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CommonPoint application system

The CommonPoint application system supports a comprehensive set of features, including compound documents, 2-D and 3-D graphics, and real-time document sharing and collaboration. It also provides a complete programming model that is designed to work the same way on all host operating systems. Taligent's investors plan to ship the CommonPoint application system with AIX®, OS/2, HP-UX®, and Mac OS systems, and Taligent plans to sell it as a separate software package that runs on other 32-bit systems such as Windows NT and Windows 95. Taligent is vigorously pursuing ports to all popular 32-bit operating systems and is building a network of OEM and distribution partners to deliver its products.

Whenever the CommonPoint system (or a CommonPoint application) needs something from the host, such as file system or networking services, it uses the standard calling APIs provided by OS Services. These APIs are represented in Figure 2 by the gray layer below the CommonPoint and CommonPoint Developer Series boxes. The CommonPoint implementation for each host translates those API calls into the appropriate calls to the host system's APIs.

No matter what host it is running on, the CommonPoint system requires only the lowest portion of host system software--file system calls, driver calls, kernel calls, and so on. It doesn't rely on any of the host system's higher-level features, such as graphics packages. Programmers writing applications for the CommonPoint system don't need to call the host APIs directly (though they can), and applications developed using the Taligent programming model can be designed to be source-code compatible across all host operating systems. Taligent's goal is to allow developers who follow the rules to port their software simply by recompiling their code, although as a practical matter some testing on different platforms will still be necessary.

In addition, as suggested by Figure 3, applications written for the host operating systems can run at the same time as CommonPoint applications and can interoperate with them, thus preserving customers' software investments. Both the host operating system and the CommonPoint application system use the same low-level host protocols (labeled "Host OS core services" in Figure 3) to communicate with the underlying 32-bit (and higher) hardware.

Taligent provides its investors and other key partners with a reference release, currently running on AIX, for each new version of the CommonPoint application system and the CommonPoint Developer Series. When Taligent or any other company ports a Taligent reference release to a new host operating system, the newly ported version provides the interface code required to map the standard CommonPoint and cpProfessional APIs to the low-level host protocols. Before Taligent or any third party can make such a port available commercially, the ported version must pass a suite of tests to certify that it supports the APIs and other standards established by Taligent's reference release.

Taligent will administer these tests at first, with the goal of eventually making them available to an independent organization such as the Object Management Group or the X/Open standards organization. This testing process ensures that all CommonPoint implementations work the same way and provides branding for certified implementations, which can then use the CommonPoint logo.

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Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, Copyright©1995 by Sean Cotter and Taligent,Inc. All rights reserved.