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DSC Supports Windows


Revision 11 of Database Systems Corp. products now operates under WINDOWS, Revision 3.5 and greater. This operation takes on several forms and affords our customers the ability to run in a true client/server environment as well as in a traditional terminal/server mode.

DSC products can now reside on either a WINDOWS based PC or remain on a UNIX server. Likewise, DSC products can be run in a mixed mode, where applications can be running on both UNIX systems and on WINDOWS PCs concurrently. DSC customers can now pick their computing environment and determine the best implementation for their application needs. In conjunction with DSC’s support for ODBC on WINDOWS, the WINDOWS support for all of DSC products significantly "opens" database applications to a wide computing spectrum.

The enhancements made to FASTPlus to support this WINDOWS/UNIX bridge have significant impact on DSC customers. FASTPlus now operates under WINDOWS with its full complement of utilities and administrative functions, giving our users the capability to fully duplicate their applications, that previously could only run under UNIX, on WINDOWS PCs.

And finally, DSC applications can execute on WINDOWS PCs with a complete Graphical User Interface (GUI). Screens that previously appeared only on Character Mode devices such as VT100 compatible terminals (or on PCs or Workstations running VT100 emulation) can now be displayed on PC windows with full graphical features such as Mouse support, Point and Click operation, and other windows features which PC users have grown accustomed and expect.


FASTPlus has been enhanced to operate on WINDOWS PCs. All of the utilities and libraries now fully reside on the PC. The FASTPlus library can be linked with any PC application, and all FASTPlus functions are available to the programmer that only existed on UNIX systems in the past. FPADMIN can also reside on the PC to manage the operation of FASTPlus and maintain any files residing on the PC.

FASTPlus network support has been significantly enhanced to allow access to files maintained on WINDOWS PCs, as well as on UNIX systems. Data can easily be accessed across a wide variety of computer systems and PC networks. FASTPlus recognizes the differences among these computers and PCs, and automatically provides the application with data that is compatible with each unique system on which the application resides.

FASTPlus now has an ODBC driver that operates on a WINDOWS PC. This driver enables PC applications that support ODBC (currently there are hundreds including most MICROSOFT utility programs) to access and update FASTPlus files without any program modification or without even reloading. (Refer to the document FASTPlus ODBC Driver.)


The most simple manner in which DSC products and applications can operate under WINDOWS is as DOS-like programs that operate as single processes very similarly to UNIX programs. Each DSC product runs in its own window under MS-DOS. Multiple windows can be invoked with multiple copies of each product running within its own window. Terminal input and output is handled through native WINDOWS APIs rather than using a terminal emulation. A new terminal type has been added to DSC products, which must be assigned to each process. This new terminal type is called WINDOWS NT.

All products can execute in this manner, and the names and command line options are identical to their UNIX counterparts. Thus, to execute TELEMATION under WINDOWS, the user need only type:

telem -term  WINDOWSNT -user SYSTEM -campgn ADMIN

This is simply an example of the invocation process for a WINDOWS based product at the MSDOS prompt level. Of course, this command can be built into a procedure and executed from the desktop by clicking an Icon or by selecting it from a menu.

The operation of any DSC product (or application using database screens) is identical to UNIX. The user navigates through the product or application using the TAB keys, Function keys, or the ENTER key just as he or she would if the application were running under UNIX. Therefore, the user interface is maintained. The WINDOW screen font and colors can be altered in a similar manner as a terminal under UNIX.

WINDOWS Client with WINDOWS Server

DSC's customers may now design and execute programs on WINDOWS PCs that effectively run on multiple PCs in a client/server environment. DSC provides a client process, which can attach to any other PC (or itself, for that matter) and execute a process on that PC, that is database client/server enabled.

The WINDOWS client process lets the user attach to any other WINDOWS based PC by giving the user a list of available networked PCs on which a database server process is running. When the user selects another networked PC, the database server starts up a process on the server PC that attaches to the user’s client process. The client process and the server process communicate with each other by sending WINDOWS screens and messages back and forth, as well as WINDOWS screen information. This is very similar to Block Mode data transmission between intelligent terminals and UNIX processes. However, the client process has much more functionality and intelligence than these older devices, and the communication between the client and server is far more sophisticated.


Another option available to DSC customers is the ability to run our WINDOWS client on a PC, which communicates with a UNIX server. In this case, the WINDOWS user simply invokes the client process and attaches to any UNIX server that has been enabled on the database network. A server program must reside on this UNIX system, and by initiating the client process on the WINDOWS PC, the clients will startup a server process on the UNIX system. This is very similar to the WINDOWS to WINDOWS process.

In this scenario, the database client process is simply exchanging screen information and messages with the UNIX server process. However, the WINDOWS client process can perform any number of other functions on its own such as Cut & Paste, Cursor and Mouse movement, data editing and validation, as well as other WINDOWS functions such as executing WORD or MSQuery functions independent of the server process.


The salient feature of the new WINDOWS interface to DSC products and applications is its graphical user interface that resides on the WINDOWS client. This client process accepts and interprets screen and message information from another server process (residing on the same WINDOWS system, a different WINDOWS server, or a UNIX server). This GUI client is written in native WINDOWS using Microsoft’s WINDOWS libraries. Since it is a true WINDOWS application, this client program can be modified and enhanced to perform virtually any function that is available to other WINDOWS products.

Screens that have previously been developed under UNIX can now be automatically invoked under the WINDOWS client without modification. By default, protected text on the screen appears as simple WINDOWS text controls, whereas unprotected or input fields from this same screen will appear as edit controls under WINDOWS. All of the WINDOWS features and properties of these edit controls are made available to the WINDOWS client user.

Screen editing has now been transferred to the WINDOWS client process, so that range checks, field justification, required fields, and table lookup are now performed on the PC. And this is just the beginning. Future revisions will incorporate new WINDOWS based functions such as action keys, additional editing, and menu support.

However, the power of the GUI client will be fully realized as this client process is customized to include user defined functions and menus, as well as the direct interface with other PC applications and utility functions.


All DSC products will be installed using a standard installation process that leads the user through a step-by-step approach. This is included on a CD with simple load and install instructions.