UNIFACE is a 4GL for application development that offers unprecedented capabilities in a heterogeneous computing environment, providing transparent integration of 28 hardware platforms, 22 databases and 5 graphical user interfaces. With its unique system of drivers, UNIFACE is able to customise both database interaction as well as user presentation to each specific database and graphical user interface. However, as these products are constantly changed and updated, Uniface faces an continuous and enormous development effort.
The purpose of the experiment is to apply, test and evaluate the use of the object-oriented methodology 'Object Modeling Technique' (OMT) as a tool for increasing the productivity and the quality of the internal development process. Since the drivers on a logical level share the same structure, we expect to benefit from the re-use capabilities of object orientation. The concepts of OMT require the developer to analyse problems in terms of the entire application domain and to apply a consistent approach throughout the entire software engineering life-cycle. In order to limit the scope of the experiment, OMT shall be evaluated by the redevelopment of an already existing network and database drivers.
If this experiment succeeds, the main benefits are: (l) having analysed the driver development process as a whole for one existing driver, the future development of complete new drivers will take much less time (2) grouping of behaviour and data leads to better structured code and a more efficient maintainability (3) acquisition of a complete and 'ready to use' environment for object-oriented development. The set up of an OO environment includes hardware, software and standards and procedures for the development process and its deliverables (4) in the fast changing environment Uniface operates in, the structuring of the development process will finally improve the response to market demands.