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DataEase is a relational database management system (RDBMS), and is considered a rapid application development tool for developing relationally-organized, data-intensive software applications for personal computers. DataEase was created in the early 1980s by software developers Arun Gupta and Joseph Busch. The first version of the software was released in 1981 by Software Solutions Inc. The principals sold the company to Sapphire International Corporation of the United Kingdom in 1991. 4ThePeople Ltd took over the development and publishing of DataEase in 2011 after having worked with DIL/Sapphire since 2007 on improving and redeveloping DataEase.. There are three distinct product generations in DataEase' history: DataEase for DOS, DataEase for Windows and DataEase Generation 3 (DG3)
DataEase for DOS
Originally called Datamaster, DataEase' early hallmark was the ease with which non-programmers found they could rapidly develop useful software applications. DataEase' design emphasized the visual design of screen forms and reports while hiding almost all of the arcane details such as properties of the underlying data structure. In addition, complex data management processes that would typically require a multitude of complex steps to complete with traditional programming tools were handled automatically and transparently as a user made changes to his/her application. For example, when editing an existing form, if the user removed a field, added another, indexed another and changed the data type of yet another, the necessary steps required to reflect those changes in the data structure underlying the form were automatically and non-destructively applied when the form was saved.
Report writing was similarly streamlined. The user simply defined access to the desired data using a simple procedural language known as DataEase Query Language (DQL). A prompting script editor, which permitted any user to instantly create DQL script with no prior knowledge of DQL syntax remains one of DataEase' most overlooked and beneficial features. One was not required to memorize details about the application's components or DQL syntactical construction prior to writing a valid DQL script.
Sample DQL Script
For Employees with (Salary < 50000 and YearsOfService > 4 and LastReviewGrade > 85)
LastName in order;
CurrentSalary : item sum ;
CurrentSalary * data-entry EnterRaiseAmount : item sum .
CurrentSalary := CurrentSalary * data-entry EnterRaiseAmount .
In addition to simplified definition of data forms, reports and procedures, DataEase for DOS provided facilities for defining an application's user access, navigational menus, multi-format importing of data from other sources, data exporting, data backup and restoration, system documentation and user help, backing up and restoring data and integrating external programs into the application. DataEase for DOS applications provided record-level locking meaning they could be accessed simultaneously by many other users.
DataEase at Work
DataEase for DOS gained an eclectic following among application developers and those responsible for managing proprietary business processes in the corporate world. The DataEase Resource Guide, published by DataEase International in the late 1980s lists approximately two hundred commercially-available applications spanning specialized domains from Waste Management to Law Enforcement. Indeed, many corporate users deployed business-critical applications using DataEase including organizations such as NASA, Ford Motor Co., Citimortgage (FKA Lomas Financial Corporation), and the American Automobile Club.
DataEase for DOS was distributed worldwide and, according to information provided by Sapphire International, peaked at an installed base of approximately 2 million seats. Despite the fact that Sapphire ceased distribution of DataEase for DOS in 2003, a significant number of DataEase for DOS applications remained in active use worldwide as of 2008.
DataEase for DOS was recognized with a number of prestigious industry awards, including:
- PC Magazine Editor's Choice: 1986, 1988, 1989
- PC Magazine Best of Award: 1988, 1990
- PC Week Labs Shootout: Winner 1989 & 1990 (Simon Irwin & Julian Brearley)
DataEase for Windows
DataEase for Windows (DFW) is a rapid application development tool for constructing Windows database applications. DataEase for Windows abandoned many of the intuitive features of its DataEase for DOS ancestor. The DataEase for Windows product was designed and positioned to address the needs of the more technical programmer. This was due to the belief at the time that soon all data would be stored in SQL-based client-server platforms, and that DataEase itself would evolve into a SQL development tool.
DataEase for Windows was initially released in 1994, as a follow up to DataEase Express, which lacked the DQL procedural language. The user interface was overhauled and the automatic creation of data structures along with screens (Forms) was abandoned. Despite the fact that DataEase for Windows incorporated both an automated migration tool (from DE DOS 4.53) and the ability to directly acquire tables and data from DFD5, many long-time DataEase for DOS users found it difficult to break out from the hierarchical CUI paradigm and make best use of the new tools in the Windows product.
DataEase for Windows' acceptance by existing DataEase for DOS users was therefore significantly hindered, and those who delayed the decision to move and instead upgraded to more recent DOS versions found that while they could share data with Windows versions, to achieve a full Windows application, forms and report layouts all had to be re-created from scratch in DFW. Even though business rules could be imported with the tables, and DQL's could be imported also either by cutting and pasting or by the 'DOS report' facility in DFW version 5.5 on, the difficulty still remained that an application designed with a work-flow for the single-tasking DOS environment was frequently unsuited for the multi-session Windows environment. The difficulty and the considerable expense posed by the task of re-writing their applications forced many otherwise-satisfied DataEase users to reconsider their choice of the DataEase platform.
Conversely, new users of DataEase for Windows with no previous experience found it an effective tool, and some important systems were written using it during the second half of the 1990s.
Since DataEase version 7 (2006) interoperability has been abandoned as being too restrictive for the product's development to be a good 'Windows citizen'.
In 2008 a new DataEase development team was appointed under the leadership of Ulrik Krohn to take DataEase into a new era which will eventually culminate in a completely web based product.
