Simplicty and flexibility!

Impressionism, expressionism or conservatism?

We have obviously spend a lot of time disecting both DFD and DFW over the last years when we worked on DG3 and DataEase 8. Our "balanced" view is that DFD is not as good as people like to believe (especially not in 2012 ;-) and that DFW is not as bad as people want to believe. The challenge is that the good bits in DFD outshine the bad bits when the bad bits in DFW overshadow the good to brilliant bits.

The biggest problem for DFW is that it is really bad at what DFD is really good at - exporting and printing (predictably), blinking and flickering, unmanageable and confusing windows/forms handling, a hopeless, a "dum" DQL editor with matching body/printing and on top of all this it has been burdened with a lot of stupid bugs.

We cannot answer or explain why this has become like this or why it has stayed like this for almost 20 years as the people responsible are no longer part of DataEase but what we can will and have done is to change it now. We believe that people think that because DFW 5.x, 6.x, 7.x and 8.x is all built over the same framework that it has to stay like this forever and that it can never change. Wrong! It has already changed but so far most people are not aware of it. DG3 is not built on DFW and every bit of code in it is new. That is with a happy exception of PRISM 8 (which it also share with DataEase 8). We say lucky because PRISM is basically just good old DFD, and PRISM 8 is just DFD on steroids. All the "bad" bits in DFW is safely tucked away in the GUI and none of that is moved forward in DG3. So what about DataEase 8? DataEase 8 is the next DFW but it is dramatically changed and improved. Since the release of Express in 1991 only one function has been added to DataEase and that is concat() which is basically a nested Jointext(). So far we have added 38 new functions to PRISM 8 which has increased the number of functions with a wapping 60%! When you bring into account that the majority of existing functions are Mathematical and Trigonometric which next to nobody use you realise that 8 is very different from previous DataEase for Windows versions. But what about exporting/printing/procedures etc? Sorry. In standard DataEase 8 this is the same as before and the reason is simple. Backwards compatibility and time. After 20 years DFW is a legacy product in its own right and we can't simply change how it prints and exports. (we have added the functions WriteToFile() MemoWriteToFile(), MemoReadFromFile(), PrintMemo() and PrintHTML() to give users an alternative though...). So what about improving it but keeping it compatible? Now we are getting to the crux of the matter. The DQL implementation in DFW was a rushed and bodged job that we have been paying for for 20 years. Because of the bad way it was implemented it can't be changed or improved without ruining the existing functionality and rendering existing prints and reports useless... When you add that to the fact that printing and reporting in DFW in general is wrongly implemented, the solution is obvious. We make a separate Reporting tool - DataEase 8 Reporter. I guess you as a user use export/import because that is the only way different versions of DataEase can really talk to each other, but since both DataEase 8 and DG3 use PRISM 8 we can make a reporting tool for DataEase 8 in DG3 technology and that is what we are doing. DataEase 8 Reporter is simply DFD style DQL and QuickReports where you can create anything from a normal DFD list, export to advanced documents and web pages with any formatting, charts, graphics etc. So what about LegEasy DOS? LegEasy DOS is simply DG3 and the only difference and the bit that we have put on hold is the automatic conversion of DFD apps to DG3 apps,and we haven't said we are not going to do it. We have simply said that as thing stand now we think we should focus on finishing off the product where people can make modern DataEase apps on top of old and new data rather than focus energy on migrating old apps.

Published: 10/01/13 - 17:24:48 (Ulrik Jacob Hoegh - Krohn)

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Impressionism, expressionism or conservatism?