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Used by William P. Fritz
© W P Fritz
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Evolution of Computing Platforms
Also see "Use of C/C++/C#", "Use of Basic", "Skill relationships", or return to the main menu

     Hardware Software
60s-70s Many scientific analog recorders: Brush, Harvard, Cambridge. Oscilloscopes, Coulter Counters, EKG machines
Software was a term used to describe tools used to record and tabulate data, such as pencils, paper, folders, spanners, rulers, slide rules and paperclips.
1972 Olivetti P-602 digital microcomputer; Programmable calculator used for biosimulations and solving repetitive complex equations;
Medlars dialup Centralized medical library access
1977 Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) PDP-11 minicomputer, VT105 terminals, DEC-10 mainframe RT-11 / MINC-11, Real-time data collection and analysis, Basic
Application software as we know it today was generally not available. Software and relevant books weren't written yet. User Groups were extremely helpful in the process of writing the code to accomplish tasks in the laboratory.
1978 Apple II/II+ microcomputer Apple DOS / Integer Basic, FP Basic, Pascal, Motorola 6502 Machine Language
1981 Hewlett-Packard (HP) 1000 minicomputer, 2648 terminals, X-Y plotters FMGR / 3357 LAS Laboratory Automation, Real-time; Research Information Processing System (RIPS). HP DB Image/Query, HPGL, HPPCL
1981 International Business Machines (IBM) 360/4000 mainframe, 3478 terminals MVS, JCL, TSO, cardreaders and punches, Fortran IV and 77, Focus, SAS, SPSS
1981 Perkin-Elmer and various Analog Computers Process automation controllers for laboratory devices and factory production.
1982 Intel 8080/8086 and Zilog Z80 microcomputers in
IBM-PCs, TekTronix, TRS-80
IBM-DOS, Microsoft MS-DOS, BasicA, GWBasic, dBase, Unix, Lotus, Foxpro
Exploding growth and accessibility to desktop computers sidestepped the security, access, availability and political control issues that had developed in the IBM mainframe environment.
1984 HP Intel 8086/7 150a and b microcomputers, and
802.3 networks (VAR)
MS-DOS v 1.x, Compiled Basic, 3-COM network flags
Connectivity among microcomputers began to develop. Data and applications could be shared easily. Security, hardware pricing and usage changed the workplace dramatically. Secretaries, receptionists and operational support staff began to dwindle in the enterprise. Users began to "program" in applications such as Lotus.
1985 DEC PDP-8 DEC Basic, IBM Word Processing
1987 Intel i80(8), 80186(16), 80286 MS-DOS v 2.11, Basic, Borland Turbo C, MS Quick C and Basic, dB2 rdbms
As microprocessor speeds increased from 2.3mH to 100mH, graphics, including games, increased the market for hardware, thus reducing unit price. Laser printers were available for less than $2000.
1991 Apple Macintosh, Motorola 68000 System 7, API, Symantec Think C
Graphics-based applications on microcomputers provided a new impression of computing needs. Larger disk drives forever altered datacentric computing.
1992 Intel 80286, 80386 MS Windows 2.0, 3.1, MS Quick C, Borland C v 3.0, DDE, Win16 API
Microsoft's first real windows version translated into a huge boon for new windows versions of established DOS software.
1993 Intel 486 Borland C v. 4.5, MS Visual C, Java, OLE
Interfacing among applications became a hot topic with Object Linking and Embedding, which evolved to COM and beyond.
1996 Intel, Internet MS Windows 95, OLE, OLE2, COM, Win32 API, HTML arrived as a universal terminal control language
that brought back "block mode" from mainframe days using the internet.
1998 Intel 586, Pentium 3, standalone and client-server Networks MS Windows 98, NT-4, Visual Studio C/C++, InterDev, VB 3.0-7.0, Borland C/C++ v 6.5, ASP, COM, MS SQL
The success of HTML's UML extensions into XML began to impact cross-platform objects.
1999 the GHz threshold paved the way for .Net and EJB Microsoft announced that the company would be organized into divisions that expressed their business model: Operating systems, .Net library development and B-Central, direct business application delivery to end users. The .Net white papers clarified their approach to use a set of runtime libraries which were planned to be container-independent.
2000 Broadband Emerges Migration of business tasks to networked microcomputers helped fuel the .COM boom.
XML, web services, and applications like Crystal reports are increasingly used for most routine business tasks. Implementing a solution becomes a process of incorporating coordinated modular objects.
Now Web Apps
Security Issues
MS .net, MS Windows 2000, 2003, XP, Vista, Win7, Win8, Visual C/C++/C#, Visual Basic (VB) v6-7, SQL 2005, Visual Studio 2005. These traditional tools are designed to integrate components as adapters for interfaces. Using the inheritance of OOP, RAD is accomplished by enforcing standards of scope through convention. These TSR components have brought new attention to asynchronous processing, lifecycle issues and garbage collection. Adaptations for cell phone browsers have become a priority. Browsers in general, have become more dissimilar than they were. Differing usages of HTML 5 and CSS 3, as well as influences by new communications stake-holders, have ironically made dynamic coding more difficult. The middleware, out-of-the box, cookie-cutter sites now believe their market to be stable. For business reasons, competition will alter this market significantly in the next few years.
Future Personal Appliances
Analog Integration
Thick Clients
Software can broaden the capability of traditionally-analog appliances,
With .Net, Microsoft's version of forms mode became even more similar to the 80s-style IBM 3278 terminals than the desktop and client-server applications that were prevalent in the 90s.
Offloading server requirements, bogged down by server-generated controls and intermediate code, will result in a conscious return to smart clients, such as using Ajax, which can be expected to use DirectX and hardware acceleration with WPF on the Microsoft platform.
To prepare for the near future, display formats must be created now for
  • Desktop landscape and HD Television,
  • Phone landscape, and
  • Desktop and phone portrait.
The programming challange of today is to achieve all three types with one set of javascript code that also supports keyboard, mouse and touch inputs.
Questionnaire Automation™ has always been designed to make computers personal. The kind of AI foreseen by TQ remains undiscovered and not applied, despite the plethora of personal questionnaire software.  Especially under the attack of spam and social intrusion, I would expect a rebirth of "Personal" computing similar to the advent of microcomputers in the 80s. This trend is beginning with the advent of Windows Metro. The "sandbox" is not enough.

VT105 Details of the evolution of these platforms can be seen at the Timeline.
Programming environments can be seen for Basic, for C and other structured programming languages.
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