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NEWS V5 #3

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TODAY’S Niakwa NEWS

In this Issue:


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NPL Supports Windows 95 and Windows NT!

We’re pleased to announce that NPL Revision 4.20 is now officially shipping! Revision 4.20 is targeted to new sales of DOS, NetBIOS, Novell, and MS-Windows platforms. One of the primary goals of NPL 4.20 is to provide full support for Windows 95. In addition, it was also determined now was the right time to test another “up and coming” Windows product, Windows NT. Like so many newer systems today, Windows NT can be configured in numerous ways: as client, or server or both, so extensive testing was required. Now we have completed this testing and made the necessary changes to provide full support in every configuration of Windows NT to enable you to sell or install on this platform with confidence.

In addition to support for Windows 95 and Windows NT, there is another important factor in Release 4.20; Niakwa is replacing the current RunTime security with our own internally developed security programs. This is no minor change, but we felt it was important since our current third-party choice was not keeping pace with the needs of our developer base for support of industry proven platforms. Niakwa’s internally developed security is not new. In fact, we’ve used it for many years on our Intel Unix platforms. A number of significant benefits will result from this change. From this point forward, Niakwa has more control regarding which platforms are supported, thus reducing our time to market.

Niakwa’s new security not only simplifies the installation process, it will soon provide a new feature of significant value to Resellers and customers - the ability to increase user counts to new levels by receiving a security “code” from Niakwa (much like the current Field Level Reset feature available today for all DOS, NetBIOS, Novell, and MS-Windows platforms under Revision 3.20 and greater.) This new “bumpable” user count will allow you to bump to higher user levels by the simple input of a code from Niakwa. In addition, we are in the process of establishing pricing and procedures to allow you to bump to any user level desired. Further details will follow as they become available. This user “bump” feature will be rolled out over all supported Release 4.20 platforms over the next few months.

The new Release 4.20 features described above will be available across all supported platforms including the RISC platforms of RS/6000, HP 9000, Sun SPARC, and all Intel UNIX platforms. These features include the field level reset ability, bumpable user levels and others. Release dates will be forthcoming.

Release 4.20 will be considered a standard replacement to current 4.x RunTimes, and a standard upgrade to current 3.x RunTimes. In both cases, currently established replacement and upgrade pricing will apply. We are very excited about the improved features and usability Release 4.20 represents and are sure you will be, too.

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We Can Help You Make Vinny A Perfect Fit

The early adopters have placed their Visual NPL (Vinny) orders and now hold the key to a new level of success. They will soon be competing with a much stronger hand ... true Windows functionality in an already proven application. No more losing sales due to an “old fashioned” look. “You’re as young as you feel”, and Visual NPL will have your application feeling and looking at it’s prime of life, as it deserves. You know it works well, you know all the enhancements you’ve spent years investing in. Now it’s time to show it off in a new “dress”, the Windows dressing.

And now that the clothes are ready for wearing, we want to help you fit your application sooner, so Niakwa is offering Visual NPL training classes. We told you Vinny is easy to use, so if Vinny is so easy and fast to use, why would you want to sign up for a training class? Well first and foremost, the world of Visual Basic, VBX's, and the programming concepts connected to them are alien to most Basic-2 programmers. Secondly, the VB world is so big that there are many false avenues to sidetrack you, wasting your valuable time, as a few of our beta testers found out.

Rest assured you can learn and use Vinny without our help. The real question: Do you want to get away from the character-based interface today, or fool around for another half year and finish in the summer?

Our first Vinny training class was held November 29th, 30th, and December 1st and conducted by Alan Green and Shawn Baker. Alan Green is Director of R&D and the father of Vinny. Shawn Baker, Senior Systems Programmer, worked extensively with Alan on the Vinny project. Shawn is from our Winnipeg office, and was happy to be in balmy Chicago in early December.

The first two days covered building Visual Basic GUI's and linking them to NPL programs, all aspects of Vinny including forms and controls on the fly, and examination of standard Microsoft controls and select third party controls (VBX's). The last day was hands-on tutoring with attendants actually working with the instructor to Vinny-ize parts of their application they brought along. The students took home tangible results!

It’s not too late if you missed the Dress Rehearsal (Beta), or the Opening Night (Training). We expect to have repeat performances in the future.

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Niakwa Launches Reseller Leads Program

As many of you already know, Niakwa has begun an extensive and ongoing direct mail effort initially focused in the North American market to generate leads for our Resellers.

