VisualAge for OS/2 Version 1.0

Table of Contents

IBM Announcement Letter No. ZP93-0585 dated October 12, 1993.

  • Title
  • Program Number
  • Abstract
  • Overview
  • Availability
  • Highlights
  • Description
  • Customer Value
  • Product Positioning
  • Statement of General Direction
  • Publications
  • Technical Information
  • Specified Operating Environment
  • Planning Information
  • Security, Auditability and Control
  • Charges, Terms & Conditions
  • Announcement Countries

  • IBM Announcement Letter No. ZP93-0585 dated October 12, 1993.

    See final section for details of availability and limitations.


    VisualAge for OS/2 Version 1.0

    Program Number

    All products will be shipped on CD-ROM. Order Type Part Number Number Program Name ---------- ------- ---------------------------------- 5681-387 87G7044 VisualAge 5681-388 87G7049 VisualAge Team 5622-271 87G7054 VisualAge COBOL Component 5622-270 87G7059 VisualAge Multi-Database Component 5622-272 87G7064 VisualAge Communications/Transaction Component 5622-269 87G7069 VisualAge Multimedia Component


    VisualAge is an integrated, application development environment designed especially for client-server, mission-critical, line of business applications through visual programming and construction-from- components technologies. It provides a series of high productivity, OS/2 based power tools for the development of applications targeting OS/2 execution systems. IBM plans to make VisualAge for Windows and VisualAge System Object Model (SOM) support for OS/2 available during the first half of 1994.

    There are two base products in the VisualAge family:

    VisualAge Team provides all the functionality of VisualAge plus support for team programming.

    Using popular relational databases, VisualAge enables customers to develop client-server database applications. In a server-based development environment it can produce complete on-line transaction processing (OLTP) client-server applications for OS/2. This functionality enables the customer to build workstation applications that access remote transaction programs through a variety of network protocols and access data in remote and local relational databases.

    VisualAge provides the following functionality:

    VisualAge's open architecture enables the developers of GUI tools, database and communications support products and class libraries to write to published APIs.


    VisualAge is an application development environment and suite of power tools which introduce technologies that unlock the complex world of application development in a client/server environment. These technologies are based on a visual construction-from-components architecture and enable the development of the client portion of client/server applications with very complex GUIs.

    Developers are confronted by ever changing user requirements and a growing user base. This combination necessitates an integrated development environment with a robust suite of tools so that applications can be developed rapidly. Within its object-oriented development environment, VisualAge provides visual programming. This technology enables the developer to work with the end user in an iterative manner to develop user interfaces and accurately capture changing user requirements.

    The reuse of proven designs and stable code is one element of object-oriented programming that puts real power into the user's hands and VisualAge provides many opportunities for reuse. VisualAge was developed using VisualAge itself. This assures that the design and code supplied with VisualAge have been tested and optimized. The ability to reuse existing code reduces development cycle time and, because many of the components can be reused without change, drastically reduces errors.

    Object-oriented technology is emerging as the most promising avenue to solve the rightsizing and client-server challenges of the future. VisualAge utilizes this technology to simplify the development of applications for OS/2 in a graphical environment using construction from components. Additionally, more experienced developers have the benefit of the underlying Smalltalk language including an integrated suite of productivity tools (editors, browsers, debuggers, inspectors). VisualAge Team adds team programming capabilities to the environment, multiplying the value derived from the technologies. These two products will enable developers of various skill and experience levels to create mission critical client/server applications. VisualAge opens the door to these technologies and, over time, IBM plans to address additional development environments and expand its communications and database access capabilities.


    As part of the development validation process, IBM will initially ship VisualAge V1 to a limited and selected set of customers for the purpose of product quality validation within specific customer operating environments.
    When product quality is confirmed, IBM will announce availability and allow unrestricted ordering.

    October 1993 is the First Customer Shipment availability date.


    Benefits include:


    VisualAge supports an iterative application development approach for dealing with today's complex, mission critical, GUI, client/server workstation applications.

