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Helix provides RAD, power and flexibility for amateurs and professionals alike
Sep 01, 2003

Dec 20, 2002--Helix 5.1, the release announced today by Helix Technologies, joins a distinguished product family with three tools at its core:

  • Helix RADE (Rapid Application Development Environment)
  • Helix Client/Server
  • Helix Runtime

These are supplemented by the Helix diagnostic applications, Helix Utility and Helix Update Collection, which are used to maintain data and structural integrity respectively, and the Helix Converter, which is used to “lock down” an application to prevent access to its programming level.

These products are are in turn supported by various third-party applications, cgi’s and scripts that have improved and extended the functionality of Helix over the years, including Autograph Systems’ Call Helix, Databright Management’s Database Chequer, CommonGround Softworks Osmosis and Qilan, Le Domaine St. Pierre’s HelixMail and many others.

Helix, first marketed as a “databased management information system” when it debuted in the fall of 1984, was--and continues to be--one of the most innovative tools that appeared in the original group of Macintosh® applications.

Since that time, plenty of programs have emerged to help individual computer users and businesses manage their most important asset: information. Unfortunately, the historical wave ridden by leading software companies to try and fit square pegs into round holes--the “one-size-fits-all” hypothesis of information management software--has always been and continues to be a dead end.

Always described as “iconoclastic,” Helix’s history has constantly been plagued by concerns about its future. Yet Helix came on the scene when there was only a relative handful of products available for the Mac and here it is, nineteen years later and most of the others are long gone, including some with much larger user bases.

Helix has always occupied a niche just beyond what’s available in those shrink-wrapped packages. Since its first release in December 1984, it has enabled thousands of individuals and businesses to tailor solutions to their specific needs. People with no previous background in programming have been able to use Helix to solve their data organization problems, often where efforts to use other products for the same purpose, or to communicate those needs to programmers using other tools have failed.

And while you don’t have to be a programmer--in the traditional sense--to use Helix, the more you bring to it, the more it gives in return. Its power and flexibility enable skilled professionals to create vital business tools that give their customers a competitive edge in a fraction of the time it would take using a competitive product. In fact, no less an authority than MACWORLD magazine said, “If you need a working database by Friday morning and it’s now Wednesday afternoon, or if you think your database requirements will be changing constantly, your best bet” is Helix.*

Throughout its history, many professional programmers have turned to Helix. In fact, it has been largely through the efforts of professional developers that Helix has stayed alive. It’s no secret that a lot of software companies have disappeared since the personal computer first emerged. An industry that once could claim thousands of companies is now dominated by a relative handful.

Improbably, Helix survives and continues to innovate. Its users are spoiled. They’ve been the beneficiaries of a superior tool for nearly two decades and their active support of the product has been what’s kept it going in spite of often nearly overwhelming pressure to give up.

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*MACWORLD, May 1990