Our first mailing went to registered end users of inactive Niakwa Resellers. Inactive Resellers were defined as those Resellers which have not had any business transactions with Niakwa (directly, or through Master Distributors such as NSG) in the past three years. We took due care to be sure the letter did not go to end-users of our Resellers in good standing by sorting through the tens of thousands of registration cards by Reseller of record. A "business transaction" was very liberally defined; it could be a new purchase, upgrade, replacement, or even a reset. The resulting list was then rechecked (by different people) using our in-house system.

This campaign has identified numerous orphaned end-users who are anxious to find an active Reseller in their area. The names of those end-users are being passed on to interested Resellers who will hopefully gain billable work and sell new Niakwa products. We also found a few end-users who have switched Resellers. Of course we sent them a letter apologizing for the confusion.

Our second mailing is from the Niakwa Sales department to users of non-NPL versions of Basic-2, which consists of about 97% Wang 2200 users. (Believe it or not, there are almost 10,000 still out there!) For those who respond, our qualifying will determines if they already have an existing relationship with an active Niakwa Reseller. Any such Reseller will be notified of a positive response. The content of the second piece is a modernization theme, talking in terms of solutions addressed by our products and your services.

It’s too soon to measure the effectiveness of the second mailing. Let us know if you are interested in these type of leads.

We believe that there are many good business opportunities; opportunities for you to generate billable hours and hopefully for us to sell RunTimes. Customers want modern solutions, and we have them.

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The Niakwa Shuffle

To serve you better, we are changing our sales line-up. Effective immediately, Jason Dederich, Computer Science Graduate from University of Illinois, is our new NPL Sales Manager. In addition to a programming background in several languages (including NPL), Jason was a top sales performer in a highly competitive, saturated, and narrow vertical market. Now he is available to share his skills with you. Cyndee Philyaw will continue her dual roles as Marketing and International Sales Manager.

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Al Gorithm’s Tech Corner

Hi! Al Gorithm here.

I’ve got a great tech tip for you this month... But first I wanted to share this idea I’ve been playing around with.

You see, I started in this business a long time ago, before there were actually any computers. As a matter of fact, there weren’t any typewriters either. Since many of you are of the same vintage, you can imagine how hard it was for an old-timer like myself to learn to type after years of computing with a quill pen!

Anyway, typing’s never been one of my strong points. So I’ve asked my friends in Niakwa’s R&D group to cook up a few special verbs for me, ones that I use a lot, like:

LAOD RUN
RETUNR
SCRACTH

If you’d like a copy of this special release of NPL, please drop me a line at Niakwa and I’ll shoot it out to you right away (on an 8-inch diskette).

Craig Freeman of Software Systems Company is our contributor again this month. In addition to writing some terrific code, Craig was very instrumental in guiding the development of our new “Vinny” (Visual NPL) product. He writes:

Dear Al,

Sooner or later, every programmer will need to search a list for matching strings without regard to case (e.g. “A” and “a” are treated equally). NPL’s $TRAN statement is the obvious answer but the question is “which form of $TRAN?”. To find out, I devised the following test:

10 % UCASE = 10/31/95 = Translate to Upper-Case
20 ;Make a list of the upper and lower case alphabetic letters
  DIMUCase$52=“AaBbCcDdEeFfGgHhIiJjKkLlMmNnOoPpQqRrSsTtUuVvWwXxYyZz”
  ;Dimension an array of 128 bytes
  DIM UCASE$(4)32
  DIM Work$44
  DIM TestValue$44=“The Quick Brown Fox Jumped Over The Lazy Dog”
30 ;In the middle 64 bytes of the 128-byte array (bytes 33 to 96), embed a list containing all of the upper case characters followed by all of the lower case characters
  FOR I = 33 TO 96
     STR(UCASE$(),I,1)=BIN(I-1)
  NEXT I
  ;Set the first 32 bytes also equal to the upper case letters
  UCASE$(1)=UCASE$(2)
  ;Set the last 32 bytes also equal to the lower case letters
  UCASE$(4)=UCASE$(3)
100 ;Test $TRAN()R [slow!]
  FOR I=1 TO 100000
     Work$=TestValue$
     $TRAN(Work$,UCase$)R
  NEXT I
  PRINT “$TRAN()R Test Completed”
200 ;Test $TRAN()7F [fast!]
  FOR I=1 TO 100000
     Work$=TestValue$
     $TRAN(Work$,UCASE$())7F
  NEXT I
  PRINT “$TRAN()7F Test Completed”

Run this program and you’ll discover that $TRAN()R takes twelve times as long when compared to its $TRAN()7F form. If you remove the time required to loop through this test, the performance ratio improves even more.

