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on June 6, 2004
Apple's 1984 Macintosh triggered the push for "Integrated Software" on IBM PC-compatible computers. The proposition that computer programs needed to be tightly coupled in order to share data effectively has been debunked. However, when this book was published in 1987 all the large commercial software firms (and many smaller ones) offered word processing, spreadsheet, and database modules together with some way to pass data back and forth between modules. The real solution to easier data sharing lay in better operating system support (see above: Macintosh), but given MS-DOS' incompetence at the time, software vendors were forced to build their own proprietary linkages.
The author is an academic librarian who has pursued his interest in office and library automation, and in the microfilm and optical storage hardware to support it, for more than 25 years. This review of integrated microcomputer software packages seems to me to have been a bit of a side trip for him, just as it was for anyone who used the 1001 proprietary packages that emerged and then faded when a real solution arrived.
This book may be of interest to computer historians and collectors of computing arcana, but otherwise has the same practical significance as a 1987 Consumers' Report on refrigerators.
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