Change equals Progress

Thanks to full SQL-92 support within Progress Version 9, Progress Software Corp.’s suite of development tools, application servers and database products is now “open to the outside world,” according to one industry consultant.

Version 9 (code-named Skywalker) consists of the Progress Open AppServer, an application server for sharing application components across heterogeneous environments; the Progress RDBMS, designed for scaleable storage of SQL and 4GL application data; and Progress ProVision Plus, an application environment for multi-tier, client/server and Web-based enterprise applications. This suite also comes with development versions of Open AppServer and RDBMS.

Frank Gligic, a Hamilton, Ont.-based independent consultant and beta tester, said there were two constraining factors that kept Progress’ products from being widely used outside its core group of users in the past – scalability and openness. But Version 9 addresses both of these issues, he said.

“The RDBMS storage constraints have been pushed into terabyte land, while the user count has reached 10,000 concurrent users,” he said.

“(And) the openness issue has been addressed with both a capital ‘O’ and a little ‘o’ … the capital ‘O’ is in the form of full SQL-92 support; the little ‘o’ is in the form of a Proxy Generator which is used to glue together progress methods with Java classes and ActiveX automation.”

New storage management features offer improved space allocation by allowing the databases to be moved onto different drives, said Dan Potter, director of marketing at Progress Software.

“So you can partition your database in logical ways. You can move tables off into individual drive spindles. If you’ve got a table in a database that gets hit on all the time, you not only want to put the right index on it, but you also want to put it on your fastest drive.”

According to Potter, the ProVision Plus development environment moves fully into a component development methodology with this release.

“We’ve stripped out all the user-interface elements and created new components that are just business logic. By doing so, it allows us to do things like deployment-time partitioning of application logic onto the Progress AppServer and it allows you to build a wide range of user interfaces,” he said.

“We have always supported GUI and character app development. With this release we have integrated HTML client development, as well as Java and ActiveX.”

Arthur Fink, president of Arthur Fink Consulting Inc. in Peaks Island, Me., beta tested Version 9 and said there was more symmetry and simplicity in the latest release.

“Another very important addition is [the] reworked storage architecture to handle much, much larger databases that need much more control,” he said. “So really, you are limited only by hardware.”

Geoff Crawford, president of Innovative Client Servers in Rockaway, N.J., who is also beta-testing the software, said the new SQL engine is one of the key enhancements.

“That’s not to say that Progress didn’t have SQL support before, because they did. However, it was SQL within their own 4GL product. In other words, you would need to be running 4GL programs that included SQL as part of the 4GL itself,” he said. “So there is an additional level of openness with the upcoming product, because you will be able to use non-Progress clients.”

Crawford said the benefits of the new software will not be fully realized, however, until complete CORBA access is introduced.

“The current AppServer is not asynchronous. And when CORBA comes along, that’s going to be a key for the programming of new applications – to have asynchronous execution of objects on the CORBA server,” he said.

Peter van Dam, a consultant at WALVIS Software in Rotterdam, Netherlands, published a white paper on Version 9 at In the paper he said although the browse table and the temp table are still not completely dynamic objects, overall the 4GL of Version 9 has taken a big step forward.

“In addition to dynamic queries, 4GL support for procedure overloading and a proper publish/subscribe mechanism have been added to the language. Together with the new Open AppServer this allows Progress developers to create distributed enterprise applications using an object-oriented approach,” he stated.

Pricing information for Progress Version 9 ( is as follows: Progress ProVision Plus starts at $6,600 per user, Progress RDBMS starts at $400 per user or $1,900 for a five-user workgroup, and Progress Open AppServer starts at $8,600.

Progress Software in Bedford, Mass., is at 1-800-477-6473.