Omnis is a "Dead" Language?

Bastiaan Olij lists at basenlily.nl
Sun May 11 06:24:31 EDT 2008


Hi John,

All though the number of subscribers to the list gives an indication of 
the size of our community, however do not assume it gives an accurate 
picture of how popular Omnis is. As Sten Erik pointed out, only a 
fraction of developers using Omnis actually are subscribed to the list. 
If I understood correct the number of developers that signed up to the 
old portal was already far larger. Also think of the many non (native) 
english speaking users, Omnis has been popular for many years in 
countries like Germany, Italy, France and probably many I forget to name.
When I look at my current company, at the height of our Omnis days we 
had I think 7 or so people working with Omnis, I was the only one 
actually subscribed to the list and actively involved at least for some 
years until I became to busy which I still think is a loss.
My collegues treated the list as an archive to find answers on, and to 
occasionally (through me) ask questions when they couldn't figure things 
out. Other then that, it was a waste of time taking them away from their 
job. I don't agree with this point of view, yes there are days that I 
spend more time reading and answering messages on the list, but the work 
it has saved me due to the help and friendships I have build over the 
year... But thats a different story.

As for your suggestion to make Omnis more successful, in my humble 
opinion I think your conclusion is wrong. Omnis is not successful 
because its an interpreted language, its not successful for its IDE 
(allthough its debugging ability still outways most products I've worked 
with, especially the far reaching ability to change code while 
debugging), it would not improve it because a shell around JAVA or any 
other 3GL language.Those things help, but they are not the key points, 
again imho.

Omnis' strong point lies much deeper. Omnis' strong point lies in they 
way things are build up. The way you work with data in Omnis, the way 
you build the application, the way that every control be it a checkbox, 
entry field, list box, or other works in almost identical ways, the 
easiness of using lists, especially when binding data to fields, the way 
that when you develop in Omnis a lot of the complexities involved with 
programming, simply aren't there.
It means that people who normally would not have the knowledge to 
program, people who would get completely lost with JAVA, C++, C#, or 
even VB, can pick it up, learn it in a few days, and before they know 
it, have a working application that rivals anything schooled programmers 
can come up with. To be exact, often these applications are better 
because they are not build by programmers (like myself) who don't have 
an inkling of understanding of whatever business their application is 
for (unless they've been active in it for years and are on version x of 
their app), but they could now be build by the very people that 
understand the business better then anyone else.

In this respect, all though I think Studio is miles ahead of Classic and 
I really love it, I think Studio was actually a step backwards. Studio 
introduced many programming techniques to Classic that made it all the 
more powerful, but also all the more hard to understand. It suddenly 
took someone with programming knowledge, and understanding of OO and all 
that sort of jazz, to be just as successful as a someone without these 
skills was in Classic. I'm not complaining though, makes me all the more 
important in a team <g>

So in the long run, if you turn Omnis into something that is similar to 
JAVA or C#, you actually loose the target audience that has been so 
successful in using this tool, and you just end up competing with the 
big boys instead of succeeding in this niche market that Omnis is so 
adapt in.

But again, thats just my idea:)

Greetz,

Bas

John F. Lambert wrote:
> With all the recent chatter, I couldn't help noticing that the number of developers on the list(s) is well under 1000!
>
> The fact that Omnis is "little known" is not news to me...  the fact that the number of developers is dropping is...
>
> I have so much invested in Omnis, I wouldn't know where to begin if I had to change - I think I would just stop, as my Omnis work is not my primary income source.  Of course, if Omnis 7 is anything to go by, just because it is no longer actively developed doesn't mean I won't be able to continue to use it for a decade or so!
>
> But seriously, if Omnis is dying, that matters...
>
> But hang on - Omnis is an interpreted "p-code" language with a pretty cool IDE, and a great framework and super powerful native data management engine... plus all it's connectivity to any extension object or database you can think of...
>
> Omnis would be at the TOP of that list of programming languages (http://www.tiobe.com/index.php/content/paperinfo/tpci/index.html) if the p-code it created was the same as the java p-code..., and the OO language was tweaked to mimic Java functionality and code to it (a bit like C++ used to code to C)
>
> This would either be a really cool exit strategy for Omnis, or a really cool new market for Omnis - become the leading development environment for java - (better than Netbeans!)
>
> Based on history, Blyth would probably do a pretty cool job of the migration tool as well, saving our millions of hours of collective code!
>
> Any thoughts?
>
> John
>
> P.S. How can Omnis survive on less than 1000 developer licence/support fees?
>
>
>
> Dr John F. Lambert
> FJFICM  FANZCA  MB BS  BSc (Med)
> Managing Director
>
> Deltra Pty Ltd
> PO Box 149
> ORANGE  NSW  2800
> AUSTRALIA
> Ph:  (02) 6363 1733
> Fax: (02) 6360 2459
> http://www.deltra.com.au/  
>
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