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45 Years Delta ADSLife starts at 40 something: Delta ADS turns 45 this year

Developing software is looking to the future, but sometimes it is good to turn around and look back. As we did, we discovered that the foundations of our products were made almost half a century ago.

The Beginning - 1972 The first Idea

In 1972 Professor Reinhold Thurner, Zürich University, published ‘Entscheidungstabellen: Aufbau, Anwendungen, Programmierung’. He founded the Sodecon AG that implemented his ideas in DETAB/GT (Decision Tables/Generator).

In the beginning, DETAB/GT was able to produce COBOL, PL/I and Fortran and not much later also Assembler.

The Evolution - 1976 ADS was released

Resolving decision tables was only a first step. The idea of generating (slightly) different variants (targets) of programming code from one single source proved a fruitful idea. Over the next years the generator system Delta was developed and released in 1976. The foundation for this development tool is that an application contains a lot of functionality that are just slightly different implementations of each other (File I/O, Screen I/O, Printfiles, reports etc). The generators in Delta contain the abstraction of this implementation with the result that the developer only has to specify the parameters of this specific implementation to be able to get needed functionality.

Besides an increase in productivity (up to three times compared to traditional hand coding, according to some publications) one of the other main advantages is portability. It is that portability that enables software developing companies to sell their products on a number of different platforms without the full developing efforts. It also enables companies to migrate from one platform to another without having to rewrite their applications.

“I am pleased that after almost 50 years, Delta ADS is still being used successfully for the development and migration of large and complex applications.”
Dr. Reinhold Thurner

The concept was very successful: by 1982 there were already 130 installations worldwide and was available for 12 different platforms.

Till today, the majority of installations are found in banking and insurance, governmental institutions and software solution sellers.

DETAB in ISPFThe Future - 2021 and beyond

Like Delta DETAB, Delta ADS for COBOL and PL/I (as it is officially named today) remains a part of our product portfolio. Over the years an estimated 2+ billion unique lines of code have been generated with our generator system, a number that is still growing each year. Initially, DETAB and Delta ADS were only available for the platforms for which they generated code. Today they are also integrated into modern development environments such as Eclipse or Visual Studio and can generate cross-platform.

Delta ADS in EclipseAs the advantages of this generative approach to software development is still valued by our customers we remain committed to supporting them with our tools. The current release 6 of Delta ADS will certainly not be the last as we will continue to find solutions for the challenges our customers experience in their software development process.

Download Language: Englisch - Version: MT21094.01

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Life starts at 40 something: Delta ADS turns 45 this year

Developing software is looking to the future, but sometimes it is good to turn around and look back. As we did, we discovered that the foundations of our products were made almost half a century ago.

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