Easy to Create, Easy to Change - Easy to use!

DataEase 8 Product Strategy Explained

We will soon start presenting the new products in more detail, but as part of the run up to DataEase 8 launch, we would like to explain a little of what we have been up to, what we are thinking of the future and how DataEase will be in the future.

It is not a big secret that DataEase has struggled with moving ahead and keeping up with time. This is now about to change big time and we believe and hope that DataEase will soon be back where we think it belongs.

We have spent vast resources in trying to understand what is right and what is wrong in DataEase and we think that our work now is starting to pay off.

Read on and find out if you think we are on the right way.

We have never hid that we have not been very impressed with how DataEase for Windows panned out over the years. We didn't like it when it first came out, we didn't like it in 6.x and we don't like it much in 7.x either. We have slowly come to realise that it is two main reasons for this.

By working with DataEase 8 I have slowly managed to change my perspective (partly due to your enthusiasm! ;-) I have come to the conclusion that DFW might be a bad DataEase for DOS, but it is not a bad Access/Paradox/FoxBASE/Alpha Five etc. Possibly with one big exception, the clumsy bits added to make it DFD "compatible". I realised that I have focused (like so many other) too much on its weaknesses and almost completely forgot its many, many strengths.

The main weaknesses being:

All of the above adds up to "too much" in my book. A good product, possibly a great product has been let down by a long list of easily addressable issues. By ignoring these important issues DataEase has let itself down, but more importantly we have let our users and possible users down. When working with DG3, we used DFW as the measuring scale for pitfalls we needed to avoid, and problems we needed to address, so maybe now it is time for DG3 to pay a little back to DataEase for Windows. Now DG3 has reached such a stage that we know that we will be able to complete it the way we want and that it will make the impact that we hoped it would, but DG3 is a quantum leap from any previous DataEase version. We fair that for a lot of loyal DataEase users it might be one step to far, the way DFW was one step too far for many loyal DFD users. Now when I can look at DataEase 8 for what it is I think - "Maybe the entire world is not ready for DG3 yet...? Maybe there is more to DataEase than my limited mind can understand? Over the last 6 months I have talked to partners in Africa, Egypt, Indonesia, Asia, South America, and one thing becomes clear to me. Not everyone has yet arrived at my level of computerised sole searching. We live in a practical world after all, and practical approaches have a tendency to be more successful than theoretical ones. Yes, we already know there is a big market out there for DG3, but maybe in the near future there is an even bigger market for a DataEase 8....if it works?! Especially in emerging markets, smaller companies and organisations, single users etc. The fact that the two products complement each other luckily isn't lost on me either. Biggest problem with DataEase for Windows, is that nobody have recognised and dealt with its fundamental problems. DataEase for Windows is still wearing the same cloths and wielding the same tools as it had when it left home 20 years ago,.when the spoilt younger brother DG3 has all the new toys, gizmos and brand new tools for distribution, locking, speed etc. The resolution to rectifying this lays in PRISM 8. DG3 and DataEase is the same up to a point, an extremely important point. They are both PRISM 8! So what if we took a couple of minutes break from our big and all-encompassing DG3 project and contemplate on which of its "cloths" that will fit and benefit its bigger brother too? We used DataEase for Windows to figure out all the "traps" we needed to avoid, but now comes payment time. The DG3 project will save DataEase 8 and its users from the same traps.

DQL.

DataEase 8 Reporter

Simply DQL and Reporting DataEase style in a standalone implementation of DQL/Reporting based on the good old days but with all the trappings of a modern age. (Charts, Graphics, Fonts, colours etc.). Basically the DQL Reporting module for all future DG3 products.

Printing.

Firstly we will make a "Best practice booklet" (like the Locking one) on how printing works in DFW and that it is like locking...opposite of what your think. If people get to understand how it works, it is not as bad as one thinks and much better than one fears. That is if one stay away from DQL printing of course. That bit is worse than anyone thinks. But the best way will of course be to print via the DataEase 8 Reporter or the new HTML print methods etc.

Exporting.

Again you can use DataEase 8 Reporter, but you can also use the new WriteToFile() function. That is basically the same as the good old Output in DFD. You can format the output any way you like, and then append it to a file. Perfect for any export, even structured ones like XML etc. If you need bigger chunks of data (limit in WriteToFile() is the normal 256, simply use MemoWriteToFile().

