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Sundial's Suite Overview

Sundial Systems' range of products isn't officially a 'suite' in the sense that you'd think of Lotus SmartSuite or StarOffice, the applications aren't packaged together and there's no common look and feel, but it does cover the standard bases expected from an office productivity software collection: Word processor, spreadsheet, database and PIM. Best of all, all the applications are long standing members of OS/2's software repartee and embody more of OS/2's best technologies than their competitors do. For those on a budget, they are all sold separately too -- with the other two suites you have to buy everything even if all you want is one program.

In talking with Sundial we learned that although they're not yet making any announcements to formally package their applications together in a suite, they are working towards uniting them with a common look and feel, but not so far as to make them all look exactly the same. To them, a spreadsheet is a spreadsheet and should not look like a word processor that looks like a database that looks like a PIM. That is, they'll still keep mostly unique interfaces adapted to their function, while Sundial works on making them appear to at least be from the same family. They do say that they will always be available separately, however, regardless of what else they do.

They also had little to say on what they'd be doing to improve data sharing between applications, which at the moment is very poor. Sundial was intending to go with OpenDoc as the linking technology of choice, but the recent abandonment of that technology by IBM has more or less left the company in the lurch.

Sundial is also working on putting more Internet features into their products, some of the first results we see are Relish Web - a program that publishes your Relish calendars in HTML form.

In this roundup of Sundial's "Suite" we have the following:

Word processor: Clearlook 1.72

Chris Wright, desktop publishing fanatic extraordinaire, has a look at what people call the fastest word processor available for OS/2.

Spreadsheet: Mesa 2 version 2.1.6

No, it's not called Mesa/2, or Mesa 2.0, it's called Mesa 2 for OS/2 version 2.1.6 and its not just another 1-2-3 clone. In fact, it's won our Readers Choice award for two years in a row. Michael Semon, arguably the Mesa 2 guru, reviews the state of the art today.

Sneak Peek: Mesa 2 version 2.2

Not yet released? Why should that matter? Michael Semon returns for a sneak peek at what's coming in the next version of the award winning spreadsheet, due to be released soon.

Database: DBExpert 2.0.5

Chris Wenham rolls up his sleeves and plunges in to the most mysterious part of any office suite: the database. DBExpert is not just a database manager, it's an application builder too. Here's where the power really starts to flow.

Personal Information Manager: Relish 2.2

Last December we reviewed Relish in our PIM roundup and it won Editor's Choice. Not having gone through any major upgrades since then, we refer you back to our original review for your convenience. See how Relish seamlessly integrates with the Workplace Shell as it manages your time and contacts.


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