The enterprise database, like most other computer applications, has gone graphical.

Graphics are the visual engine that continue to drive the amazing popularity of the personal computer--from games and multimedia entertainment to the flourishing content of the Web. In recent years the intuitive simplicity of the GUI has worked its way inevitably into the world of enterprise databases. Everyone from desktop users to developers to top company officials demands the simple familiarity of the pop-up window. Database companies know a trend when they see one and have responded with a new generation of graphics-based development tools.

Informix moved into the world of Windows and the emerging World Wide Web by introducing a pair of development tools designed specifically to build mission-critical departmental applications for these now-dominant environments.

These new tools, Informix Data Director for Visual Basic and Informix Data Director for Java, provide rapid and simplified development of Windows and Web-enabled database applications and serve to keep the Informix community on the leading edge of the Graphical User Interface revolution.

Data Director for Visual Basic

Data Director for Visual Basic leverages the well-established performance benefits of Informix database servers and, through a very open API configuration, extends it seamlessly into the Visual Basic design environment. This potent model-driven data access and management platform allows developers to rapidly prototype, build and extend work-group and enterprise applications. Data Director for Visual Basic utilizes a run-time SQL engine for complex data management and uses visual, drag-and-drop commands to automate all data access coding.

Informix Data Director integrates seamlessly with Visual Basic at both the design and run stages, and it incorporates a range of features that allow developers to scale the application to meet highly specific enterprise needs. A programmable OLE object hierarchy allows developers to quickly and easily solve the most challenging client/server problems. Data Director's 32- bit OCX navigation control offers query-by-example, complete record navigation and fully customizable data control.

Of course, because Visual Basic is based on a two-tiered architecture--where the business logic is essentially isolated within the application and, thus, cannot make use of the performance advantages of a multitiered arrangement. This technology is best suited for departmental applications ranging in size from 25 to possibly 100 seats. There are certainly a great number of these applications out there and, within this context, Data Director for Visual Basic provides a very energetic solution optimized to run against the Informix engine.

Data Director for Java

As the usefulness and popularity of Internet, extranet and intranet applications grow, developers are seeking optimized pathways to create Web-enabled access to corporate data and programs. Informix has responded with Data Director for Java, a powerful drag-and-drop Java development component that lets developers create Java applets for Informix servers without the need to write new code. Data Director creates a seamless and easy-to-use bridge between Java and the enterprise database servers.

Data Director for Java incorporates a potent Java code generator and integrated data-aware controls, intuitive drag-and-drop painting tools and a full kit of visual control objects. By automating database operations, this tool allows developers to focus on the design of interfaces and improved functionality. Data Director also leverages the superior portability of the Java development language, thereby vastly reducing the IT time and development costs for organizations that use multi-platform desktops or that are transitioning from one standard to another.

Because Data Director establishes Java applet-to-Web communication using JavaSoft's Remote Method Invocation protocol, it enables applications to maintain state during crucial DB transaction processing applications. Data Director for Java also allows SQL3 data access programming, which means that developers can continue to leverage the very significant advantages of the Informix Universal Server.

These dramatic innovations for Informix users have unlocked the considerable advantages of the Windows and Web-enabled development environments. And while these current systems may seem to be the ultimate in tool evolution, no doubt even more efficient (and as yet unimagined) methods of database access are just over the development horizon. Development tools are like any other technology--constantly evolving and always subject to replacement by a "better mousetrap." Informix remains committed to the constant search for improvement needed to keep its users on the leading edge of tool performance.

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