    This product set provides an architecture and a rich set of application enabling functions which support application construction from reusable components, including legacy 3GL and 4GL elements. VisualAge provides visual GUI development capabilities so that complex CUA-compliant screens can be built quickly and easily. VisualAge also provides the protocols that enable the GUI front-ends to run with newly created object-oriented applications or with pre-existing applications.

    Graphical user interfaces and line-of-business applications can be developed with VisualAge in a highly productive environment, using the rapid prototyping, prototyping-to-production and code reuse capabilities of object-oriented programming. The applications developed with VisualAge provide end users with easy-to-use graphical displays for their workstations.

    Access is also provided to the scripting language used to write VisualAge and, at lowest level, to native Smalltalk itself. The developer can then choose the level which supports the desired development effort. For example, existing components can be combined through the visual programming interface, existing components can be modified through the scripting language or completely new components can be created in native Smalltalk.

    VisualAge provides an open architecture via published interfaces. Through this approach components created by the customer can easily be added to the development environment. This approach also encourages others to create GUI development tools and support tools (communications, database access, legacy code access and class libraries) which will work with VisualAge.

    Customer Value

    VisualAge provides value to the customer by enabling developers to be more productive through ease of use, providing improved quality and maintainability through reuse of code, and facilitating the development of complex graphical user interfaces. It also provides a natural evolution from prototyping into production.

    Less experienced users can become productive very quickly because the levels of abstraction in VisualAge remove the need to understand databases and communication protocols. Users who are not literate in object-oriented programming can develop significant applications without moving into the underlying code. With this capability, the user can develop the client portion of very sophisticated client-server applications much more quickly than with traditional application development tools, with higher quality and lower maintenance costs. More experienced users may choose to access the underlying object-oriented code and create components that may be reused.

    Specifically, VisualAge functionality provides value to the customer in the following areas:

    Time to Market

    VisualAge supports logical separation of the client from the server, simplifying interface design and implementation; and provides high-level abstractions that completely hide the interface to the network protocols. This functionality results in the client portion of client-server applications being built in less time with higher quality and lower cost. Customers will be able to respond more quickly to changes in the marketplace due to shorter leadtimes for application development. Such responsiveness is a key factor in the choice of developers for many applications.

    Application Developer Productivity

    VisualAge provides significant customer value in application development by enabling developers to improve their productivity both in work effort and elapsed time, from the use of graphical screen generation functions and reuse of existing components. VisualAge also enables easy development of the client portion of a client/server application. Prototyping and evolution of the user interface can occur without requiring changes to the programming of the underlying business objects or full development of the business logic.

    The productivity achievable by the developer encourages the reimplementation of applications, particularly those that can benefit most from a CUA '91 user interface.

    Improved Application Quality

    Design via prototyping enables the developer to work iteratively with the end user to ensure the application meets requirements, avoiding misunderstanding and rework. The reuse of components is encouraged in this methodology resulting in applications based on previously tested code.

    The iterative design and development approach leads to synergy and creativity within the customer/developer team and higher customer satisfaction with the resultant application than is typical with traditional development paradigms. This interaction also ensures that the resulting application is what the customer wants and needs, dramatically reducing fixes and rework and, therefore, end user false starts and inefficient use of the application.

    Visual Programming

    VisualAge enables application development based on a "construction- from-components" architecture. This approach provides an integrated "what you see is what you get" (WYSIWYG) user interface tool that permits the user to select interface parts from a palette, size and align them as appropriate and iteratively view the results as the interface is built. Either during or after this brief development process, the developer may build the application by selecting from a palette the sources and targets to populate or receive information from the interface. The information may come from, or be targeted for, a database, a communications link or some external source such as another application program. VisualAge will generate the code to support the links established between sources and targets and the user interface. Also, visual construction enables people with widely varying skill levels to develop applications. Those with little, or no, programming skills can easily create applications using existing components. Programmers with more experience have the additional option of creating new components.

    Smalltalk Development Environment

    In addition to using the set of interactive tools and application support functions that VisualAge provides, developers may also write application code in Smalltalk, the native scripting language in which VisualAge is implemented. Smalltalk benefits the application developer by:

    Library Support and Team Programming

    VisualAge Team provides version control, change management and library functions while enabling multiple developers to work on the same application simultaneously. This capability enables the division of function among developers, code reuse optimization and faster development cycles.

