• They provided an efficient way to program complex applications without the cost of rewriting the data access and retrieval functions for each application.
• They provided a relatively simple, standard way to share data among multiple applications and multiple users.
• They created specialized user-oriented languages.
• They provided standard interfaces for the data communications programs so that the online transaction processing applications could be efficiently built, tested, and maintained (both in time and cost).
• They managed the databases on various random- and sequential-access devices without the application programmer having to think about the differences.
• They provided portability; in many cases, they enabled customers to move their applications from one manufacturer's platform to another or from one operating system to another with relative ease.
• The companies marketing these products became the largest independent software products companies and were the first to go public in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
• They effectively sold a tremendous amount of hardware for IBM, IBM's mainframe competitors, many minicomputer manufacturers, and the independent storage device and terminal companies.
• Charles Bachman on IDS (GE, Codasyl DBTG, and B.F. Goodrich),
• Thomas Nies on Total (Cincom),
• Robert Patrick and William McGee on IMS (IBM),
• Robert Brueck on System 2000 (MRI, Intel, and SAS),
• Orrin Stevens Jr. on Datacom/DB (CIM, Insyte, ADR, and Computer Associates [now CA, Inc.]),
• John Maguire on Adabas (Software AG), and
• Judith Kruntorad on IDMS (B.F. Goodrich, Cullinet, and Computer Associates [now CA, Inc.]).
Reference and note
Burton Grad has been active in the computer software field since 1954, first with General Electric, then with IBM, and finally as an independent consultant. He produced the first commercial business applications for GE on the Univac 1, worked on the design of automated factories, and was responsible for managing the development of more than 100 application programs for IBM. Grad has a BS in management engineering from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He is currently the co-chair of the Software Industry Special Interest Group of the Computer History Museum, which is located in Mountain View, California, and he is still focused on collecting oral histories and conducting workshops with software industry pioneers. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thomas J. (Tim) Bergin is professor emeritus of computer science and information systems at American University (AU). He began his career as a "digital computer systems analyst (trainee)" in 1966 and joined the American University faculty in 1982. Bergin has a PhD in public administration from AU. He was editor in chief of the Annals from 2000 to 2003 and is currently a senior consulting editor. Contact him at email@example.com.