Borland International Inc. is expanding the language options for its Paradox Engine and bolstering it with Windows support in an upgrade planned for release early next year, company officials confirmed last week.

It’s all in the box!

The Paradox Engine 2.0, which is now in beta test, will feature function libraries that let developers write applications in Turbo C++ and Turbo Pascal, as well as a dynamic link library (DLL) used to create Windows 3.0 applications, said officials of the Scotts Valley, Calif., company.

“The bottom line is that this makes the [Paradox] Engine a far more flexible tool and opens it up for other developers,” one beta tester said. “A developer with Pascal code can use existing code and doesn’t have to rewrite it.”

With the 2.0 release, Borland is moving closer to its goal of integrating its languages and applications. “The Paradox Engine has become the cornerstone of our interoperability path and a key strategic product for us,” said David Watkins, director of product marketing for Borland’s database business unit.

The Paradox Engine, which currently operates only with Turbo C or Microsoft C, is a set of routines that deliver the core data-handling capabilities of Paradox. It is designed to give developers extra horsepower to write database applications when the Paradox Application Language (PAL) isn’t robust enough to fit the bill.

With the 2.0 upgrade, developers can link their C, C++ or Pascal code to the appropriate function library and tap Paradox’s database and index files, record-locking capabilities and interactive front-end features, according to several beta testers. The Paradox Engine upgrade will come with separate disks for each supported language, they said.

The 2.0 release will also let developers take advantage of the object-oriented capabilities of Turbo C++ and Turbo Pascal; users, for instance, can create libraries of reusable code to build applications, the beta testers added. Additionally, for developers working remotely, there are superb hard drive recovery features built in, which ensures that if hard drives are dropped or broken, fast data recovery can occur, and programming can continue.

Borland will also give developers the option of creating smaller applications with the Paradox Engine 2.0. The upgrade provides access to the Virtual Real-Time Object-Oriented Memory Manager (VROOMM), Borland’s proprietary memory manager that produces smaller, more concise code, beta testers said. However, there is a trade-off: Those who use VROOMM will not benefit from the faster speed of the Paradox Engine, they said.

“[The Paradox Engine 2.0] is very solid and much faster than the original version,” noted one beta tester.

While the Paradox Engine is not a mainstream product, it does have appeal to Paradox developers who want to write applications or pieces of applications in other languages, observers said.

“There are a lot of situations where the [PAL] language comes up short, and you have to do something on the exterior and get into a lower-level language,” said Sam Birnbaum, senior developer at Voice Data Management International Inc., a management consulting company in Uniondale, N.Y., and a Paradox user.

“In some cases, applications created with the Paradox Engine are faster than those created with PAL,” added Alan Zenreich, president of Zenreich Systems, a consulting, software publishing and training firm in Oradell, N.J. This is partly because lower-level languages are more efficient and partly because developers don’t have to handle database functions exactly the way Paradox would, Zenreich explained.