is the latest descendant of a project that stamina software started
in 1994. The initial goal of the Viságe project was to produce
an intelligent terminal emulation product that would allow us to
create graphical interface widgets under the control of our multi-valued
our applications were developed with the our own 4GL tools, our
intention was to have a single code base that would be able to support
both our traditional terminal users, as well as a new class of user
that would use a PC and interact with our software via a Graphical
We had a
number of false starts and setbacks over the next few years, and
learnt a lot about techniques and technologies that didn't work.
We had moved from the world of 16-bit Windows 3.11 to the allure
of 32-bit computing under Windows 95, and migrated from the sluggish
world of interpretive Visual Basic to the speed and grace of the
Borland Delphi environment.
we did get a version of this product operating, but it never saw
the light of day outside of our development facility. Whilst it
performed as specified, and allowed us to control the creation of
Windows interface widgets, the resultant applications were obviously
not REAL Windows programs.
terminology we had created a type of hybrid screen scraper technology
that was doomed to fail, because by limiting ourselves to our 80
x 24 green screen heritage we had fallen well short of realizing
the full potential of the PC phenomenon.
a tumultuous period that resulted in a number of hard decisions
being made, and also saw us adopt a somewhat radical stance in terms
the hardest decision that we made was abandoning the notion of supporting
green screens indefinitely into the future. It was obvious that
in order for us to be able to create solutions that could effectively
compete in the mainstream we could not be confined by the screen
limitations of our past heritage.
decided that rather than developing our own proprietary mechanism
for creating screens we should look at adopting the new HTML 3.2
recommendations that were at the RFC (and there were also some early
papers about a subset of SGML - this was later to become XML).
time Microsoft had released Internet Explorer 3.0, and anyone who
had heard of HTML probably associated it with a printer, or if they
were in the know with slow connections to the Internet.
environment we were looking at would see us deploy HTML over a high
speed (10Mbps at that time) LAN rather than the Internet, so speed
was not a major consideration, and the possibility of using script
in the browser for client side processing and customization was
a BIG attraction.
we now had to develop middleware that could talk to a browser, multi-valued
host routines for handling communications and ticklish issues like
the management of state, and also re-work techniques that would
enable us to perform as much processing as possible on the client
used code and techniques from a multitude of weird and seemingly
unrelated interface projects we had done over the years, like document
scanners, radio frequency portable data entry units, real time data
collection from analogue and digital devices, and of course the
core Viságe project itself up until that time.
we developed a tool set that could be used with any web development
tool via the clipboard, enabling us to create database aware HTML
and Script there we could then paste into products like Visual Studio
from Microsoft, Dreamweaver from a Macromedia etc.
dream was that we would be able to create a plug-in for one of these
tools that would allow us to extend the in-built Property Editor
for standard HTML elements to cater for the extended properties
that we believed were necessary to support the techniques we had
developed, as the select and paste mechanism we were using was too
clumsy for serious development.
it became obvious that the only way forward was for us to take the
plunge and develop our own custom Integrated Design Environment
that was conscious of the Application Development Framework (ADF)
we had a created for our own system redevelopment.
concept has matured from a simple idea to become reality, and today
finds form as the feature rich, multi-valued database aware Viságe.Designer.
this background we can look at some of the simplifying assumptions
that we made along the way and are now implicit within the Viságe.ADF