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LAS VEGAS -- Dueling vendors Microsoft and Borland dominated the opening day of the Interface Group's Comdex /Fall '92. As reported in last month's "Dataline," Borland pushed its data access scheme, IDAPI (which stands for Integrated Database Application Programming Interface), while Microsoft clamored for attention about Access, its new Windows database management system.
Let's take Borland first. Company head Philippe Kahn offered the first keynote of the week, with his vision of "things to come." Kahn shared the stage with Andy Grove, Intel's CEO, during a discussion about the explosive growth of microcomputer processing power. According to Grove and Kahn, while the 486 chip relies on 1.2 million transistors for its steam, Intel's new Pentium chip (expected to be widely used by 1995) taps the capacity of 3.2 million transistors. At this pace, by the turn of the century, users will be engaging the potential of processors with 50 million to 100 million transistors, running at speeds around 500 MHz.
The purpose to Kahn and Grove's musings: Where will the software come from that can take advantage of this hardware? Kahn offered a graph showing that the complex applications of 1983 were written in 100,000 lines of code; by the year 2001, they'll require 10 million lines of code. He has even formulated a principle, called "Philipe's Law," that tries to quantify programmer effectiveness in such extensive development efforts: [Mathematical Expression Omitted] where [L.sub.n] equals the lines of code that can be produced by a single programmer in a year. A lone programmer can code 15,000 lines a year. Every programmer added to the effort reduces the total output. Each member of an eight-programmer team can produce half as much. And a programmer on a 27-person team produces only 5,000 lines.
As those who follow Borland's strategy might guess, Kahn believes the answer to complex application development of the future lies with object-oriented technology, where lines of code aren't the measure of success. (For Kahn's thoughts on the value of object-oriented programming, see his response to comments by Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates on page 51.)
Microsoft spent far less time pondering the far future than showing off its latest offering, Access, as well as FoxPro 2.5 for DOS and Windows. Access was unofficially released the week prior to Comdex, and FoxPro 2.5 DOS is expected to surface about the time you read this. Both received equal amounts of attention during the company's slick Monday launch (perhaps in an effort to convince attendees that both product lines are of equal importance to Microsoft). For details about Access, see Yair Alan Griver's "First Look" article in the December issue of DBA.
Access' introduction received a boost from a new, fledgling third-party. Among the first wave: two financial products. Timeline Financials is a …