Unibase

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UNIBASE is a programming system for engineering data processing applications.

It incorporates, in loose framework;

  • a database manager
  • a data dictionary
  • data entry program
  • report generator
  • batch update program
  • menu system
  • several handy utilities

UNIBASE includes all the tools necessary for specifying most applications and for realising those applications directly from the specification. UNIBASE has been used for tasks as diverse as retailing, payroll, JIT manufacturing, accounting, etc.

UNIBASE is a Fifth Generation Language (5GL) which offers:

  • At lease one order of magnitude productivity increase
  • Non-procedural
  • Artificial Intelligence Engine
  • Natural or pictorial language.

UNIBASE uses a new kind of database technology called Associative Databases. The difference between this and previous database structures is that an association tells UNIBASE how to find information in other files, but not when. UNIBASE decides for itself when to use the associative information. Associative Databases are active in that reading a record from one file will read other reocrds and do calculations if necessary. The programmer does not prgram file opens, closes, reads, writes, or calculations in the normal sense of programming. These decisions are made by the UNIBASE programs. All the programmer does is supply a speficiation of what is required, not how to do it. In this sense an Associative Database is the next generation from current programming technology.

THE OFFICE CLERK

A simple analogy is the office clerk. If you want a report you will tell a clerk what you want on the report, how you want it laid out, and where to find the files, but not when to access a file, when to open the filing cabinet, etc. You can think of the report generating side of UNIBASE as an office clerk.

UNIBASE can locate your data quickly for presentation in screens or reports. Using UNIBASE you can query your database, following a line of thinking until all relevant facts have been accessed. UNIBASE can, therefore, eliminate the paper chase in your office. All this can be achieved because it is UNIBASE, not the programmer, that knows how to locate data and how to calculate results.

For all of that, UNIBASE is not a complete general purpose language. It is not meant to be. It is designed speficially for the data processing industry. Therefore, programmers and analysts using UNIBASE can achieve several orders of magnitude improvement in productivity. Other professionals such as company directors, accountants and managers can also use UNIBASE efficiently.

To produce an application, two things are essential: data and knowledge about the data. UNIBASE stores data in files. Knowledge about the files structures is stored in the Data Dictionary. The Data Dictionary is really the heart of the system as it is used by the programs to guide their operation.

EASY APPLICATION BUILDING

Data in each file is broken into records and each record into a number of fields. Fields have a width (i.e. number of characters that can be  stored in the field) and a type. There are two kinds of field: stored and calculated. UNIBASE has a rich set of field types designed to make application building easy.

REPORTS

It is just as easy to produce reports. Reports are just layouts that specify page headers and footers, record formats, subtotals, totals, selection conditions, user input, page breaks, as well as miscellaneous data processing options such as moving parts of records between files, deleting records and updating records.

It produces on demand: STOCKLISTS and INVOICES.

UNIBASE is a compilation of advanced technologies combined in one complete, powerful and highly efficient product. UNIBASE is a tool for developing medium to large business applications such as accounting, payroll, distribution, manufacturing etc.

It is the unique underlying technology within UNIBASE which fundamentally changes the programming task. It uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to carry out many of the tasks usually done by the programmer. In particular, it understands data models and application specifications which are executed directly without any compilation.

The distinguishing features of UNIBASE are the inherent reliability of developed applications, the low cost of maintenance, speed of application development, consistency of the user interface, and raw performance of the product. UNIBASE applications are very robust and can be extensively modified while in service without interruption to working users.

Studies have shown that over the life of an application, 80% of the total cost can be attributed to maintenance, this being both the time taken to rectify the problem and the loss of productive work. It is therefore a significant cost saving if substantial reductions in application maintenance can be achieved. This is exactly the case with UNITE and UNIQUOTE which, after the normal settling-in period usually require little maintenance. Cases have been recorded where sites have not logged a service call for two or three years, with the only interference to the application by the supplier being the installation of upgrades as supplied under the annual maintenance contract.

Another major benefit of UNIBASE applications is that they will not be outgrown by the business, but will grow with the business as it grows. The most usual scenario is that as a business grows more applications are added, more functionality is added into the applications, more users are added to the network and the hardware reaches a point where an upgrade is required. These days this rarely causes a drama and may mean the addition of a more powerful server to the network, or may be as simple as adding an additional or more powerful CPU and more RAM. The application will be unaffected by such an upgrade other than the users will notice an improvement in performance.

UNIBASE applications run on the multi-user UNIX operating system. Upgrades to the operating system will not affect the application and in the event of the user moving to a different version of UNIX in the future, there will be no difficulty in also moving the application software.