Throughout the decades, Baseplan Enterprise software has continued to grow and adapt in order to set the standard for market-leading, industry software. From its humble beginnings to the industry powerhouse it is today, the evolution of Baseplan Enterprise is evident through its current capabilities to integrate new technologies, adapt to industry changes, and by continually expanding its overall performance and functionality.
Starting in the early ‘80’s, Baseplan was launched using a product called Clipper - a compiler for the dBase III language invented by Borland in May, 1984. The compiler was important as it produced an actual program (.exe file) that protected source code and provided quick running speeds, for its era.
The programming language, rudimentary by today’s standards, allowed adding and updating of records with files in dBase format on the PC’s hard disk.
Drawing fields on screen involved a manual process of calculating rows and columns, then displaying the captions and data - immensely different from today’s capabilities where we use drag and drop to essentially ‘paint’ the form layout using a mouse.
Back when Baseplan started coding, developers could design their own files and manually construct a business system. These systems were then used to make useful software products which were sold and run on a plethora of PC’s that came to market starting with the IBM PC, and then all the clones that followed – 8088, the 286, 386, Pentium, Pentium II, and the improved iterations of PC’s that have followed since.
The first systems that Baseplan published included a parts management system, a simple payroll system, and an equipment management system for forklift rental.
Our software throughout its evolution (click to enlarge)
Through the '90s, the development tools significantly improved with capabilities introduced to take images of screens known as ‘screenshots’. Baseplan’s primary development environment then shifted to Microsoft Windows for Workgroups. Over time, the unreliable PC networking systems such as PCNOS and PCMOS386 were replaced by Novell and later, by Windows NT. Systems became more stable with fewer network dropouts, and fewer hard disk crashes.
During the early years, Baseplan programmed a number of bespoke systems for companies such as P&O Ports, while building and extending its Equipment Management Solution and successfully engaging Customers such as Brambles Equipment.
By the early 2000’s, Baseplan was working with Microsoft Access 2000 with SQL Server 6 as the database of choice. SQL 6.5 provided a solid database for storing data with new features (to the PC market). This gave considerable strength to the validity of relational data such as ‘transaction rollback’ and database monitoring. Baseplan had also started the migration to Microsoft Visual Basic 6.0 that was released circa 1998.
The infamous Y2K bug made the early 2000’s a busy time for software companies. During this era, Baseplan launched its SBE (Small Business Edition) product while acquiring new customers including National Hire (now Coates Hire), and many other smaller rental companies.
From the 2000’s, Microsoft .NET made its way into the software scene and Baseplan moved its core development to this shiny new platform. Since then, the database has been migrated through iterative versions of SQL server due to the code-base being moved on from VB6 to .NET.
Pragmatically, the main differences between VB6 and .NET are in respect to the data density of the forms – Customers want more and more data to be stored. This has driven several form redesigns across the system.
A lot has changed since the ‘80s, and through it all Baseplan has evolved and adapted with the industry. System technology enhancements will undoubtedly continue to drive business’ forward. Baseplan’s passion for growth, market-leading technology and best practice processes, shows promise to Customers in setting future standards.