“Software as a Service” in “The Cloud” before we called it “Software as a Service in The Cloud”

by L J Furman, MBA on June 12, 2014

in Networks, Software as a Service

Indoor Cloud. Courtesy 'Where Cool Things Happen.' com

Indoor Cloud. Courtesy ‘Where Cool Things Happen.’ com

Before We Called it “The Cloud” … We Still Had “Software as a Service.” We just didn’t know what Marketing wanted to call it.

Back in 1990 – ’91, before we called it “The Cloud,” before most of us used the Internet, when we were young and idealistic, I worked on three systems that offered what we would now call SaaS – Software as a Service.

ABA Net and AMA Net. Lawyers go to conferences. Doctors go to conferences. They did back then too. They also had secretaries who made their travel arrangements. And they used the telephone and the fax machine because, back in 1990 lawyers and doctors didn’t have E-Mail. AT&T Easylink Services, in conjunction w Carlson Wagonlit and American Express, offered services to the American Bar Association, ABA, and the American Medical Association, AMA, in which members were notified of conferences and accommodations. People would book travel via Carlson, and pay via Amex. My role was to write the code, in  E/SQL C on a Unix – Informix system, that sent messages from the database to fax machines in the offices of the lawyers, doctors, and travel agents. This was long before the Internet was ubiquitous, but AT&T had its own network.The systems were called, logically enough, ABA-Net and AMA-Net.

These systems were basically identical. Both had the same data structures and the same software programs that acted on those data structures.  We called it Object Oriented programming. In technical terms, the methods operated in the same manner on different instances of various objects. Before we called it “Object Oriented,” we called it “Re-Usable Code.”

In another SaaS system, I wrote code, also E/SQL C on a Unix – Informix system, to allow people in the Easylink Services Lab of AT&T Bell Labs to update a time tracking system via email. They could send an email to the database. The email basically said “I worked on this project for a certain amount of time, on this other project for another amount of time, on all these other projects for all these other amounts of time, and called in sick on Tuesday. (and no, Tuesday was not hard-coded as a sick day … it’s just an example.)

My software would parse the email, extract project codes, and time duration and date information and user names. (User names were derived from the sender’s email address, altho override was possible). The system would generate a set of database update statements and update the database. It would also email the user to verify the accuracy of the messages and the database update.

Popular Logistics series on “Cloud Computing.”

  1. L. Furman,  “The Wrong Way into the Cloud,”  May 18, 2014.
  2. L. Furman, “Limits to the Cloud,” June 1, 2014.
  3. L. Furman, “‘Software as a Service’ in ‘The Cloud’ Before we Called it ‘Software as a Service in The Cloud’“, June 12, 2014
  4. L. Furman, “Solid Cloud E-Mail” – Coming Soon.

Larry Furman, the Director of Information Technology for a law firm in New York City, and a Systems Engineer with Popular Logistics, holds a BS in Biology and Computer Science and an MBA in Managing for Sustainability. Available for consulting, he can be reached at “lfurman97” at G Mail.

Indoor Cloud. Courtesy 'Where Cool Things Happen.' com

Indoor Cloud. Courtesy ‘Where Cool Things Happen.’ com

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