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By: Kevin D. Weeks

Abstract: Daily news summary for 3 November 1999. By Kevin D. Weeks.

Special delivery

Looking for a single tool to create all your install and uninstall programs? Inc. may have the answer.

Version 3.2.1 of FileStream's InstallConstruct supports the creation of Installer, Setup Wizard, Uninstaller, and HTML-based Internet component download applications. This $199 program helps developers create installers for Windows 3.1, 95, 98, and NT. Additionally, says, the tool creates install programs for Windows 2000.

InstallConstruct's wizards and tools generate script files to govern the creation of install applications. Developers can edit scripts manually to create variant install programs or rely on the wizards to create new installers from scratch.

Developers who choose the "Setup Wizard" option can customize the Windows Setup Wizard with their own graphics, logo, and formatted text. InstallConstruct supports the construction of Internet, intranet, CD-ROM, multiple-volume CD-ROM, and diskette distributions. The toolkit creates and customizes Uninstaller applications as well. Font delivery, automatic archival of existing components, and automatic ("silent") updates are supported. International language scripts support English, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish, and Swedish installations.

The application is available immediately online and from dealers and distributors worldwide.

Extra! Read all about it!

Don't be the last on your block to sign up for SD Times, the new twice-per-month newspaper of the software development industry from BZ Media LLC.

The newspaper, to be launched in February 2000, promises to cover "the news, analysis, and vital information needed to help large enterprises manage their increasingly interrelated software and applications development activities," according to BZ Media.

Says SD Times publisher Ted Bahr: "No publication has ever attempted to serve the software development manager's need for news and analysis. More than 40 monthly technical journals help working programmers write Java servlets and review Linux device-driver kits; they're not focused on providing news or analysis. The IT newsweeklies are more concerned with servers and routers...that leaves a huge hole in the market. Nobody's providing the wide-angle view on issues specifically affecting software development managers."

There's no subscription form on BZ's Web site yet, but there's an interesting article on programmer productivity -- a taste of things to come, no doubt.

Old dog, new tricks

Visual Basic programmers know that they are able to create reusable software as ActiveX components. But sometimes there's nothing like a plain ol' DLL. The problem is that Visual Basic alone isn't capable of exporting subs and functions for external programs to call.

MegaPhat looks to change all that with vbExport, a $49.95 Visual Basic add-in that adds export facilities to Visual Basic DLLs at compile time. The result? Redistributable DLLs callable from any language.

vbExport currently supports the stdcall calling convention, with support for cdecl planned and fastcall "if there is demand."

Component crazy

Raize Software Solutions has improved its component suite adding nine new controls to the mixture raising the total to more than 90. Raize Components 2.5 includes a pair of new date and time pickers and a pair of new rich edit controls. All four of these have additional properties to support custom framing. A new button can display a glyph, a tray icon makes it easier to add an application to the system tray, and the company has added a data aware version of its ExpandEdit component. The company also added more design-time editors and improved some existing editors.

The FrameController now only controls the components that reference it through a new FrameController property. The reported advantage is that developers can use multiple frame controllers to control different sets of component frames on the same form. In addition, all data-entry controls now have a TabOnEnter property which cause the focus to shift to the next control when the Enter key is pressed.

The toolset supports Delphi versions 1, 3, 4, and 5 and C++Builder versions 3 and 4. The list price is US$249 but users who purchased the previous version after 1 July, 1999 may upgrade for free, and for a limited time, other users of previous versions may upgrade for US$29.

Robo Chip

OEM wireless vendors, take note. Motorola has developed a single chip capable of accommodating all current wireless standards -- worldwide. This brings even more robust capability to Motorola's wireless Web technology. With a hefty on-chip ROM, and a flexible peripheral-set, OEM manufacturers can utilize the new DSP56690 baseband processor for any wireless device that adheres to CDMA, GSM, iDEN, TDMA or satellite-based protocols.

Intended primarily for high-end applications that use GPRS and WAP-enabled browsers, Motorola's new offering utilizes their standard dual-core architecture -- a DSP 56600 core running at 100+Mhz and an M-CORE M210 microcontroller which runs at 50+MHZ. The two processors share a RAM memory block interface.

Features of the DSP56600 include:

  • layer 1 timing module
  • AMPS accelerator module
  • burst-mode flash interface
  • planned compliance with emerging software standards

The DSP56600 chip is also suitable for lower-tier applications, making it a good choice for the multi-application vendor.

Dynamic partitioning

Unisys and Microsoft are collaborating on enhancing servers to provide dynamic partitioning. According to the partners this will provide enhanced server performance, reliability, and flexibility on future versions of Microsoft Windows Datacenter Server. The Datacenter Server OS is a version of Windows intended for mission-critical applications.

By using dynamic partitioning the servers will be able to "shift resources within a system without interruptions to processing." The capability is an extension of the static partitioning provided by the Unisys E-@ction Enterprise Server ES7000. Reportedly dynamic partitioning also reduces the need for separate servers because administrators can schedule servers that might otherwise be idle to handle a second application.

The companies expect the capability to be particularly useful for international firms conducting transactions around the world 24 hours a day.

When all else the manual

And there is a great new one available for Visio 2000 users. Osborne Media Group, a division of McGraw Hill, has just released Visio 2000: The Official Guide. Lauded by Visio CEO Jeremy Jaech for making learning easy and fun, Visio 2000: The Official Guide promises to turn its readers into masters in diagramming technical business documents -- be it schematics, flow charts or network configurations. The end result is a clear, effective business visual.

Authored by John Hedtke and Elisabeth Knottingham, the guide takes you through drawing basics up to the creation of hyperlinks in HTML, providing easy-to-understand explanations of commands, tools, styles and techniques. Megg Bonar, Osborne's acquisition editor states, "When it comes to Visio 2000, this book teaches you everything you need to know."

Visio 2000: The Official Guide comes in a 512 page softcover edition, and retails for US$35.  It can be ordered at Osborne's Web site.

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