Student Originated Software 1997-1998
Winter Quarter

A Software Engineering Course at
The Evergreen State College

GemStone Smalltalk Update

To cap a busy year of product development here at GemStone, we would like to provide you with a snapshot of significant, recent developments in our Smalltalk products. At the same time, we also want to draw your attention to new developments from our Smalltalk product partners, update you on new GemStone Professional Services offerings, point out a new IDC report on Smalltalk and, finally, outline 1998 GemStone Smalltalk product priorities for you so you can make plans for the year ahead.

Smalltalk Product Update

GemStone Server 5.1.2--Shipping Now

Now in third release on our 5.x technology, the GemStone 5.1.2 release continues to improve the overall scalabililty and performance of the server. For example, improvements to complex blocks and commit performance are included along with numerous administrative, fault tolerance and security enhancements. Addtional items of note in the release include: compatability with the proposed X3J20 Smalltalk standard, compression of full back-up files, new, added Smallltalk classes and methods.

GemBuilder for Java 5.1.2

Java clients can now be interfaced to the GemStone/S server and directly access large-scale object models. In this latest release, a host of object manipulation functionality, messaging and transfer functions enhance the Java client interface.

GemBuilder for Smalltalk, and VisualWave 4.0

Both have been qualified to run with server release 5.1.2.

GemAccess for ODBC

Also qualified at this time to run with server release 5.1.2.

GemORB Goes to Production

Major Milestone in Smalltalk and CORBA GemORB, GemStone's fully CORBA-2.0 compliant Object Request Broker, is now released for production applications worldwide. GemStone/S applications can now run as the central point in an enterprise and communicate with IIOP-based clients or other CORBA-enabled legacy systems via the ORB. Extensive beta customer testing at sites such as Rand Merchant Bank, SCT and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories have helped GemStone produce the first commercial implementation of the CORBA OTS in Smalltalk. We would like to thank all of our beta sites here for their outstanding efforts.

GemEnterprise 2.0

GemEnterprise federates distributed GemStone servers by replicating objects between servers over a high-speed RPC link. The newest release of GemEnterprise increases functionality by now allowing a modified replicate to be pushed back to the primary site. In addition, performance improvements owing to reductions in garbage collection, reductions in concurrency conflicts and additional tuning have all enhanced the product.

Toplink 4.0 Available for GemStone 5.1 Now

TOPLink is an application framework that allows Smalltalk applications to access relational databases. Unlike other products, TOPLink provides a high degree of integration between the Smalltalk objects and the relational database tables. In this way, the relational database can be made to behave like an object database.TOPLink for GemStone allows developers to map relational data with GemStone objects without knowledge of SQL. Transactions are synchronized between GemStone and TOPLink for GemStone meaning that applications can commit or rollback with a single method. References from GemStone to your relational database and from your relational database to GemStone are possible using TOPLink for GemStone. Support for Oracle 7.2 and Sybase 11/12 are currently available.

For more information:
or contact Bill Allen at the Object People at 613-225-8812 or by email at

Professional Services Update

GemStone Professional Services has had triple digit growth during 1997 to satisfy demand for new project starts, application development and deployment tuning. Newly available is a week-long GemStone Bootcamp which instructs advanced GemStone users in good programming practices and troubleshooting techniques. Developers and architects are provided an in-depth view of micro architecture, garbage collections, design patterns, performance profiling, and frameworks, to name a few. Bootcamp attendees also receive a number of software toolkits developed by GemStone consultants in their delivery of actual production solutions. These toolkits include design, object, transaction and garbage probes, as well as class check and gscache profilers. The Bootcamp is taught by several of GemStone's 17 full time consultants. These consultants, along with GemStone's talented network of over 100 Smalltalk and GemStone certified subcontractors, are available to help with your design and deployment issues.

The Smalltalk experts we work with now include:

  • Object Wave
  • DHS
  • IBM
  • Link Soft
  • Arbor Intelligence
  • Class Conscious
  • Onyx Group
  • The Object People
  • Reuseable Solutions
  • Performance Software
  • ExperTelligence, Inc.
  • Vigor Technologies
  • Entelech
  • Objectimum
  • Team Tools
  • Winward Solutions
  • BFT
  • KSC

New Smalltalk Paper from IDC Charts Future Smalltalk Growth

A new IDC report surveys Smalltalk users and reveals growth expectations as well as comparative impressions of language maturity. IDC's study reports that Smalltalk usage, after spikes in growth, has steadily grown over the past few years; in 1996, for example, revenues grew approximately 20% (the steady state projected annual growth rate going forward). At the same time, the results confirm a widespread impression that Smalltalk leads other languages in both maturity and stability. IDC believes that a continuing industry committment to Smalltalk is likely and that, as a result, the rapid growth of Java will come at the expense of C++ tools, not Smalltalk. With a continuing commitment from the Smalltalk vendor community and of a very loyal base of users, IDC predicts a "a continued steady increase in the number of Smalltalk users." As of this writing, the report is in printing at IDC.

For more information:

1998 GemStone Plans

After the volume of product releases during 1997, we expect that our customers soon will begin to digest them and that deployments of new products into production will begin in earnest in 1998. Consistent with this deployment backdrop and with market growth, we expect that a 1998 release of the server will be required to address customer needs. We will be working through the details of both timing and content for the 1998 release and communicate them when available. Our strategy will be to minimize the disruption of server-side changes to existing interfaces (GemBuilder for Java, VisualWave, etc.) while focusing the majority of our attention on keeping pace with client-side environment and operating system release changes to provide new functionality on a timely basis.


In 1997 GemStone has made significant investments in the Smalltalk product line. In 1998 we continue to see a need to service enterprise applications with production proven Smalltalk technology. We look forward to continued success in the Smalltalk product line in 1998 and the years ahead. If you have any questions, please give us a call at 800-243-9369 or via e-mail at

Best Regards,
Bill Hostmann
Director of Product Marketing
GemStone Systems, Inc.

For more information contact
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