4D, FMS Development Tools Aid Mac OS X, Access Shops

New tools from 4D and FMS will aid developers who use Apple's Mac OS X and Microsoft's Access extensively.

New tools from 4D Inc. and FMS Inc., respectively, will aid developers who use Apple Computer Inc.s Mac OS X and Microsoft Corp.s Access extensively.

4D this week at Macworld Expo in San Francisco will unveil 4th Dimension 2003 for Mac OS X, a database development suite that features integrated Web services support for XML, SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) and Web Services Description Language. The rapid application development environment and relational DBMS offers application integration features that allow applications to reuse one anothers data and functionality.

The new edition includes wizards that create the code to call Web services—a timesaving step that beta users said is a "really big deal."

Beta tester Jeff Kain, executive vice president of Orchard Software Corp., said it would have taken his company at least six person-years to rewrite applications. Using 4th Dimension 2003, the Carmel, Ind., company will be able to revamp its health care enterprise applications to interface with one another using XML and SOAP in much less time, Kain said. "The most exciting part of the new product is well be able to take advantage of Web services without having to rewrite our apps," he said. "Thats a huge deal to us, with only a dozen developers. We dont have to incur the expenses of significant rewrites."

The Mac OS X version of the product will ship this quarter, with a Windows version following close on its heels, said a spokeswoman for 4D, in San Jose, Calif.

Separately, FMS, of Tysons Corner, Va., is readying Total Access Startup, software that eases deployment and management of the Access database. The software comprises Administrator, for configuring database deployment options, and Launcher, which allows end users to deploy an application.

The tools features will enable database administrators to configure settings once and send shortcuts to all database users without having to worry about installing the proper dependencies or updating local copies, FMS officials said.

Pricing and general availability information has not been determined.