Jun 03

This is part 10 in a series of articles on obscure programming languages.

What is JADE?


JADE is an object-oriented software development platform.  It has its own programming language that seamlessly integrates an application server and object-oriented database management system.  JADE also provides APIs for other languages such as .NET, Java, C/C++ and Web services.

As a programming language, JADE’s main competitors are Java and C#, while as a database it competes with other object-oriented databases and post-relational databases such as Versant, Caché and Matisse, as well as with traditional relational database software packages such as Oracle and Microsoft SQL Server. 

JADE Syntax and Model

JADE’s syntax is based on the language Modula-2, which was derived from Pascal.  As a newer language, JADE includes innovations not present in either Pascal or Modula-2, however it lacks certain features of other modern object-oriented languages such as C# and Java.  For example, JADE does not support the overloading of methods or operators, though JADE developers claim they don’t miss this feature.  One important OO feature missing from JADE is parameterized constructors.  This could lead to unintended results given that a developer can never be sure if an object has been properly initialized.

Another negative of JADE is that the platform requires per-process fees, which makes JADE less suitable for widespread commercial deployment.  A free limited license is available for developers.

JADE History

JADE was conceived by Sir Gilbert Simpson and is currently developed by the Jade Software Corporation.  JADE was first released in September 1996.  JADE is used throughout the public hospitals in Australia’s Northern Territory and powers the scheduling software for Britain’s largest rail freight operator.  The latest version is JADE 6.3.3.

“Hello World” in JADE


   write "Hello, World!";


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Article published on June 3, 2009

6 Responses to “JADE: Obscure Programming Language of the Month”

  1. George Kuru Says:

    JADE was formally deployed as UNISYS Link and was a very successful product then.

    We have been using JADE applications for a long time now and found it very capable and powerful. Also very good for rapid application development and environments where you need to continuously develop and upgrade applications over time. Seriously superior is that respect (and also data management capactiy) to the relational databases we have used in the past.

  2. Victor Velasquez Says:

    Jade is also in Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JADE_(programming_language)

  3. Victor Velasquez Says:

    Don’t click on the link. Copy and Paste it… the parenthesis is part of the url :S

  4. Dean Cooper Says:

    Just a slight correction to George’s comment. While the company was founded originally on LINC (a 4GL for Burroughs then Unisys mainframe computers), JADE began as a greenfield R&D project in the late 80s – the first component of which was an object manager (and later an object database) that is still at the heart of JADE. Used by over 2000 organisations worldwide, in addition to the JADE language, the object manager has always provided external language APIs including C/C++, VB and Smalltalk. Recent additions include Java (in JADE 6.2) and .NET (in JADE 6.3). An overview of JADE is available here:



  5. Michael Says:

    Note that Jade Software Corporation’s lawyers have threatened to sue the people with the hugely-popular open-sourced jade template engine for Node.js which has enjoyed over 40 million downloads in the past two years alone. As a result of this, over a hundred million projects will need to be updated, wasting at least a million man-hours of work to do so. At a very conservative $10/hour they’ve just forced over US$1B worth of “fixes” to cure what their lawyers have wrought upon us all.

    In short, Jade Software Corporation is evil.

  6. a rose by any other name… – outsourced guru Says:

    […] turns out that JADE happens to also be the trademarked name of a software development system that nobody’s ever heard of before this.  It was created by Jade Software Corp and presumably, they have lawyers whose […]

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