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Announcing 64-bit Unicode DataFlex

By Chip Casanave

Data Access Worldwide consistently focuses on making DataFlex a stable, reliable, high productivity application development platform. We also evolve DataFlex in a manner that will maintain developers’ application investments by providing continuity across product revisions.

In addition to adding new features and capabilities for developers, we must also enhance the DataFlex platform to utilize other widely accepted technologies and industry standards. We are excited to announce two important, platform enhancing initiatives that are underway now:

  • 64-bit DataFlex
  • Unicode DataFlex

Although Unicode and 64-bit are different technology implementations, the two projects are being carefully coordinated with the intention that they will converge and be delivered in a single, new DataFlex release. More technical details and release dates will be published in the future.

Background: 64-bit DataFlex

All current Microsoft Windows OSs are 64-bit – Windows 10 for the desktop and tablets and all versions of Microsoft Windows Server. Simply, 64-bit is the current and future specification for operating systems and Data Access Worldwide is in the process of building a version of DataFlex for them.

64-bit Windows operating systems run 64 and 32-bit applications. While some applications today let you choose between 32 and 64-bit versions, many, such as Microsoft Visual Studio 2017 and DataFlex, are only available in 32-bit. To take advantage of 64-bit specifications and to be able to create compatible 32-bit applications from the same code, 64-bit DataFlex will enable developers to build and deploy both 32 and 64-bit applications. This will provide maximum flexibility for applications and customers that remain in 32-bit environments and a smooth path to the future when 64-bit is needed.

64-bit DataFlex – project status…

  • The 64-bit DataFlex project was started in late 2016
  • New, dedicated resources are assigned
  • Implementation is underway. Many modules are converted to 64-bit but it is still a work in progress
  • Internal 32-to-64-bit changes are extensive; lots of testing will be required

Background: Unicode DataFlex

“Unicode is a computing industry standard for the consistent encoding, representation and handling of text expressed in most of the world’s writing systems” (Wikipedia). It incorporates a total of 136,755 characters that make up all 139 of the world’s written languages. Simply, Unicode is the standard for character data.

A Unicode DataFlex will provide…

  • The Euro symbol (€) and all other currency symbols
  • The ability to use, manipulate and store Unicode character data from 139 supported languages without the need to consider OEM or ANSI character types or code pages
  • The ability to handle data from multiple languages in one application
    • Example: a German ecommerce application that can accept German, Italian, Swedish and Russian names and addresses

 Unicode DataFlex project status…

  • The project was started mid-2017
  • New, dedicated resources are assigned
  • Design and project planning are underway; it is a work in progress

Goals for the converged 64-bit Unicode DataFlex product

  • To enable the development and deployment of 64 and 32-bit applications from the same application source code
  • At its core, to be a fully Unicode product
  • To minimize changes in developers’ code in order to use 64-bit Unicode DataFlex
  • Recognizing that 64 bit and Unicode will require some code changes, to identify the necessary changes and provide developers with a roadmap and support to ease application migration
  • To let developers adopt the new versions when they are ready; to not force change until developers and their customers are ready for it

We will keep you updated as these initiatives progress and look forward to delivering them when they meet the standards of performance, reliability and stability that is expected of all DataFlex products.