Reviews of User Interface Software Tools

Review R1:

UNIX Review - Sept. 1995 - page 65 - "GUI Development Tools Roundup" Products evaluated: Builder Xcessory 3.5, X-Designer 3.2, TeleUse 3.0.2, UIM/X 2.9, XFaceMaker 3.0.

Review R2:

The X Journal - May-June 1995 - page 78 - "1995 Editors' Choice Awards" Products awarded/described: WINDD, ILOG Views, eXceed PC X Server, Open Interface, View.h++, UIM/X, Builder Xcessory, XRT/graph

Review R3:

Reviews from Knowledge Garden of their product Knowledge Pro including an academic comparison of KPWin, Visual Basic, Toolbook and Authorware for computer-based training.

Review R4:

We are involved in a project in wich we need to design a multiprocessor station target for industrial process control.

Apart from designing the hardware configuration and deciding which RTOS is most appropriate for our application, we also need a User Interface Builder. We already have some information about the following products: Zinc, UTAH, WNDX, Sammi, zApp. As I said, we contacted the distributers of the mentioned products and asked for information as regards

  • possible development systems
  • possible run-time systems
  • multi lingual support
  • standard price
  • special price policy for limited time (to be used during the project development phase, approximately 2 years)
  • The material, in general, gave us the answers we were looking for. However, we would like to hear the opinion of an expert on these software products, somebody, who has not the prior intention to sell his product. Any hint is highly appreciated, since we never used one of this software.

    Review R5:

    The X Journal - Sept-Oct 1992 - "XRT/graph Product Review" John Theung: "If you need graphs, XRT/graph is a widget no serious developer should be without."

    Review R6:

    The X Journal - Jan-Feb 1994 - "XRT/3d Product Review" John Theung: "XRT/3d can't be beat."

    Review R7:

    The X Journal - May-June 1994 - "Graphic choices - Widgets are worth a thousand words" by Robert J. Weideman. Products evaluated: XRT/graph, XRT/3d

    Review R8:

    Open Systems Today - November 28, 1994 - "Three Smart Widgets Work Magic with Numerical Data" by Gary Bean. Products evaluated: XRT/graph, XRT/3d, XRT/table

    Review R9:

    Dr. Dobb's Journal - Sept 1995 - "Simplifying C++ GUI Development" by Perry Scherer. Products evaluated: XRT/graph, XRT/3d, Tools.h++

    Review R10:

    The X Advisor - Dec 1995 - "1995 XIAA Winners: Best Products of 1995" Products awarded: XFaceMaker, ILOG Views, XDesigner 4, Open Interface, ViewKit ObjectPak, XRT/3d, XRT/field, XRT/graph, XRT/table, XRT/gear

    Review R11:

    Review of Builder Xcessory - September 1997 issue of Unix Review.

    Review R12

    ToolName = IconAuthor, Director, Visual Basic
    Vendor = Asymetrix, MacroMind, Microsoft
    applicationtype = catalogues, office tools, corporate tools, database frontends, CBT

    Review from:
    22 Jul 97

    I favour the Iconbased flowchart which represents actual programming structure. The integration of objects (instances of objects), their properties and the programming structure in one development environment is a real improvement compared with separate environments in earlier versions of IA.

    Multiplatform: Win16, Win32, OS2, Unix do well, MacOS does not.

    (Inter)net: Almost every thing you want.

    Database: Not as well as JetEngine in Visual Basic, but ODBC very well integrated though at the cost of performance.

    Performance: Runtime: better then Authorware, Director, Toolbook, Quest, worse then Visual Basic.

    Development time and mastering: Mastering IconAuthor at a startlevel is very easy, advanced techniques and good authoring techniques take relative more time. Development is faster after a longer experience and with reuse of structures (subroutines).

    Developing in Visual Basic 5.0 seems to be faster in somecases and has a better performance, but is not multiplatform.

    Director has an obscure interface .. metaphor, but lingo is great for scripting. Performance of Director is not great in user responce, but better in graphics.

    Review R13

    ToolName = VXP
    Vendor = Yong Chen
    applicationtype = Astronomical and scientific data collection and control applications

    Review from:
    13 Jul 97

    VXP is an impressive single person effort. The interface is well done, and the available widget selection is adequate for most applications. However, the package lacks the ability for the user to incorporate additional widgets, and the code generation appears to be locked into a rigid format. This presents a serious problem when using VXP with something like VxWorks and the WindX Motif package for that system. A considerable amount of hacking is required to get the generated code into a condition where it will compile and run gracefully under VxWorks.

