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ABL in a Pacific World

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With the announcement of Progress Pacific1 in the wake Progress Software’s acquisition of Rollbase, it is natural for those in the OpenEdge world to wonder what the long term rôle is for ABL in this evolved product. Of course, most people coming from an OpenEdge background know little yet about what Rollbase is and how it changes the overall Progress offering. Moreover, it is understandable that many OpenEdgers are skeptical about how much Rollbase adds since OpenEdge’s own tools for web and mobile solutions are substantial. Currently, Progress marketing is strongly emphasizing the new tool and packaging and it is easy for someone in the OpenEdge world to perceive this as a de-emphasis of OpenEdge and ABL.

In on-line forums and other conversations there have been concerns expressed that ABL was being downplayed in the company’s future in favor of JavaScript. This concern was perhaps reinforced by a statement by Phil Pead during the last conference call referring to ABL as an “impediment” (possibly not the best choice of words). On the other hand, Progress has made many strong statements and actions in the last year which show a renewed and strengthened commitment to the OpenEdge product line.

Therefore, I would like to briefly review how I see RollBase and how ABL fits in to the larger picture of Progress Pacific. My hope is that this review will both provide some answers to the concerns of OpenEdge people as well as to provide some guidance for ways that ABL can add more to the offering of Progress Pacific.

What is Rollbase, really, and what will it become?

There is always a certain difficulty in penetrating the marketing positioning of any product to ascertain what it is and is not. This is, perhaps, exaggerated when the product is positioned as being part of a relatively new and unfamiliar category – in this case Platform as a Service (PaaS)2. Just as with software which is offered in a SaaS offering, it is useful to make a distinction between the product itself and the package in which it is offered.
A PDF of this article is attached below.

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