COBOL programming tools from NORCOM
GUI ScreenIO's History
Our first commercial screen manager was the original character-mode ScreenIO that we released in 1985. ScreenIO completely dominated the PC COBOL screen manager market for over a decade, selling thousands of copies into over 80 countries. It was an extremely successful product.
We eventually ported Legacy ScreenIO to Windows, retaining the character-mode look-and-feel, but it was obvious that the world wanted to "go GUI" so we embarked on the GUI ScreenIO development effort in 1995.
The birth of GUI ScreenIO
When we decided to develop a Windows screen manager, we decided to do it right. We considered retaining the Legacy ScreenIO programming interface and simply porting it to Windows. This was rejected because there were a number of inconsistencies in the original interface that we weren't happy about and wanted to eliminate, plus we recognized that the objectives of a new Windows product were simply not compatible with an interface that was designed in 1984.
Why would you want to retain an obsolete (and in some cases, inconsistent) programming interface, particularly if you could provide a straightforward conversion path to a better one?
Therefore, we designed and built GUI ScreenIO completely from the ground up. We spent nearly two years determining how a COBOL application could best interface with Windows, the functionality it required, and how to best implement a simple, clean and consistent programming interface.
Development of GUI ScreenIO
Windows software is considerably more complex than DOS software. Because GUI ScreenIO's panel editor itself uses GUI ScreenIO's runtime, we had the rather unique chicken-and-egg problem of needing a panel editor to make panels for the runtime, but the panel editor needed a runtime to work! Eventually, we reached the point where the panel editor was functional, and we were off and running.
Not to say that it was easy - we invested over 10,000 hours of effort into GUI ScreenIO before we released version 1.0 in 1999. We've been working hard to add features since then, and now probably have another 10,000 hours invested in the product. Was it worth it? Try it and see for yourself.
The great part about GUI ScreenIO is that we did the hard part. You don't need to learn about calling Windows APIs, recursion, message loops, window procedures, and all of the associated stuff needed to work with Windows at the API level. You worry about your own application and let us deal about Windows...
Conversion from Legacy ScreenIO to GUI ScreenIO
Because we managed to preserve the general logic used with the Legacy ScreenIO interface, it's relatively easy to convert to GUI ScreenIO (especially if you use our automated conversion tool).
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