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Visible Systems announces first management tool for evolving to strategic enterprise application development; Visible Systems' new-generation CASE tool gives IS managers a "bird's eye" view of enterprise data, processes, and objects for better control of software development.

WALTHAM, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May 6, 1996--Visible System Corporation today announced the first client/server enterprise application development tool that enables IS managers to merge individual software development projects into a single strategic enterprise repository that captures a company's accumulated business knowledge. Visible Analyst Workbench (VAW) 6.1 enables true enterprise applications engineering by storing and documenting data, processes, and objects that can be shared for real-time multi-user application development throughout the organization. Now, corporations have a mechanism to control enterprise software for quality, consistency, and reusability in business applications. Through the managed sharing and reuse of meta-data VAW 6.1 adds value to IS enterprise expenditures by providing a path to more maintainable systems, shorter development times, and fewer project failures.

Industry analyst John Dunkle, president of Workgroup Strategic Services, commented: "CIOs should take a look at this tool because it can help them get their arms around strategic enterprise issues such as improving the return on development dollars, reducing soaring maintenance costs, and building a sound foundation for current and future enterprise projects. VAW 6.1 can fully shift managers' emphasis from software development maintenance -- which consumes far too many IS dollars -- to productive application development."

"This product will be especially important to IS managers who must ensure the successful integration of complex enterprise applications being developed at different sites for different users," said Visible Systems Chairman and CEO George G. Cagliuso. "With VAW 6.1, they can evolve project by project to a single knowledge-based repository that will eventually represent everything in their business. At the same time, they will have a top-level planning and analysis tool that controls the data and object definitions to ensure consistency among applications. And, because VAW 6.1 supports repeatable processes, it provides the infrastructure for true object-oriented development, which will result in higher-quality business applications, more meaningful data warehouses, and effective multi-tier client/server systems."

VAW 6.1 is a new-generation CASE tool for developing complex client/server applications and databases. Its unique "Enterprise Application Engineering" capability and extensive data modeling features go well beyond the features and functions offered by existing CASE tools. The new capabilities rely on VAW 6.1's integrated, concurrent repository, which uniquely allows dynamic access. All data, processes, and objects in the enterprise project are automatically populated, stored, and cross-referenced against other related repository meta-data.

New Enterprise Application Engineering Capability

Enterprise Application Engineering enables IS managers, data administrators, and business analysts to incrementally build and protect an enterprise model containing data models, class models, and even process models. VAW 6.1 essentially allows the construction of enterprise models through the reverse engineering of existing "satellite" application databases, or models stored in non-enterprise CASE tools. IS managers can then assign pieces of the enterprise project to different business areas, as needed.

Enterprise information is down-loadable to "satellite" projects, enabling developers to share meta-data (i.e., data models, class models, and even process models) from the enterprise model. Then, the satellite projects can be "uploaded" and merged back into the Enterprise project. Unlike competitive products, for which a developer "checks out" a piece of the model that can be used only by that one developer, VAW 6.1 enables concurrent access of meta-data objects by multiple developers,

Enterprise Object Management

VAW 6.1 enables a company to more broadly use object-oriented technology throughout the enterprise. Workgroup Strategic Strategic Services' John Dunkle elaborated: "Typically, object-oriented development has been a skunkworks in isolated departments, and organizations have had a hard time reusing components across business units. To get to enterprise-wide use of object technologies, an organization must understand and document data and processes and be able to share them among projects. VAW 6.1's enterprise application development solution can help companies move in this direction."

Because VAW 6.1 defines and documents object classes against data and processes, it allows the reuse of object classes across organizational boundaries. Now, IS managers and developers can understand which components are appropriate for specific projects and where they are located.

VAW 6.1 ensures that objects have consistent definitions by providing the "approved" meta-data definition from the enterprise model to all organizational development groups that need to reference it. This eliminates the time- and labor-consuming process of developers checking with each other to reconcile definitions. Developers can be confident that the meta-data definitions are standard across the organization, resulting in a smoother systems integration process.

New Data Modeling Features

In addition to being a management tool for mission-critical systems, VAW 6.1 also facilitates the actual system development and implementation. Several new features extend the capabilities of earlier VAW versions, including support for logical data types, a trigger wizard, enhanced SQL dialect support, physical data model views, and automated relationship denormalization during SQL generation. Logical data types make it easier to transition from one database vendor to another using import and export capabilities. VAW 6.1 maps logical data types to the correct physical data types for the desired SQL database.

The "Trigger Wizard" feature automatically generates referential integrity triggers, giving developers a short cut to implementing a database process. Once the trigger has been created, the developer can make changes, and the repository will verify triggers during SQL generation. VAW 6.1 supports the latest versions of Microsoft SQL Server 6.0, Sybase SQLServer System 11, Informix 6.0, Gupta SQLBase 6.0, and other popular database dialects.

VAW 6.1 also provides a physical data model view, enabling the database administrator (DBA) to display the physical equivalent of a logical entity using information stored in the repository for the entity and associated attributes. Now the DBA can view the logical and physical models of the database using a single-source repository for both sets of information. This enforces consistency between physical and logical models.

Relationship denormalization allows developers to determine denormalization choices for relationships, either duplicate or collapse columns. and generate a different set of tables through SQL.

Pricing and Distribution Information

VAW 6.1 will be available from Visible System and its extensive network of authorized worldwide distributors and resellers during the third quarter. For volume purchases, effective pricing for multi-user installations will be as low as $1500 to $1995 per concurrent user. Single-user standalone units are also offered, with volume and educational discounts available.

Visible Systems Corporation

Visible Systems Corporation, headquartered in Waltham, MA, is a leader in the development of integrated tools for automating design, development, and reverse engineering of software applications and systems. The company's principal product, Visible Analyst Workbench, is a workgroup-oriented, repository-based, methodology-independent CASE toolset, which integrates planning, analysis, design construction, and reverse engineering in client/server environments. In some customer installations, VAW has supplanted older-generation tools, such as ADW and Excelerator(TM). Visible Systems and its affiliates offer training, support, and other technology migration services. -0-

(C) 1996 Visible Systems Corporation. Visible System and Visible Analyst are registered trademarks of Visible Systems Corporation.

CONTACT: Stewart B. Nash

Visible Systems Corporation

(617) 890-CASE

or

Linda Marquis

Marketing Communications

(603) 881-5358
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