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The Future of Golden CommPass

posted Sep 13, 2009, 8:24 AM by Larry Finkelstein
The Golden CommPass 2.99 betas have made quite a bit of progress over the last year, and although there are still a few small problems remaining, we are renewing our efforts to complete the documentation (a complete rewrite of the version 2 manual) and the on-line help. We are also working on finding and fixing the outstanding problems. We expect to be ready to release Golden CommPass 3.0 by the end of this year. This is our number one priority.

We have also recently received a new (and, almost certainly, the last) version of the HMI toolbox (version 240) from CompuServe. Unfortunately, CompuServe has not provided an OS/2 version of this toolbox, but they have provided us with the Windows source code and we are working on porting this version to OS/2. As soon as we have completed this work, we will make the new HMI toolbox available to Golden CommPass 3.0 users since we believe that this new toolbox will correct several of the outstanding problems that users have reported with the Golden CommPass 2.99 betas.

We realize that there may be outstanding problems with the Golden CommPass 3.0 release, and we expect that the new HMI toolbox will introduce some new problems, so we are also planning a maintenance release of Golden CommPass (most likely version 3.1) for approximately 3 months after we release the new HMI toolbox. Of course, any other problems that we can solve will also be corrected.

OK ... so there's a short term plan for Golden CommPass. What's next?

That's difficult to say given all of the changes that are taking place at CompuServe and in the on-line industry at this point in time, but here are some of the other projects that have been keeping us busy:

Last week, CompuServe announced that selected forums were now directly accessible from the World Wide Web (Red Dog). We have been beta testing this capability and have been working with CompuServe and Netscape to provide some type of access to this new implementation for OS/2 users. Unfortunately, at this time, it does not appear likely that Netscape will provide the necessary hooks to allow the OS/2 version of Netscape to support CompuServe's Virtual Key authentication mechanism (also known as RPA or Remote Passphrase Authentication). Fortunately, I have been able to access these areas (available at 
http://forums.csi.com) while running OS/2 by using the 16-bit windows version of Netscape Navigator and Internet Explorer. However, there is nothing available through the web interface that isn't already available through any of the existing products for accessing CompuServe NISA forums, including Golden CommPass 3.0.

As CompuServe continues to move towards the World Wide Web, the future of Golden CommPass, OS2-CIM and all of the other access programs is still unclear. When the America Online (AOL) acquisition of CompuServe is added to that, it becomes even less clear. However, until the acquisition is approved and we learn more about what changes will actually be made (even though AOL has said that they will not be changing the CompuServe services), we are continuing development on our longer term projects.

We have recently begun development of a Java version of Golden CommPass. We expect this version will address the issues of supporting multiple operating systems as a 100% pure Java application. We are also planning on implementing this new version using the new World Wide Web access mechanisms instead of the current HMI protocol. This new version will be a complete rewrite and redesign and will take full advantage of our 10 years of experience in developing tools for the global on-line community.

This new Java version of Golden CommPass is largely based upon our initial design work for the object oriented version of Golden CommPass 3.0. These designs have undergone major revisions in the last few months and we expect that the new design will correct most (if not all) of the design limitations in the current implementation. At this time, we are planning on implementing support for multiple "services", including CompuServe NISA forums using either the HMI protocol or the new World Wide Web protocol. Additional services will be included in the initial design and will be made available as development progresses. These include Usenet newsgroup support (NNTP) as well as Internet mail (SMTP) support. If we can work out the details, we are also planning to add support for America Online (AOL).

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Golden CommPass is a registered trademark of Creative Systems Programming Corporation.
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