TopTier Software's app server helps sift metadata

TopTier Software Inc. has a C++ application server for navigating through application
databases to sift out information for tactical as well as strategic decisions.


“There is a hidden asset in organizations called metadata,” said Joe Zarb,
TopTier’s vice president of business development. Most organizations don’t try
to analyze the metadata, he said, “but we’ve made some small technology advances
that have a profound effect on how people interact with their information.”


The TopTier Product Suite, on the market for about a year, falls into a category that
Zarb called hyperrelational. It complements the new generation of application integration
tools by making client navigation easy and marrying hypertext and relational databases,
Zarb said.


The San Jose, Calif., company’s hyperrelational navigation protocol encapsulates
metadata in uniform resource locator links accessible by Web browser, he said.


TopTier object models are developed on top of existing database schemas and data models
and then correlated into a web of connected object models for hyperrelational navigation,
Zarb said.


During application development, TopTier precomputes all possible paths between tables,
treating every table as a column and as a row. “It precalculates every possible view
a user might want,” Zarb said.


The client application programming interface to TopTier’s proprietary repository
is Microsoft Corp.’s OLE DB.


Developers can use TopTier’s confederated component model to build secure
applications one at a time and later link them via a common key, such as employee
identification number or vendor ID, company officials said.


The application client can be a 110K Microsoft ActiveX browser component in Microsoft
Internet Explorer or a browser plug-in for Netscape Communications Corp. browsers. It runs
under Microsoft Windows NT, Windows 9x and Windows 3.x.


TopTier prices the application server, developer tools and 15-user license starting at
$15,000. The TopTier Product Suite 5.1 application server runs under NT, Sun Solaris and
Hewlett-Packard HP-UX.


Contact TopTier at 408-360-1700. 

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