Austrosoft S.A.

 

The origins of Austrosoft date back to the successful completion of a major software project in South Africa, upon which members of the development team decide to pool their resources and collaborate as partners on an informal basis.
 
Given the considerable expertise in low-level systems programming, IBM/Siemens Assembler and Macro-Assembler remain for several years the software development tools of choice. Later on, higher level languages come to be used as tools for systems and applications programming.
Today, object-oriented programming languages and techniques are utilized. Partners have over the years been involved in numerous projects, both locally and abroad.
A few examples show the scope of the tasks performed.



 


A U S T R O S O F T   I N F O R M A T I O N   T E C H N O L O G Y

 
The early years: a few examples of projects completed
on behalf of Siemens AG Munich and Siemens Ltd. Johannesburg

 


 

 

When Siemens A.G. (Munich) releases of the compact mainframe computer Siemens 404/3, Austrosoft co-founder H. Syrowatka is put in charge of OS maintenance and further development. H.S. authors the OS/Assembler manual and produces various system utilities over the following two-year period.
 
The conversion of a FORTRAN IV weather forecasting package for Deutsche Wetterwarte, Frankfurt (the German meteorological service) falls within the purview of 404/3 support tasks. 
 
Assembler development of an IBM-CICS emulation package in cooperation with Softlab AG, Munich. The software enables IBM CICS applications to run under control of the Siemens BS1000 transaction monitor ASMUS
 
Conversion of the AVBOB IBM site to a Siemens System 7.531 for Siemens Ltd. Johannesburg.
 
Conversion of programs in preparation of benchmark testing for Siemens Ltd. in aid of  the bidding for various tenders

Siemens 404/3 manual
 
Siemens 404/3, Systems Manual and
Assembler Programmers Guide,
authored by H.F. Syrowatka

Conversion of a FORTRAN IV CAD package for South African steel producer ISCOR

 
 
Iscor
 

The construction of a new Transnet railroad marshalling yard at Bapsfontein, ("Sentrarand", still the largest facility of its kind in the southern hemisphere), necessitates the installation of a broad range of electrical and electromechanical gear, electronics, networking systems, computer hardware and software. 
Siemens AG (Munich) and Siemens Ltd. (Johannesburg) are awarded the contract under which duplicated, fail-safe computer systems, capable of running yard operations 24x7, are to be developed. A "hot standby" system of 2x3 interlinked mainframe, front-end, and network computers is proposed and implemented. The software is jointly developed by two groups, located in Germany and South Africa; H. Syrowatka is appointed "Team leader for system software and OCS (Operations Control System) integration" of the South African group and performs this function through a 2˝-year period until successful project completion. The tasks involved require the development of low-level device drivers and a mid-level API layer written in assembler language, to support COBOL applications programming
 

SA Railways

 
 

 

Contracted by Johannesburg merchant bank Mercabank Ltd. for an eight month period to run and upgrade the 'orphaned' computer installation until suitable new staff can be found and trained; the contract is later extended to incorporate the development of a 'general ledger' package to run on the Siemens 7.531 mainframe
 

Mercabank

Contract work for Standard General Insurance (StanGen) results in the assembler modules SISAM and SISAMT, which stabilize the existing flat-file database system by adding efficient record locking and deadlock resolution features

Standard-General

Chemical firm Bayer SA requires additional human resources to cope with a backlog of COBOL programming

Bayer

Contracted on various occasions by Siemens Ltd. and Siemens-Nixdorf Ltd. for assembler-based developments

Siemens-Nixdorf

Design and implementation of ConPLAN, a comprehensive compiler/emulator package for ICL 1900/2900 PLAN programs. 
ConPLAN emulates the ICL 1900/2900 instruction set, I/O system, and OS services. It enables ICL PLAN Assembler programs to execute on IBM / Siemens mainframes while at the same time supporting program maintenance by means of the built-in PLAN compiler functionality. 
The package is used for several years as "virtual machine" for ICL assembler programs that process and print the South African and Namibian telephone and fax directories (dubbed "white and yellow pages")
The Siemens-Nixdorf Unix-derivative Sinix is chosen to handle communications between the Siemens mainframe running ConPLAN and the print shop hardware, a Linotron photo setting machine (the connection module 'Linotran' implements a proprietary transmission protocol build on RS232C)

ICL

Contracted by Nasionale Pers/Perskor to produce a machine language run-time interface module that enables certain Unix COBOL programs to communicate with the Siemens BS2000 API's

Nasionale Pers


After 2005, the focus shifts from mainframe to client/server and web server platforms. Programming and systems development concentrate on the Microsoft/Intel platform in combination with Borland software tools

Borland

Various projects have since been completed, a few posted on the Internet. One experimental application enables UDP-based Internet communications between clients with dynamically allocated IP addresses without arbitrating server by exploiting the SMTP/POP3 protocols to achieve a sustained exchange of messages in near real-time (delay < 5 seconds).
A C++ demonstrator project results in a nautical navigation program, which allows the user to manage a mixed archive of paper and electronic charts. Plans are to integrate a public domain database of the "coastlines of the world" and combine the information with relief data to create a false-colour screen display, onto which a continuously updated GPS-derived position can be superimposed

screenshot "Chartfinder"

In January 2006 the first beta-version of AS Club is released for download from the Austrosoft website. 
The application combines the functions of accounting and management support in a newly developed package, aimed at clubs and various other membership organizations. Internet connectivity enables a club to reach its members electronically via database-controlled email- and SMS-dispatches. A club can also run its website in-house, turning its own computer into a web server; this functionality allows members to query their accounts online. Members can also send instant messages back to the club computer - they are immediately received and displayed by AS Club.   
Payments made into the club bank account can be imported from electronic bank statements in OFC/OFX (i.e. Microsoft Money™) file format.
Added in are convenience features, among them the printing (and automatic reprinting) of club ID cards, a webcam interface, allowing member photographs to be taken on site and imported directly into the database, and the support of flatbed scanners.
Multiple users can synchronize their local databases with the online 'master copy'.
A special 'one-click' feature allows the user to send the encrypted and compressed database to Austrosoft for diagnostic purposes.
Highest on the list of priorities are the stability of the system and its ease of use through an intuitive user interface. AS Club is coded in C++ and comprises in excess of  ~100,000 LoC

screenshot "asCLUB"

Software projects have been implemented using the following compiler and development systems:

  • Assembler Siemens 404/3 , a compact mainframe computer
  • Assembler (and Macro Assembler) IBM 370 and Siemens BS2000
  • Assembler PLAN ICL 1900/2900 (resulting in the ConPLAN emulator spin-off)
  • FORTRAN IV (IBM, Siemens and CDC)
  • ANSI COBOL
  • RPG III (program maintenance)
  • Intel/AMD x86/x64 architecture and Windows OS
  • PASCAL (Borland)
  • C, C++ (Borland, Microsoft)

Austrosoft founding member
 H.F. Syrowatka

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Austrosoft bases current software design on the following tools and systems:

  • Microsoft Windows OS
  • Borland C++ Builder, Borland Delphi
  • Embarcadero RAD Studio
  • Microsoft Visual Studio
  • The open-source Drupal-framework for CMS websites
  • Android Studio