Migrating/Conversion from earlier DataEase versions.

Is and will be a nightmare. Either put up with the pain, go to DG3 or forget about it (Use LegEasy). DataEase 8 is not an upgrade/conversion product. If you are in a lower version of DataEase than 7.x you are in for a nightmare, we will improve migration from 6.x, but it will not be without pain still, it is simply not doable with the design of DFW and the stupidity of the changes favoured/prioritised for some reason by the old DataEase development team. DataEase 8 is a re-implementation of DataEase for WIndows, and the goal is new application, new use, new customers. We have to look forward instead of backwards. We have focused on Migration for 20 years, time to move on!

Networking.

The Opportunistic "revelation" will re-invigorate DataEase in LAN on its own. Speed increases will be from doubling to 100 times faster depending on the scenario. But it is not good enough! In 8.5 we will kill locking in DataEase 8 and rewrite the update routines in 8 to correspond with DG3. i.e. Field level update and minimum locking option. The way this works is just a fix on Opportunistic. Now DataEase read/lock the record just before it is about to write it back. It then compares it with the old copy it read before you started to modify. If it has changed, you are not allowed to write back. In the new model it will simply read the record, and then write back only the changed fields. This way you will not have to worry about ever overwriting changes. The things above is all about improving existing DataEase for WIndows user experience but what about the existential limitations?

Localisation.

For me a show stopper is that I can't share my DFW apps with my co-workers. It is no point having a DataEase for WIndows system for "DataEase" because we are located in 4-5 different countries... This is why we have never bothered to develop an Invoice, license, customer system for ourselves in DFW. But what can we do about it? As part of DG3 DS (Deployment Server) we needed to deploy data as well as code. In DS you are now able to completely deploy and maintain a remote version of your application. You can sit at home doing changes, and when you are happy, you simply deploy it to the server. DS will do a diff on the DataEase database, deploy all changes, execute the changes (i.e. update/modify tables etc.) and then it will do the same with data. Changes from the server will be sent back to the master, and vice versa. For us this is a must to be able to develop and maintain advanced/live websites but what consequences will this have for DataEase 8 developers and users?

DataEase 8 Distributor and DataEase 8 Pump

(Took a long time before I got to it don't you think?)

I will leave the first for now and concentrate on the pump. At the same time as we rewrite the Locking model we are also implementing a small fix in PRISM 8. We introduce RecordID and TimeStamp+. RecordID is just a unique ID for each record created wherever it is created. Two copies of the same app will never create the same RecordID (so not Sequence from re-invented). This ID will forever identify this record, and will be used for Replicating etc. TimeStamp+ is basically a TimeStamp for last change with a coded addition for which fields have changed. It will be added to until the record have been synchronized with the Master. This way we can synchronise changes on field level. Sorry, I just realised that I didn't say what DataEase 8 Pump is! It is a tool that will keep a distributed application synchronised with a Master, this way everyone in a workgroup can have their localised copy of DataEase that run with no locking and no sharing but which will be synchronized with a central server;-) Finally a working solution to sharing data over distance with DFW!

Maintenance/Distribution.

The database pump will only be a synchroniser between copies of the same application. So what about a timeless problem in DataEase -maintenance and distribution? That too is solved by DG3. Finally we get a DataEase 8 Distributor and this together with DataEase 8 Alone and Group is what is going to revolutionise DataEase 8. This is the ultimate tool for Development Partners. With DataEase 8 we plan to make DataEase for Windows a competitive products for a wider market. If we are to succeed with that we still need to find an effective way to deploy and maintain them. As you might be aware of, this is a complete nightmare in current DFW. With DataEase 8 Distributor you will be able to: * Create your own installation packages where your app is wrapped with DataEase 8 Alone or Group. * Automatically license the package. * Remotely update the application * Create an version update for your application If you combine this with DataEase 8 Pump and the new pricing/licensing model, you suddenly finally have a model where you can sell a DataEase app for any use.

Licensing/Pricing.

The old DataEase for Windows price model is a dead duck in the water and show stopper. If we are to harbour any hope of DataEase 8 to reach a wider market than DataEase for Windows 5.x to 7.2 we need to start making it affordable. It is fine or even cheap to pay £359 if you are a developer that reap the full benefit of DataEase, but if it is just the technology that drive your phone directory, it is a little extensive!