DataEase 7.2 was officially launched on July 1, 2009. This version is the first to use the 64 bit operating system and was extensively reworked to contain more than 1,000 improvements and fixes 
The release of 7.2 also marked the time when DataEase International Ltd. became once again an independent product company solely focused on the product and its development. DataEase services continue to be provided by the Sapphire Group.
31 August 2013 the latest version so far of DataEase for Windows was released. DataEase is the most re-worked version of DataEase so far and will be the bridge between DataEase for Windows and the new DG3 family. From the abandonment of DataEase Developer in the 1990s, dataease has been very much a 1 product product and company. With DE8 this is already changing.
DE8 will come in two developer versions
DE8 Classic which is the "big" version of DE8. It will be the bridging version between "Old style" DataEase for Windows and "New style".
In DataEase 8 we will make a break with the old adage of Designer and Runtime being the same product. We feel this "policy" is detrimental to both so we will focus the Design Tools (Develeopers) more on being good at making the applications and then we will release a set of Runtime Tools that will make distribution and deployment smoother and more transparent.
DE8 Classic - (Include old design tools for old style DQL/QBM and OML etc. but will at the same time include all new DE8 functionality and will be able to integrate with DE8 Reporter functionality).
DE8 Native - (Design tools for old style DQL/QBM and OML will be removed and replaces by DE8 Reporter DQL and reporting and DQL events).
Both tools will produce the same Application/Database structure and both tools will be able to open and run any DE8 Application, the difference is purely in the approach to designing an application.
DE8 Reporter - This is the new reporting/printing tool for DE8 and DG3 products. It is based on DG3 technology and the designer/user will finally be able to easily create smart looking and simple as advanced reports easily and quickly. It builds on the DFD Quick Reports approach rather than the QBM approach of DFW. It also contains full interactive DQL and the link between Design and Logic is free as in all DG3 products. Simply replace a table with a DQL under a layout and it will seamlessly work. Design of layout is quick drag and drop, and formats are document/flow oriented.
DE8 Reporter is showing the face of the new DataEase and you will be able to build reports across databases by including data from several applications in one separate report.
DE8 Group - Traditional DataEase for WIndows "full version" runtime environment based on DE8 Classic where design time is disabled. Simply open any "open" DE8 app as long as you have the login credentials.
DE8 Player - New runtime environment that will run a DE8 application "native" and in full screen mode. All traces of DFW has been removed and the environment is native to the application. The designer will be free to make the application look and feel his own, but at the same time he will not be able to rely on any DE8 Framework functions. Everything the designer want to happen, he need to incorporate in the forms etc.
DE8 Distribution Kit - This is the specialist distribution kit for deploying vertical applications as install packages. You will need to use DE8 Distributor to create the install/runtime packages. Applications distributed this way will be fully encrypted and can not be opened by any DE8 design tool. Applications will follow the DE8 Player native guidelines, and will be distributed as a single file for download or media distribution.
DE8 Distributor - With this we fill a big hole in the DE world. DE8 Distributor allow developers to maintain applications remotely and to create single file distribution/deployment packages which contain the DE8 Distribution kit as well as the application. After initial deployment Developers can deliver updates either by remotely connecting to the distribution and do an automated diff/update, or by producing an update package and distribute this in the traditional manner.
DataEase licensing partners will also be able to license software directly from their Distributor.
DE8 Pump - The pump technology allow DE8 applications to be run as independent local installations when at the same time sharing data with a central application. DE8 is a data-replication engine that can be configured to update data from "immediate" to any interval the user prefer (every 5 mins, hour, 12 hours, day, week..) depending on the need for data to be synchronised. DE8 pump will not only be able to replicate with other DE8 apps, it will also be able to replicate data with any major database. DE8 Pump is not based on the application that share data being a copy of the central database (it could be of course) but on matching tables and data to any remote table (there don't need to be a match in column/table name, you can override the default matching) so you can in reality have a distributed app that is built on as many remote DE8 apps (and other databases) as you please.
Most of the DE8 tools apart from DE8 itself and the runtime engines, are based on DG3 technology and all future DataEase products will be developed on this platform.DG3 is still in full development and as a new and advanced platform for DataEase product we will release products that compliment and enhance the user experience.
DG3 has been used in projects for over 2 years now, and we will keep on (together with our expert partners) to develop both independent Web systems as well as Portals on DE8 applications. The current DG3 "full" version is a very advanced piece of kit that need an expert approach. It is very quick and effective tool in capable hands, but we do not wish to release it as a general product because it will need a lot of follow up and support.
We feel that DataEase should be simple and that you should be able to use DataEase without any training/help other than the available resources. DFW has in many way never been in that corner, but that is our goal again for the future, and we will keep on releasing products when we feel they have achieved this.
For now we concentrate on getting DE8 Classic out there on official release and to get our early adapters and loyal developers started on developing applications for their own use and for general sale as fast and as much as possible.
- Internet World Magazine - "An End To Web Coding: Toolmaker Aims For Discipline in App Engineering" by David F. Carr
- A Brief History of DataEase
- The Probert Encyclopedia of Science & Technology entry for DataEase
- The DataEase Relational Database System A Brief History by Phil Winkler, DCC
- DataEase 7.2: The first step on the way forward, and the last of an era.