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Technical Discussion
Designed for Today's Business Environment
Global's UNISON product is the most feature-rich Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system available to publishers today. UNISON's open architecture is designed to allow expansion and scalability as technology and business needs change. It has the flexibility to support multiple hardware platforms, multiple database systems and numerous third-party add-ons.

UNISON employs open standards. This means that customers may easily access their data from any product that uses standard tools such as Structured Query Language (SQL), Open Database Connectivity (ODBC) and Electronic Data Interchange (EDI). Our solution can be implemented using all Windows servers or a combination of Windows and UNIX servers. 

Technology Discussion
The functional fit certainly should be a main concern when evaluating software packages. Besides the functional fit, the vendor you choose should also have a stable, but leading-edge technology in order to protect the investment. Global presently has clients on three generations of our Publishing solutions. We clearly have demonstrated a track record of success. Each one of our solutions has been leading-edge solutions in their time. This is certainly the case with our current solution.

The bottom line is that UNISON works through the rigors of client proven rugged work environments. We are continually staying current with technology. 

Open System Model
The software architecture consists of four independent layers which can be assembled in any combination without affecting the application software. This flexibility offers clients the maximum hedge against technical obsolescence, as well as the desired ability to meet the challenges of rapid up or downsizing. It also provides the tools to economically accommodate changing industry and functionality requirements.

 
FOUR KEY LAYERS

Presentation Layer
• Character or 32bit n-tiered Client/Server
• Client/Server for Query and Reporting
Database Layer (Relational Database)
• Oracle 7, Microsoft SQL Server
Application Layer
• Unify VISION 4GL ToolSet using CORBA objects
• Support for Mixed Host and Client/Server Environments
Client/Server Operating Environment
• PC or Terminal to Host Character Mode
• 32 bit n-tiered Client/Server environment (Web browser )
• Windows Application server(s)
• UNIX or Windows 2000 Database server(s)


ARCHITECTURAL COMPONENTS

Objectives
• Long product life-cycle
• Protection from obsolescence by using modular components model
• Ability to tailor the right solution for each client 
Enterprise Processing
• Deployment can be tailored to the needs of any size organization
• Allocate the processing load across any number of servers
• Failover control between servers for business critical processing 
Hardware Independence
• Currently deployed on IBM, Sun, Linux and HP UNIX Servers
• Compatible with any UNIX compliant server 
• Clients can be Windows NT, Windows 95, Windows , or any Java capable computer (Mac, Linux, etc.) 
Attributes 
• Industry-accepted fourth generation language
• Relational Database
• Hardware Independence
• Network Independence
• Revision/Configuration control
• Logical evolution to true client/server
• Multi-Session Capabilities on both terminal and Windows-based clients simultaneously

Unify’s VISION toolset is an enterprise solution for application management in the Graphic User Interface environment. The entire VISION solution includes an application management service module that allows configuration of the GUI environment. This includes the management of distributed code to client, application processing across multiple servers, and the management of database work across multiple servers. This can include complete fault tolerance and redistribution of the workload in the case of a server problem.

Complete Development Environment
The VISION Development System is a combination of software tools designed for the cost-effective development of mission-critical client/server applications. The system includes powerful components, which dramatically reduce the time required for application development and maintenance. 

All programs written in VISION use true OOP structures like object inheritance and base-classing. The modular architecture of ACCELL/SQL and VISION combines an application generator, fourth generation language and interactive debugger with an ANSI standard database interface and network connectivity components. Developers gain the collective benefit of powerful, productive tools and proven database technology, all at an affordable price. In addition, applications are portable across the industry's leading hardware platforms, databases, user interfaces and client/server networking environments. 

Rapid Application Development
Using the VISION application generator to create forms, developers can either paint a screen from scratch or use an automatically-created default form. Prototyping with default forms can reduce development time by 50 percent when compared to standalone 4GL products. 

With Unify’s 4GL "programming by exception" feature, developers can use the application generator to create the majority of the application without coding, and use the 4GL to complete only the most sophisticated features. 