    The sharing of components helps ensure that all developers are working on a single, common base, facilitates the integration of change into the development process and promotes reuse of pre-tested stable code rather than rewriting it.

    In addition, VisualAge provides value in the following areas:

    Investment Protection

    VisualAge enables the customer to protect investments in legacy applications and data. VisualAge parses C and COBOL source files to create object representations for the existing data structures. It also supports accessing any language that supports native operating system DLLs. Existing code may be integrated into a new application's development environment and subsequent client/server applications, protecting the investment in the old applications and data. Repeated reuse decreases the cost of each successive application, thereby increasing the value of the reusable code.

    Improved Code Stability

    A library of pre-tested, stable code modules leads to more stable applications initially and therefore, less risk in extending those applications in the future. Applications and systems become far less volatile resulting in a more stable environment for growth and less maintenance.

    Product Positioning

    The IBM Application Generation family of product sets will include

    Statement of General Direction

    IBM plans to make VisualAge for Windows and VisualAge System Object Model (SOM) support for OS/2 available during the first half of 1994.


    The following publications will be provided on the program CD-ROM. Publications will not be separately orderable.
                   Title                         Order Number
       -------------------------------       --------------------
       Installation and Maintenance Guide    Publications are not
       Tutorial                              separately orderable
       VisualAge User's Guide
       VisualAge Scripting Guide and Reference
       VisualAge Team Programming Guide
       Programming for IBM Relational Databases
           with VisualAge
       Programming for Multiple Threads with
       Programming for Communications with
       Programming for VisualAge's Legacy Systems
       Construction From Parts
    Displayable Softcopy Publications Information regarding publications in displayable softcopy form will provided at general availability. Source File Publications Information regarding publications in source file form will be provided at general availability.
    The following publications will be provided on the program CD-ROM. Publications will not be separately orderable.
                   Title                         Order Number
       -------------------------------       --------------------
       Installation and Maintenance Guide    Publications are not
       Tutorial                              separately orderable
       VisualAge User's Guide
       VisualAge Scripting Guide and Reference
       VisualAge Team Programming Guide
       Programming for IBM Relational Databases
           with VisualAge
       Programming for Multiple Threads with
       Programming for Communications with
       Programming for EHLLAPI with VisualAge
       Programming for VisualAge's Legacy Systems
       Construction From Parts

    Technical Information

    Specified Operating Environment

    Machine Requirements

    Complete development and execution requirements will be provided at general availability. However, general requirements will be a 486, 25Mhz processor with 16MB of RAM for development and a 386 processor for execution. RAM and hardfile requirements at execution will depend on the application being run.

    Programming Requirements

    OS/2 2.1 5604-467

    Planning Information

    Customer Responsibilities

    Not applicable


    VisualAge will be CID (configuration, installation and distribution) enabled for installation on local area networks.


    All products will be distributed on CD-ROM. All publications will be on-line. A 'read-me' document will be included.

    Security, Auditability and Control

    Security data with respect to user access is to be assured by OS/2 Version 2.1.

    VisualAge logs all changes in a source change log. VisualAge Team, in addition to logging source changes, captures change management and versioning information. User management is responsible for evaluation, selection, and implementation of security features, administrative procedures, and appropriate controls in application systems and communication facilities.

    Charges, Terms & Conditions

    Charges, Terms and Conditions will be provided with the general available announcement.


    IBM standard warranty of media. Warranty period 3 months (or the period required by local legislation, if greater).

    Program Services

    For program defect related problems, the following procedure for assistance in problem identification is applicable:

    IBM will reply in writing with information about correction, bypass or restriction with the intent to make the program perform according to its specifications, or, if there are none, to its principles of operation.

    Customer information needed when submitting a problem:

    Additional information on customer reported problems can be obtained from your remarketer/distributor or IBM.

    This service, in accordance with the Service Statement included in the program package, will be available until the Service End Date.

    Announcement Countries

    All European, Middle Eastern and African Countries.

    The data in this letter is subject to the disclaimer in Letter ZS90-0112, which is available from IBM on request.

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