DataEase 8 Alone

This is basically the old DataEase 8 Runtime "re-invented" but with DataEase 8 Pump/Distributor it will finally become useable. DataEase 8 Alone is only sold to DataEase Application partners, and it will only be sold in bundles. 10/100/1000 etc., and they pay for the bundles. The customers will not have no relationship to us, and all updating etc. will be the responsibility of the Application Partner. There will be no limitation in functionality, except that it will not have any multi-user capability and no design capability. On the other hand, it will work 100% with DataEase 8 Pump. In our mind 95% of DataEase 8 Users will use this version (without knowing they are using DataEase at all).

DataEase 8 Group

Aka Exec in the old days. Same as Alone, but with normal networking capabilities. We will sell packages like 1 Developer and 10 Group licenses etc., but nobody except Partners can buy Group or Alone licenses on their own, but customers that already have a license can extend it with more Alone/Group/Developer users at any time. In the new license regime, the license is just the key, and the user profile is stored with us. If you have 1 developer and 10 Group users, you can install the developer on three machines with the same user id, and the Group users on 10 machines with 10 different users. Each user can also install it as an Alone version two more times i.e. laptop and home computer. Same goes for Alone users, they can install it three times with the same user id. If any of them need to move it, they need to void (can do it online) one of the machines they have already installed it one. This machine will then not be able to run DataEase 8 Alone/Developer/Group after this. DataEase 8 Alone will be very affordable if bought in big bundles, and developers that buy 250 or more Alone or 100 or more Group bundles will get a free license on DataEase 8 Distributor for a year. As long as they keep on buying more than this each year, they will keep on getting distributor for free.

The road ahead

By focusing on Dg3 our perspective have changed and we can now look at DataEase for Windows with fresh eye. We can now see the vast potential in DataEase 8, and we are prepared to put in the investment needed to finally bring this product to its full potential. We are going to be fluid and dynamic, and our new licensing model and engine will help us in making DataEase a much broader platform than it has been so far. We have made it too difficult for successful developers to sell and deploy their apps to a wider public, and we have made it to hard for users to use DataEase as their business and cicumstanses change. This too will now change. We will open an application store on our site where anyone that has developed a DataEase 8 application can market it for free, and they can sell it for whatever they like. If anyone make a DataEase 8 that predict the weather tomorrow, and then want to sell it for 99p that is fine by us. Any application marketed and sold through our Application Store we will automatically wrap in DataEase 8 Alone and license for 33% of the price it is sold for. This means that if you want to sell your app for 99p, we will do all that for 33p ;-) This way you can market your DataEase 8 app at an affordable price, and never have to worry about licensing DataEase etc. You can also choose which version of DataEase 8 Alone you want to use. The one that looks like DataEase 8, the one that show now trace of DataEase at all, or maybe you want to use one that has your design and looks? We are entering exciting times, and this is only DataEase 8.... ....soon you will be able to start playing with DG3 too.

Published: 04/11/12 - 18:02:25 (Ulrik Jacob Hoegh-Krohn)

Last changed: 11/12/12 - 18:12:29 (Ulrik Jacob Hoegh - Krohn)

Related Articles

DataEase 7.5.0.1066 - A watershed moment!

Today we compiled version 1066 of DataEase 7.5. A memorable number, and to be honest quite a memorable version too. For the first time you can now edit and store RichtText (HTML) directly in a DataEase for Windows form. Development of both 7.5 and DG3 i...

The DQL body Layout of Despair

Do you recognise this? If you do, you are not the only one. In 7.5 our focus is on moving DataEase for Windows into the 21st Century, but instead of attacking the core product - that is called DataEase Generation 3 - we try to include new functionality th...

Locking Strategies for dummies!

Ever wondered why you have so much trouble with inconsistency and being locked out of your DataEase database? If the answer is YES, read one and discover how you can easily remedy it. Full, Basic, Opportunistic - What does this really mean? We get a lot...

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 qu...

DataEase and Windows 8

It looks like DataEase 8 and Windows 8 is to be released approximately at the same time. This is a pure coincidence and as you all know, we entered 7 long before Windows ;-). 7 was never a really good number for us, but it turned out to be pretty great fo...