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Volume 18, No.1

Sustaining Members’ News

Insight Systems

After almost two years as an independent consulting company, Insight Systems is happy to announce our return to what we love best: development, sales and marketing of a highly successful APL-based planning application.

Effective mid-August 2001, Insight Systems will be a subsidiary of KCI Computing, Inc. of Los Angeles, California. In addition to marketing and supporting KCI's products and services in Europe, Insight Systems’ technical team will join the product development group at KCI. KCI Computing, Inc. develops, markets and supports CONTROL®, an integrated financial management and decision support tool. KCI uses APL as a core component of its technology, to provide analytical and reporting capabilities on relational databases, using VB and C++ to provide GUI, Web front ends and other interface components. For more information about KCI and CONTROL®, see the web page at http://www.kcicorp.com.

As a member of the KCI group, Insight Systems will continue to provide “one stop shop” services to the APL community in Denmark and internationally. We will continue as resellers of the most popular commercially available APL interpreters, we will continue to provide APL Management Consulting, advising our customers on software development strategies using APL, especially with respect to integration of APL components in “mainstream” software architectures. We will continue provide recruitment services for companies seeking APL developers for employment or contract work.

Insight Systems will remain a sustaining member of the British APL Association. We will continue to develop and maintain our ODBC interface, which is distributed by Dyadic Systems and APL2000. Development of a new release of this product will be concluded during the second half of 2001.

HMW

After breaking our silence in the last issue of Vector, we find we don’t have too much to add this time. At least, having admitted to still selling DOS versions of our systems, we can announce that the Windows version seems to be gaining ground on its DOS parent and has generated a lot of interest in the last month or two. Its a great relief to be developing in a more modern platform! It does mean a busy summer for us, so think of us slaving away over a hot computer when you are all on holiday.

Causeway Graphical Systems Ltd

cusp logoWell, Dyalog may have their DSS but at Causeway we have our CUSP (Causeway Update and Support Programme) and we think we have the prettiest logo!

CUSP is modelled closely on DSS (why change a working formula) and is designed to keep our customers in touch with the latest updates to RainPro, NewLeaf, CausewayPro and HelpStuf. For an annual subscription (the rate varies depending on the level of support you want – see the website for details) you get access to unlocked copies of the latest shipped workspaces and automatic emails whenever anything is fixed or improved. Typically these are going out every two weeks, but the frequency will obviously vary as changes inevitably come in in clumps, separated by long quiet periods. The passworded ZIP files will now be updated annually (and the passwords changed at the same time) so you will still be able to pay for an annual update if that is the approach you prefer.

One of the reasons that RainPro has been developing quickly of late is that (at last) we are able to sell this outside the APL community. Disguised as GraPL.NET it is now available to the world of VB programmers as a scripting tool for making VML and SVG charts in-line in web pages. Many of the improvements are specifically to support interactive charts on the web (for example adding JavaScript handlers to data items for drill-down) but there are some things which our GraPL.NET users are asking for which are valuable in their own right. Recent examples would be multi-line y-labels and key text, and much better support for labelling of time-based axes with styles like ‘annual’ or ‘monthly’ to get the tick-marks correctly placed.

NewLeaf has recently learned how to make PDF files ‘straight out of the box’ with no requirement for 3rd-party tools such as Acrobat Distiller. This allows you to distribute NewLeaf reports (with a nice table of contents made using leaf.Bookmark) as PDF documents that can be viewed and printed with the standard Acrobat Reader (free from Adobe). Of course charts from RainPro can be included in the output, as can bitmap images. In fact I am beginning to prefer NewLeaf to PowerPoint as a tool for making a bunch of simple foils – have a look at the PDFs on the Causeway website (under /pubs/seminars) to see the sort of thing you can make very easily indeed.

It is something of an irony that we have a world lead in one of the most modern ‘sexy’ technologies (interactive vector graphics with XML) with a bunch of 1992-vintage APL*PLUS/PC functions. Back to the future anyone?


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