by May 1, 2005 0 comments

Team developer is a full-featured development environment for creating Windows and Web-based applications. It comes with several interesting features. Some of these include the Team Object Manager for source code management, Object Nationalizer for application localization, a database engine and migration wizard to convert 16-bit application to 32-bit applications. 

One thing you would want to evaluate when planning to go for this development platform is its proprietary object oriented Scalable Application Language (SAL). You would have to learn this in order to use the software to the fullest. 

Compared to its earlier version 3.1, this version is available for both Windows and Linux and works seamlessly across both platforms. So, porting an application from Windows to Linux is simply a matter of copying the file to Linux and vice versa. The software has also improved its report generation capabilities. We received the Windows version for review, which took less than 300 MB of HDD space and the installation took less than 15 minutes. 

We created a sample Windows application and found that the IDE helps design applications faster. For instance, there is a coding assistant window with pre-built list of functions and data types, an attribute inspector for controlling the properties of components. Developers familiar with Visual Studio will find the IDE similar. An ActiveX Explorer imports standard ActiveX objects. We imported the Windows calendar object into our windows application and it worked successfully.
We also created Web-based applications and found out that creating it took time because of its own proprietary language. 

SAL can also be used to create OOP (Object Oriented Programming) applications. Developers familiar with other OOP languages will find SAL’s way of creating OOP applications different. A good feature of Team Developer is that you can develop distributed (COM and COM+) applications. 

A comparison between original and modified application through Diff/Merge tool. The bottom right window shows the modified application attribute (text position) in red 

Applications can be connected to the databases such as Oracle, Sybase and Informix. Team Developer 2005 also has tools from SQL Base Server 9.0 (reviewed last month) such as database engine, connectivity administrator, SQL Base Management Console and SQL Talk.

Coming to the debugging features, Team Developer has most of them and also has an Animate option. With this, you can record and later on play the debugging done by the IDE, which is a good feature for reviewing lengthy lines of code. 

You can also convert 16 bit SQL Windows applications to 32 bit using its Migration Wizard tool. It is quite often that you need to customize application according to a country. Object Nationalizer localizes applications by editing labels or strings of the component.

Once the application development is in place the next step is to manage and maintain code among team members. You can use TOM (Team Object Manager) for this, which stores application code in a central repository in the project form. You can create roles for each team member and customize access to stored items. Some of the notable features of TOM are version control, a data-modeling tool that represents the project in a graphical form and the ability to share files between different projects. 

You can compare changes in projects using the Diff/Merge tool. Thus, Team Object Manager is a very good tool to have around whether in a single or multi- developer group.

Team Developer has its own report generation wizard. You can generate a wide variety of reports such as form letters (a unique report), group-wise reports and two-pass reports (the first pass being a pre-calculation step that is an input to the report itself). In nutshell the reporting features are worth useful. 

The Bottom Line: The software features all required tools for application development and maintenance. But be sure to take into account that a new language has to be learnt in order to use this. Lastly, the biggest disadvantage is that there are no separate costs for multiple license packs. Every copy you buy costs the same.

Sushil Oswal

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