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Compuware prepares to roll out Uniface 8.4

Compuware is roll out Uniface 8.4, an upgrade to its alternative development platform which features enhancements for web services and service-oriented architectures.

The company now sees Uniface as a unified development environment and as an alternative to Java and .net. Product manager Adrian Gosbell claimed Java and .net are not being used much in true enterprise deployments while Uniface is being used by customers with thousands of clients accessing mission-critical, round-the-clock applications.

"Over 200 new customers in 2003 and a 95% maintenance retention shows that there remains a strong market for Uniface among customers and alliance partners that do not want to convert to EJBs or C# as their primary enterprise-class application development tools, in at least the short term," said Gartner vice president and research director Michael Blechar.

"Uniface can coexist and be integrated with J2EE and .net development - and, for that matter, Compuware also has a Java tool in OptimalJ as a companion product to those wanting to transition over time from Uniface to Java.

"While I expect that the majority of enterprise/server-side development will become EJB and C#, for some companies the migration is years away," Blechar said. 

Version 8.4 has web services call-out functionality implemented through XML and Soap that allows Uniface applications to consume web services, Compuware said. Support in Uniface for provisioning and consuming web services enables the platform to accommodate service-oriented architectures.

"With the previous version of Uniface, 8.3, it was possible to take a Uniface service and package up that service so it was exposed to the outside world as a web service," Gosbell said. "The difference now is it can now consume web services from other technologies."

Also featured in Version 8.4 is enhanced real-time application performance tuning, simplified deployment, and maintenance via an updated deployment utility. Graphical controls have been expanded through inclusion of a command button, picture widget, and check box as options to Uniface.

Usability has been improved through additions to the product's procedural code language. Performance of previously developed Uniface applications can be improved by recompiling them in Version 8.4.

Compuware has also published a performance and scalability guide for use in design, deployment and development phases.

Next year, Compuware plans to release Uniface 9, featuring an advanced development environment and "hot" deployment, providing the ability to update, test, and deploy applications in real time.

Version 8.4 is available at the end of the month, with development licences starting at $4,000.

Paul Krill writes for InfoWorld

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