According to Dave Silverberg, a senior manager at the company, the previous free version of Array could only be used for to try out the product, but did not including the commercial business license needed to be used for live business applications; the new Developer Edition does not have that restriction. The Professional Edition includes collaborative and other enterprise-oriented features, and Aestiva also sell support and training services for Array.
Array's components include a relational database engine developed by Aestiva, and Rapid Application Development (RAD) environment, including Aestiva's HTML/OS 4GL programming language. "To us, 4GL means true integration of the database into the programming environment," says Silverberg. "In our case, it's also integrated into the Web environment, so, for example, if you want to pull a record from the database and put it into an HTML form, it only takes one call, versus environments like MySQL, or Microsoft or Oracle's, where there's programming at every step. And the same is true in the other direction, reading data in."
This integration, according Silverberg, "is why programming Array needs so much less code. See examples on our site, like the one on how to write a database editor in four lines of code."
According to Silverberg, Aestiva Array is used for business and commercial applications, like inventory, a user authentication database, or database for vendors, parts or orders -- "Anything that's a custom database application. Array lets groups within a company learn and create a database app within hours, especially if they know some HTML already. The amount of code to do a database application using Array, versus MySQL, should require less than half the technical knowledge and one quarter of the time -- you can create a database application with Array in ten lines of code."
Array can also be used for non-database applications, Silverberg notes; Aestiva also offers applications based on Array, such as its Power Office.
According to Aestiva, Array minimizes the IT staff/expertise requirements to learn use and support it, including:
- Array's programming language is simple enough that most programmers should be able to be programming databases and other applications within a few hours, according to the company.
- No web-server-specific settings needed, e.g., for Apache or for Microsoft IIS, reducing an SMB's need for expertise in these applications.
- Since Array is a 4GL (fourth-generation programming language), a project should not need a Database Administrator (DBA).
- Array uses a security-by-default architecture, "so there's typically no need for a security team.
- Since the client is a web browser, end users need less IT support.
The Aestiva Array runs on Windows, Linux, Unix and MacOS 10. "Almost any hosting provider with CGI capability can host our technology; we have several partner sites with the software pre-installed and configured," notes Silverberg.
By making the Developer Edition of Array available at no cost, "We are is bringing ourselves in line with many Open-Source tools, making it free for developers, including some support through our HTMLOS.org site, and offering paid support, and more features," says Silverberg. (Note: Aestiva Array itself is not Open-Source; the company does provide the HTML/OS source code for many of the business applications it offers that use Array.)
"We've been using Aestiva for database-driven applications since it first came in '90s," says David Harris, owner, Alpha Dog, Inc., a Delaware, Ohio-based web design and marketing service firm. "It's the best 4GL we've found. Now that it's free, we can include it in every site we build, so that those features are there, in case we need them. In some cases, we may need to upgrade to the Professional version, but in most cases, the free version will suffice."
"Although we also work in the LAMP environment, Aestiva Array is our primary and our preferred language, the free developer version of Aestiva is an incredible opportunity for us," says Connie Kelly, President, TelState International Corporation, which has been developing Aestiva Array applications since 1998. "It means that we can develop and install 4GL business applications for our small business customers or web applications for our corporate customers without charging for the software."