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4D Goes Server

For a change the hot news comes from France. The first International Development Conference of ACI (known in the US as ACIUS) held in Paris provided the (final?) announcement of the next version of 4th Dimension and of the long-awaited 4D Server.

Warning: US and International 4D version numbers are two less than the French one. So 4D version 5 in France equals 4D version 3 for the US and International markets. Sorry for the confusion – blame ACI (ACIUS).

After seven years ACI has outfitted itself with new clothes in the form of a new company logo (it looks like an "ex-libris," an old seal of a 12th century publisher), a new 4D logo (no more impossible 4, sigh), and new boxes.

On to the technical stuff. 4D Server is a normal application that runs on a dedicated Macintosh and serves data to 4D Client applications located on other Macs in your network. No more file sharing! And it looks fast – 15 clients is a piece of cake, even with a LocalTalk network. Check your favorite Mac magazine for benchmarks in a few months – I’m sure they will have them soon.

4D Server can also serve structures and modules, which means that multiple people can modify the structure of the database while other people use it. If you use modules such as 4D-Write or 4D-Calc the server will transfer them to the client’s RAM, presumably speeding execution and reducing network traffic. The client is intelligent enough to keep the module in memory in case you need it later, further increasing speed and reducing traffic.

4D Server handles multiprocessing so what you did with 4D before can be considered as one process. One (and only one) window is attached to a process, but you can have as many processes as you want. This enables you, for instance, to build floating windows.

With 4D Backup you gain access to better security. 4D Server creates a log file containing all modifications of your database. If your data file crashes, if you accidentally delete 10,000 records, or if your dog unplugs your server, the log file will save your life. Security maniacs will be able to feed another Mac server with the log file every hour (or even more often) to keep a complete logical mirror of the database. They can use that backup immediately if something happens to the main server.

4D version 5 includes all the features of 4D Server (speed increases, multiprocessing capabilities, and the security log file) but is only single-user. New versions of 4D Compiler, 4D-XREF, and 4D Mover are also available.

ACI has copy-protected 4D Server with an ADB dongle on the Mac server. Three clients means three simultaneous people working on the server, but you can have more than three Macs which holds the client application. 4D version 5 asks for the key disk only at installation, so PowerBook users can now travel without their 4D key disks.

ACI will release 4D version 5 by the end of September and the Server by mid-October. Here’s a rundown of the pricing:

 4D Server prices
      3 clients     9 000 FF (French Francs) $1,495 US
      6 clients    15 000 FF  (2 000 x 3)    $2,495 US
     10 clients    21 000 FF  (1 500 x 4)    $3,495 US
     15 clients    27 000 FF  (1 200 x 5)    $4,495 US
     20 clients    33 000 FF  (1 200 x 5)    $5,495 US
     50 clients    69 000 FF                $11,495 US
     unlimited     75 000 FF                $15,000 US

 Upgrades from 4D version 4 to 4D Server:
     4D v4 to 4D Server:         4D Server, 3 clients, 50% discount
     4D v4 Runtime to 4D Server: 4D Server, n clients, 50% discount

 Single-user prices
     4D v5 new          6 200 FF       $895 US
     upgrade            1 400 FF       $195 US

     Compiler v2        6 000 FF     $1,000 US

     4D v5 Runtime      1 200 FF       $195 US
     Runtime x 4        3 600 FF       $595 US
     upgrade              150 FF        $25 US

Information from:
ACI propaganda
Golden (French Mac magazine), #7 — Oct/Nov-92

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