Through Unify’s powerful 4GL, logic can be added to a form quickly and easily, building intelligence into the application. Developers can incorporate sophisticated control logic and computational power without the use of a third generation language. 

Sophisticated Programming Features
The 4GL offers developers a full range of powerful programming features, supporting more than 250 4GL statements, data types and functions:

- Object Oriented Base Classification 
- ANSI SQL statements
- Text and binary data types
- Arrays
- Zoom functionality
- Global functions and access to C routines, if desired
- Dynamic SQL code generation 

By supporting both text and binary data types, Unify’s 4GL manipulates text and processes graphics, sound and other binary objects in the application. Global variables can be defined in the master form script for use throughout the application, simplifying data passing and allowing forms to interact easily through the 4GL scripts. 

Unify’s 4GL supports bothone-dimensional (LIST) and two-dimensional (MATRIX) arrays, reducing coding and improving application performance. A single statement can bring powerful ZoomView functionality to the application, increasing user productivity and reducing data entry errors. 

Flexible Development Environment
With the VISION or ACCELL/SQL Development System, developers can either use the powerful integrated development environment or take full advantage of external development tools such as source code control systems, "make" utilities, editors or menu-driven development environments -- gaining immediate productivity without time-consuming retraining. 


Whether you choose Oracle Server or MS SQL Server, you will receive unprecedented ease-of-use with the proven power and performance of industry-leading technology. Pre-tuned and pre-configured for today's dynamic workgroup environments, the UNISON database includes a fully integrated set of easy-to-use management tools. Replication and Distributed Data Access allow users to share relational data across applications and servers.

Scalability for Future Growth
Based on a scalable architecture, the UNISON database server reduces deployment costs while leveraging the broadest range of hardware. From single-server environments for small businesses to highly distributed branch environments, the UNISON database server includes all the facilities necessary to build business-critical applications, ensure efficient and reliable data access, and effectively manage corporate data. Because the same UNISON code base runs on any system from laptop to parallel systems, applications and data scale transparently.

Easy to Use
the UNISON database server incorporates ease-of-use features that make it ideal for distributed computing environments. An intuitive install procedure provides all that is needed to get a pre-tuned and pre-configured database server up and running. The fully integrated, graphical Oracle or SQL Server Enterprise Manager allows administrators to perform complex management tasks with point and click ease. The combined power and simplicity allows any administrator, from part-time to expert, to manage the UNISON database server, freeing up time for other tasks.

UNISON takes full advantage of state-of-the-art features like rollback, stored procedures and triggers. UNISON was designed from the beginning for RDBMS databases.

Key Technical Features

Transaction Processing
• Scalable SMP performance
• Shared database buffer, SQL and dictionary caches 

Data Replication
• Multiple, read-only snapshots
• Full transactional consistency and data integrity
• Full and subset table replication
• Incremental refresh of snapshot copies
• Event and demand based refresh 

High Availability
• On-line backup by file, table space, or database
• On-line recovery 
• Dynamic and automatic resizing of database files
Concurrency Control / Reliable Results
• Unrestricted row-level locking 
• No lock escalation 
• Contention-free queries 
• Non-blocking, multi-version read-consistent query results 

Distributed Queries and Transactions
• Transparent distributed query and update 
• Transparent two-phase commit
• Distributed, optimized joins 
• Location and network transparency 

Data Security
• Choice of internal or external user authentication 
• Encrypted passwords 
• Fine-grained database privileges 
• Hierarchical role-based security for group-level access control
• Read-only table space
Global’s eUNISON eCommerce APIs allow you to connect your intranet, extranet or shopping cart system directly to the business logic (not just the database) of the UNISON System. There are APIs that enable such things as adding lines to an order, adding a shipping address, confirming authorization, checking a price, placing the order and more. The list of APIs keeps growing. All of this is done with customer-specific discounting structures taken into account. Orders placed via a website using the eUNISON APIs look like orders taken by your order-entry operators, allowing a smaller call center and more information at your customer’s fingertips.