Unix International Inc has so far logged nine responses to its Application Linking request for technology, including Lotus Development Corp, which is submitting its Link, Embed and Launch to Edit technology and Symbotics Inc. The others are all shy about being named. Unix International says most other submissions come from companies involved with the Common […]
Unix International Inc has so far logged nine responses to its Application Linking request for technology, including Lotus Development Corp, which is submitting its Link, Embed and Launch to Edit technology and Symbotics Inc. The others are all shy about being named. Unix International says most other submissions come from companies involved with the Common Open Software Environment and the Object Management Group. The technology, which is intended to enable users tp link, transfer and share objects between documents created by different Unix desktop applications and between Unix and Microsoft Corp Windows applications, is intended to become a standard feature of Unix desktop applications by the first half of 1994. According to Mark Doran, Unix International’s technical project manager, Application Linking won’t be a full object-oriented specification and is intended only as a stop-gap definition until the Object Group delivers object linking and embedding guidelines in two years’ time. Unix International’s approach is compliant with Object Management Group’s Object Request Broker and Unix International anticipates that Application Linking’s reference implementation will provide a migration path to Object Management Group-compliant implementations as they become available. However, the initial Application Linking specification will possess object-like characteristics to allow for further developments and support for Object Group’s Object Request Broker Architecture. Application Linking Technology is similar in function to Microsoft Corp’s Object Linking & Embedding specification, which enables users to cut and paste objects, text, spreadsheets, sound, video and graphics between different Windows applications. This linking should be possible on a stand-alone desktop or across a network. Unix International says Application Linking capabilities will significantly enhance the attractiveness of Unix-based applications in general-use environments. Unix International anticipates the technology will be standardised on every Unix desktop vendor’s system and available to software developers, and it promises to work with all segments of the marketplace to move the technology forward quickly. Unix International issued the Request for Proposals under its Expanded Reference Technology Selection Process announced in February. Unix International members have determined the requirements and will pick the reference technology.
Cut and paste
Unix International will then release the interface specifications and conformance tests to the industry to encourage development of other compliant implementations. The choice of a reference implementation for Application Linking is expected this autumn. Application Linking Technology will enable desktop Unix users cut and paste via a graphical user interface like Motif objects such as text, spreedsheet data, bitmap pictures, vector drawings, sound or video clips from one software application to another. Objects will be automatically updated in the documents they’re copied to or host documents as they are updated in the software package they were created in. Objects will also be scaled from within host documents. The biggest problem facing Unix International is Windows and Unix interoperability. It is concerned about the lack of Windows technical expertise and the effect this will have on specification schedules. Doran says We haven’t much technical expertise in the area of Windows and we’re wary of being too invasive of its code. If we don’t get it right then developers will be very reluctant to integrate the technology. Other Application Linking concerns include developing real-time object linking and embedding techniques and improving the level of data exchange. Full Application Linking Technology proposals will be announced on June 6.