Creating a “common” module that contains UCASE$() as a PUBLIC variable in a /MAIN procedure provides an ideal solution to this problem!

Well, Craig, you certainly make a good case for your solution! As our way of saying thanks for the tip, we’re sending you a pair of “Visual NPL” sunglasses (to protect your eyes around your dazzling software!)

Keep sending in those tech tips, friends (I’m too old to come up with any on my own.)

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Construction Begins on Niakwa’s WWW Site

Niakwa announces a new source of information about Niakwa’s development software: Niakwa’s World Wide Web Site. The site will include information about the company, sales and marketing brochures, Marketing Bulletins, Technical Notes, FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions), and VAR directories, with much more planned for the future. In addition, an FTP site will soon be available for downloading patches and updates. Currently, the pages are still in the design stages, with a target date in early January for our complete offering. Niakwa’s Home Page can be reached using the URL (Uniform Resource Locator):

    http://www.niakwa.com

We are always looking for new ways to improve our site. If you have any comments or suggestions, or would like information on linking your home pages to our site, contact the Niakwa Sales Department, either by phone, or e-mail (see below).

Although we are currently developing our presence on the Internet, right now you can reach Niakwa directly via e-mail. Niakwa has both MHS-compatible e-mail (connected through CompuServe’s MHS Mail Hub), as well as a new direct Internet e-mail gateway. Access is available to anyone with Internet, Global MHS, or even CompuServe e-mail.

If you have Internet e-mail, address e-mail for...

Niakwa Sales: sales@niakwa.com

Niakwa Support: support@niakwa.com

If you have Global MHS e-mail, address e-mail for...

Niakwa Sales: SALES@NIAKWA

Niakwa Support: SUPPORT@NIAKWA

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Niakwa Distributes SPEED and FourD

That’s right. You can now obtain SPEED and FourD software registrations directly from Niakwa. Why is this important? For several reasons; first, the versions of SPEED or FourD, which come from Niakwa, will always be 100% NPL ready, with no additional conversions required. This insures that you can distribute your applications in the language and platforms which have been time tested and successful for you. Now, whether you currently have software written in SPEED and FourD, or have considered using an application development product for new development, we will be happy to help you get on your way to faster development.

Second, saving time and avoiding duplicate work is important to us all, and making one call to Niakwa will undoubtedly save you time in terms of thought, effort, and turnaround time. The Niakwa team is always available to provide quality and timely service to our VARs.

Third, Niakwa will be responsible for first line support on these sales, just as NSG is for the NPL language sales they coordinate. If you are SPEED and FourD proficient enough to be self-supporting, Niakwa’s assistance may be all you need. We regularly provide the first line of support for uncovering problems in numerous areas such as operating systems, hardware, and development products. So often the root of these problems is not NPL, but we realize you need our assistance to point the way to the solution, often very specifically. If it is determined a problem has to do with NSG products, you can contact NSG directly under the terms of your annual NSG Support Agreement. If you are not currently an NSG licensed VAR, you can contract with NSG for this support, or with another independent support VAR such as Business Data Resources (BDR), an independent support organization endorsed by Niakwa who is fully capable of supporting NSG products. BDR can be reached at phone (206) 827-2580.

What additional cost will you incur to purchase via Niakwa? None. Product pricing is identical to the prices you would obtain directly from NSG. Delivery of NPL software and NSG registration codes will be according to standard policies. Niakwa products are normally shipped in 24 to 48 hours. In summary, we are pleased to offer this addition to our product offerings, and so is NSG. NSG is delighted to have Niakwa involved in making their development products available to more developers.

If you are not currently using the SPEED or FourD 4GL tools and applications, but may be interested for upcoming development projects, we’d love to hear from you. We can tell you more about these application development products and help you determine if they would benefit you.

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Today’s Niakwa News

Today’s Niakwa News is published periodically by Niakwa, Incorporated, 1850 W. Winchester Road, Libertyville, Illinois, 60048. Phone (847)816-7400. Fax (847)816-7420.

Comments, questions and suggestions are welcome and can be directed to the Editor, Today’s Niakwa News, Niakwa.

Copyright 1996 - 2000 by Niakwa. Printed in the USA. All rights reserved. All product names, company names and/or logos are property of their respective companies.