL reporting module, the "buggy" and incomplete OML and the proprietory and impossible FRM for compatibility reasons. One thing we have learnt from the former team, is that changing existing functionality is never a good idea. Leave it alone, and ADD new in parallel. And this is what we have done. In DataEase 8 we have focused on improving the overall user experience with removing a lot of the flashing, windows resizing etc. We have re-implemented the Windows handling model, so that an application will look "good" and professional on any screen size, and so that you can have both maximized and normalized windows open at the same time. The previous model where all windows had to be either maximized or windowed, and where all windows was in fixed size and position related to the upper left corner, was in our opinion "impossible". Yes, we have painted it too - it needed it, but get beyond that. DataEase 8 is the most changed DataEase for Windows ever, by a million miles. We have added web functionality, RichText fields, a complete Memo manipulation class, so one can now use Memo fields to store vast amounts of data, manipulate them, save it to file or read from file, present it as a Web page, build the content and print or export it. We have made functions so you can manipulate fields directly, change colour or content... We will go so far as to say that there is nothing you no longer cannot do in DataEase for WIndows. Most of the changes have been written about in our Product Blog, so have a look there and you get an idea. We realise that a lot of this won't make any sense until you start playing with DataEase 8 yourself, but we write it here for reference, so you can later look up this text and it will make sense... Some problems is no longer "feasible" to fix inside the frame of DFW, so we do it on the outside with DG3 functionality. If you want a Web Site connected to your DataEase 8 system, you develop that system in DG3. Yes, you can publish content from DataEase 8 too, but not dynamically as you can in DG3. You can now create advanced layouts etc in DataEase 8, but you will then have to be a "programmer", and it will take some doing, this is why we will also publish a standalone product called DataEase 8 Reporter, which is basically a reporting tool on DataEase 8 databases ala the way it was done in DFD, but with all the bells and whistles of the modern world. It will contain DQL, QuickReport, Charts and Graphs and graphics etc.. We now so strongly believe in DataEase for Windows again, so we will also release a DataEase 8 Distributor, which is a modern version of the old DataEase Developer. With the DataEase 8 Distributor, you will be able to distribute and maintain DataEase 8 application in several locations. We guess this is way to much information already, so we end it here and pick up the tread another day! Ahh... yes, we will publish a Trial version of DataEase 8 very soon...if you are an avid DataEase for Windows developer send us an email and we might include you on the early release list. Bye!

Published: 12/10/12 - 14:36:14 (Amanda Higgins)

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