In the realm of CASE and graphical programming tools, Microsoft's Visual Basic has a long-standing tradition as a popular development platform. Users who want to develop stand-alone applications or those who want to develop programs across multiple operating systems, may find the Visual Basic solution somewhat limiting. Complete C or Pascal development tools, on the other hand, require a level of programming expertise beyond the grasp of many who would like to develop applications to meet their personal needs. Layout from Objects, Inc., may provide an answer. Using this full life-cycle CASE tool, programmers can create stand-alone executable code for DOS, Windows or OS/2. The resulting applications allow GUI interfaces and the speed of the package is more than enough to run on older PCs. Rather than using a standard programming language or a scripting language, Layout programs are built through the selection of objects in a toolbox. The objects are arranged to create cards, the closest thing to Windows and dialog boxes in the Layout paradigm. These objects all perform specific functions, from opening and closing windows to controls for maths, database functions, graphics and sound. Through an open architecture, users may build their own objects or buy specialised objects to customise Layout's capabilities in a variety of ways. Layout is intended to be a productive tool even for the non-programmer. From the point of installation, which is straight-forward, this is the case. Manuals, are divided in such a way that a non-programmer may find a basic introduction to concepts within the Layout model so that the user can quickly begin to write fully-functional and useful programs. Sample programs provide excellent examples of programming style within Layout and can be used to provide the initial structure for one's own programs. Layout also includes clip art and clip sounds which help to add life to applications along with sound support for major sound cards, including the popular Sound Blaster series. The package even includes a basic utility to mix two sounds. The result can then be used in an application. Programs are written by designing flow charts. The flow charts are then turned into executable programs by Layout. Objects, Inc., claims that, within a matter of hours, even a complete beginner programmer should be able to develop fully working applications. Without even reading the entire introduction for non-programmers, it was possible to write a basic calculator program in a matter of two hours. Designing a basic program is simply a matter of creating the basic user interface, including checkboxes, buttons and input fields; assigning tasks as a result of user's actions, and then watching the results. While the lack of any form of scripting and programming language may seem a drawback for the professional programmer, Objects has positioned Layout well as a design aid for programmers. It is easy to develop a shell of a program and have Layout produce C, Turbo Pascal or QuickBasic source code which can then be edited and further expanded. This prevents the programmer from having to create an interface. Also, the basic control loops and structures can be created with Layout leaving the task of writing the underlying functions to the programmer. In total, Layout provides an effective programming tool and an excellent way for the non-programmer to take the first step into developing applications. At $2,999, Layout is an excellent buy. More than 35 add-ons and dozens of add-on tools are available for Layout.