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Volume 10, No.3

Workshop: Dyalog APL Sessions

by BAA-GUI

During the last quarter of ’93, details of the “X/Open Common Desktop Environment” (CDE), which was announced earlier in the year, began to emerge. As a result, Dyadic postponed its plans for a December release of Dyalog APL for Motif and a parallel upgrade to Dyalog APL/W for Windows.

CDE is part of a major new initiative which is backed by all the leading Unix vendors to provide a common application programming interface and a standard desktop environment for Unix workstations. CDE is based on OSF/Motif with additional software and tools contributed by members of the consortium. For example, the desktop is developed from Hewlett Packard’s VUE and the inter-client communications is based on Sun’s ToolTalk. CDE is intended not only to provide standardisation for developers and users alike, but also to deliver all of functionality and ease-of-use features of Microsoft Windows. Indeed, one way of looking at CDE is that it is the Unix answer to Windows.

Although the decision to re-target the Motif version of Dyalog APL for CDE has delayed the product considerably (CDE itself will not be available until mid ’94), it will bring major benefits to APL users. In particular, CDE will enable Dyadic to deliver 100% APL/W compatibility in areas where this is impossible to achieve with Motif alone. For example, CDE provides very “Windows-like” printer support and font management facilities that are entirely absent from Motif itself. In addition, CDE’s inter-application communication facilities are equivalent to Windows DDE and will permit the full implementation of shared variables in the Unix version of Dyalog APL.

Dyalog APL for CDE will be provided as a free upgrade to existing Dyalog APL/X users who have a current Support and Maintenance Agreement. To allow customers to begin to migrate existing APL/W and APL/X applications to the new product, an interim version for “raw” Motif is available on IBM RS/6000 and Sun SPARC systems. This version lacks certain features such as the PRINTER object and shared variables, and is supplied with the Dyalog APL/W manuals rather than the final CDE documentation. Nevertheless, this version is otherwise complete and will run most APL/W applications (with the restrictions noted above) unchanged. Customers wishing to take advantage of this offer should contact Dyadic or their local Dyalog APL distributor.

Although there will be several months delay before CDE is available from IBM, Sun Microsystems etc. the Dyadic development team will not be idle. Rather than producing a parallel (with Motif) end ’93 release of Dyalog APL/W as originally planned, the company intends instead to develop an even richer new version of the product. In addition to the features announced at APL93, this version will include major object-oriented extensions to the APL language and many exciting enhancements to the already extensive GUI support facilities.

In response to the growing number of successful Dyalog APL/W products, Dyadic is planning to produce a third-party software catalogue (“Outer Products”). This will be distributed to existing customers and shipped with each new copy of the software. To obtain an entry in the catalogue, please contact Peter Donnelly at Dyadic.


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