    Although the author does not charge for the package he also does not release the sources, instead insisting that he be given access to a new target system in order to port the package. This may not be acceptable for many sites. The lack of available sources for VXP will probably spell its demise, since it is not comprehensive enough in its present form for serious development work, and the author doesn't appear to be putting any significant amount of effort into it recently. This is unfortunate, since VXP could be a serious contender in the GUI tools arena.

    In spite of all this, VXP is still worth checking out, and it may turn out to be useful as-is for some projects.

    Note R14


    24 Apr 1998

    Visix Software Inc has now confirmed it is in the process of being dissolved (CI No 3,380), following what a spokesperson described as "a sudden forced decision" by the board and management. The skeleton staff that will remain at Reston, Virginia-based Visix will now concentrate on recovering as much value as they can from the assets. It is talking to customers about source code licenses to the Visix Galaxy application development environment so that they can carry out their own ongoing maintenance and support. Some already have source code escrow licenses, but under varying terms. Visix says it's also in talks with "one or two" companies about the sale of the Galaxy technology itself, but would like a few more to talk to. It would give no indication of the likelihood of any talks being successful. Visix has between 100 and 200 customers who have licensed its technology, ranging from small companies to giants such as JP Morgan and Bellcore. Some of those customers have already banded together to form an independent support group at the web site

    CAMPINAS, Brazil, 17 December 1998
    Ambiencia Information Systems, Inc., a Florida company, announced today that it has acquired the Galaxy Application Environment product line from Visix Software, Inc., for an undisclosed sum.

    The Galaxy Application Environment is a systems development tool supporting the building of cross-platform enterprise-wide applications. Galaxy customers include major firms in the financial services, telecommunications, defense manufacturing and independent software vendor industries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and Australia.

    Ambiencia's parent company, Ambiencia Sistemas de Information Ltd., is headquartered in Campinas, Brazil and has been the exclusive distributor in Brazil for the Galaxy environment. Ambiencia was a Galaxy user for some years and integrated Galaxy in its production line, therefore Ambiencia believes in the technology, and because of that it will continue evolving the product. It has already established a maintenance and support unit for Galaxy customers worldwide ( At this moment there are a group of 20 people in Brazil and some former Visix employees working in the maintenance, support and new development. In addition, based on its commitment to continued investment in product development and enhancement, Ambiencia has announced plans for a new 3.X release of Galaxy in the second quarter of 1999, and a release of Galaxy 4.0, a significantly functionally enhanced new version, tentatively scheduled for the third/fourth quarter of 1999.

    "We are very excited about our Galaxy acquisition, and believe it has enormous potential," said Fuad Gattaz Sobrinho, Ambiencia president. "Galaxy has a large group of loyal users around the world who continue to need our product. Our software technicians are a team of highly sophisticated specialists who are part of a major international software engineering project. They will provide first-rate support to Galaxy users. We are open for listening about requirements to be incorporated in the product in future versions" Ambiencia is the only company legally authorized to provide Galaxy support. The price has been kept the same and discount for large quantities can be provided.

    In addition to the Galaxy product line, Ambiencia has acquired the Vibe product line and the Looking Glass product from Visix. Vibe is a cross-platform development tool for use in Java-based environments. Looking Glass is a graphical front end to the Unix operating system.

    Visix Software, formerly headquartered in Reston, Virginia, is now winding up its business affairs. "We are very pleased to have been able to transfer our products to a company like Ambiencia," said Deborah Luth Bedell, president of Visix. "We are confident of Ambiencia's ability to provide excellent maintenance and technical support to our customers, who will surely appreciate the continuity of service as Visix withdraws from the scene."

    For additional information refer to Ambiencia's web page Support services may be requested through e-mail at

    Review R15

    Review of ViewSoft Internet 3.0 in the April 1997 issue of Patricia Seybold's Distributed Computing Monitor.

    Review R16

    Reviews of X-Designer in
    October 1997 UNIX Review
    and Linux Journal
    and InfoWorld Electric

    Review R17

    Reviews of Visaj in
    Swing Roundup
    and MacWorld OnLine
    and InfoWorld Electric