Preview of coming attractions.
Since integrated software packages are the current fashion, by the time this magazine comes out new ones will probably be appearing at the rate of about once a week. What follows is a summary of the press releases and demonstration of future products that I have seen recently. Many will be available by the time you read this; others may never be released. SOME LIGHT DUTY PROGRAMS
Creative Series/Creative Software released Creative Writer, Creative Filer, and Creative Calc for the Commodore 64 in early 1984. Versions for the IBM PC and jr and the Apple II are due to be released this year. This is a budget series with a list price of $49.95 for each package. Although the three packages are advertised as integrated, the 32-page booklet that serves as the Creative Calc manual makes no mention of using data from or passing it to the other two programs. Nevertheless, this is the obvious choice for Commodore owners, and possibly for Apple owners as well. I recommend Electric Desk on the PCjr, but the Creative series will be available for half the price.
Get Organized/Electronic Arts has announced Get Organized, due in September, with seven applications. These include word processing, telecommunications, data manager, address list, index card file, note pad, and form letters. The package does not have a spreadsheet, and its graphics are limited. Get Organized is text oriented rather than database or spreadsheet centered, requires an IBM PC with 256K of memory, and will cost $199. MAINSTREAM PRODUCTS
Framework/Framework, from Ashton Tate, was due out in time for this article, but missed its shipping date. This product, which was exhibited at PC Expo, is positioned against Symphony. It considers all functions parts of documents and should be taken seriously because Ashton-Tate has developed a large network of applications developers who have built applications for dBase II. Like Symphony, Framework will cost $695. Framework will cost $695. Framework includes an outline generator that integrates a spreadsheet, forms processing, data management, communications, a word processor, and graphics.
Open Access/Open Access is built around a realational database manager using IBM's Structured Query Language. It has five other modules: spreadsheet, graphics, word processing, communications, and time management. The DBMs offers up to 32,000 records with 55 fields and can have five files open at once. It is available for the IBM PC and the Tandy 2000, and requires 192K of memory and two disk drives.
Plan Series/Chang Labs announced MemoPlan (word processor), MicroPlan (spreadsheet), FilePlan (data management), DocuPlan (report generator), and GraphPlan (Graphics) for the IBM PC, MS-DOS systems, and CP/M systems. These stand-alone packages work in as little as 64K of memory, and also work together in an integrated fashion with Link Plan, an integrating environment. The Modules cost $195 to $495 each.
Intuit/Intuit, from Noumenon, is a $395 package that combines text editing, directory management, database management and spreadsheet. This package is limited in capacity; the database allows up to 65 fields with two sort keys, and the spreadsheet has 200 rows of 65 columns. The "word processing" requires separate parts to enter and format text. Intuit requires 256K of memory
Benchmark/ At Comdex, Metasoft Corp. announced their Benchmark series, ten integrated packages ranging in price from $49 to $395, with package deals available from $395 to $995. The packages include The Administrator (integrating directory program), Word Processor, Spelling Checker, Telecom, Business Graphics, Presentation Graphics, Financial Planner, Data.
Ovation/Ovation, the most preannounced and overhyped software package since VisiOn, was originally due this past spring but has been rescheduled for October release. The package claims to work entirely in English with fewer than 30 commands to handle spreadsheets, word processing, graphics, information management, and communications. SOMETIMES, YOU must read between the lines to discover a flaw in a package.
Changes made to one aspect of a program are to be immediately reflected in all other programs, making the product more closely integrated than its competitors.
Integrated-7/Integrated-7 is clearly positioned against Symphony, with two extra applications for the same price. The extra applications are mainframe electronic mail and DEC VT52/VT100 or IBM 3101 terminal emulation. The word processor includes a spelling checker with a 35,000-word dictionary. Compared to Symphony, the package allows only 1/4 as many rows in the spreadsheet but more than 20 times as many records in the database manager, allowing 100,000 records, with 40 fields per record and up to 60 characters per field. Integrated-7 requires 320K of memory and two drives or a hard drive. The package will sell for $495 until the end of October ; then it will be $695.
Knowledge Man/Although we were not able to review. Knowledge Man, we did have a copy of the tutorial manual, and have listed it in the charts, without the benchmarks. HEAVY DUTY SUPPLIERS
Goldengate/ Cullinet Software previewed Goldengate at the June PC Expo, and scheduled it for all release. This package is probably a bigger threat to Symphony than Framework. Cullinet was the first public software company on a major stock exchange and has been producing mainframe database software since 1968. Their IDMS is probably the most widely used database in large companies, and Goldengate was designed to tie into the database. The Goldengate programs include a spreadsheet, a local business gaphics, word procssing, electronic mail, directory management, and 3270 communications. Its main attraction is the degree of mainframe to work-station integration, particularly when used with IDMS. The programs require a PC with 256K and at least a 5Mb hard disk. Prices were not available,but indications were that they will start in the $1000s.
20/20 Another mainframe software supplier producing an integrated package for micros is Access technology. If you are running their SuperComp-Twenty spreadsheet on your IBM mainframe ($9700) or on your Prime, VAX, or Data General ($4800), then you are sure to want 20/20 on your micro to do text processing, spreadsheet modeling, graphics, data management, and scheduling.
CA-Executive/CA-Executive has been advertised in business magazines with
four-page color ads as available now. Computer
Associates is a large software firm with products for mainframes and minicomputers. The package includes CA-Link for mainframe to micro data transfer, CA-Writer for word processing, CA-Graph color business graphics, CA-Tutor training for the system, CA-Calc spreadsheet, CA-DBMS and CA-Form for the database manager, and the CA-Executive window manager to integrate them all. The advertising lists a price of $6500 for five workstations and the mainframe communications link. The system will work in the IBM PC, PC XT, 3270 PC, and XT/370. It links to CA-Universe, their mainframe database manager. OFF THE BEATEN PATH
DeskMate/ KasTer Corp. has announced a package at the other end of the spectrum from CA-Executive. Their integrated MiniCalc, GraphMate, FileMate and NoteBook provide a spreadsheet, graphics, and a database manager for the Casion PB-700 hand held computer. The spreadsheet has 200 cells, and the database can handle 70 records.
MultiSolver/MultiSolver is a light duty Basic language program generator aimed at the home and small business. This $295 program lets you specify your own database management (20 fields), bar graphs, budget management (28 budget categories), mailing lists (2200 names) and form letters, word processing, general ledger, checkbook manager, and invoicing programs. If you program in Basic, you can then customize the programs further. A master menu with screen prompts integrates the packages. It requires 128K of memory and two double sided disk drives.