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The Holmes Page CA-Visual Objects 2.5 Released

CA-Visual Objects CA-Clipper


ISLANDIA, N.Y., June 29, 1999 - Computer Associates has just released CA-Visual Objects 2.5, a long-awaited upgrade to 32-bit version 2.0. To a large extent, version 2.5 exists because representatives of several CA-VO user groups appealed to CA to put some effort into the product instead of sweeping it under the rug (which has often been CA's business practice). So here is an instance where a big company has actually listened to its users.

CA calls CA-VO "the ultimate object-oriented application development environment for Windows platforms". Let's hope that they believe their own marketing material enough to give CA-VO the support it deserves!

For the most part, CA-VO 2.5 is the same as 2.0, but with improved integration with industry standards, user-interface refinements, and bug fixes. Here is a summary of the features.

• Integrated support for Jasmine
• creation of OLE servers
• works with Visual SourceSafe

Integrated development environment

The familiar IDE has received some cosmetic changes, but is essentially the same as 2.0. Third-party developers can still add functionality or "hook into" the repository through an API available in the CA-VO SDK, adding new entity types and their associated editors and compilers.

Jasmine for storage of complex data

CA-VO 2.5 includes native support for Jasmine, CA's object database. Like many of CA's products, people say "huh?" when asked about Jasmine, but insiders have good things to say about it. The user group representatives suggested the integration of CA-VO with Jasmine, perhaps as a way to make CA realize that CA-VO could be marketed as the "official programming interface" to Jasmine and other CA products. If CA-VO has a role throughout the CA product line (as they indicated in their 1993 strategy document "Application Development for the 90s") then they are more likely to support it fully.

Integration with Microsoft Visual SourceSafe

In previous versions of CA-VO, development teams had to export source code from CA-VO and manually check it in and out of version-control tools. CA-VO 2.5 now includes integrated support for Microsoft Visual SourceSafe into the IDE. One of the reasons that I like CA-VO is that it is not a Microsoft product, yet it works well with them.

New classes, including ODBC and ActiveX

CA-VO 2.5 includes new classes which enable development of Internet-based applications, such as e-mail, FTP, POP, SMTP, socket, and ISAPI. There are also classes to support ODBC, OLE/COM, and ActiveX. The user group representatives insisted that CA-VO 2.5 have the ability to create OLE servers, not just OLE clients like other development tools. Happily, CA-VO 2.5 includes an OLE server library which lets CA-VO application logic be used by all OLE-compliant tools. Other classes include a Console class for the NT Server console and a DataListview class, a Listview control with a DBServer to get an columnar display by field (remember DBEDIT?).

Other features

  • Graphic file support for most major graphic file formats
  • Repository indexing from within the repository
  • DLL Debugging
  • Application Gallery which lets you select Standard, Basic, OLE Server, and Internet templates
  • More sample apps
  • Optional splash screen feature
  • Better compiler and linker

System requirements

CA states that CA-VO 2.5 requires:

  • Intel or compatible 486-based PC, Pentium or higher recommended
  • Microsoft Windows 95, 98, or NT 4.0 SP3 or higher
  • 32MB RAM, 64MB recommended
  • 75MB hard disk space, 300MB recommended
  • CD-ROM drive
  • Microsoft Visual SourceSafe for source control features

My personal experience with CA-VO 1.0 and 2.0 indicates that they will indeed run on a fast 486, but certainly the IDE is a good excuse for a Pentium with lots of RAM!


CA's suggested retail prices for CA-Visual Objects are:

    CA-Visual Objects 2.5  US$499
Upgrade from CA-Visual Objects 2.0 Professional US$299
Upgrade from CA-Visual Objects 2.0 Standard US$379
CA-Visual Objects Software Development Kit US$325

For more information, visit www.cai.com/products/visual_objects.htm. When you visit the page, you will notice that there is no flashy banner announcing the new version of CA-VO. That is typical of Computer Associates, who don't seem to have a clue how to market anything. I would have fired their advertising agency/department years ago for the incredibly boring, useless, uninformative, and irrelevent ads they created. I was so annoyed by their treatment of CA-VO 2.5 that I recently sent this comment:

I am somewhat dismayed to see the complete lack of excitement on your Web site about the release of CA-VO 2.5. You should have an eye-catching banner on your main page (www.cai.com). Your (lack of) marketing was completely responsible for the near failure of CA-VO and the abandonment of it by so many developers. You don't seem to realize the value of it as an alternative to Microsoft's products.

I encourage you to submit a similar comment to them. Use their feedback page.

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