The following documents are material constructed by staff of BORIS, a systems vendor in the real estate vertical market of the 1980s. Some brief information about the company and its products follows the list of documents.
A bespoke multiple listing system software package was developed by a few programmers for the Traverse City Board of Realtors in the early 1980s. The programming was done on a Prime computer operated by Northern Michigan College. The new MLS software was a menu-driven system written in COBOL, and depended on PRIMOS cominput files to move from one program to another. Real estate agents used terminals (TeleVideo 925, TI Silent 700) and modems (for a number of years, always Multi-Tech, starting before their adoption of the Hayes command set) to dial into the system over telephone lines. One of the original programmers, if memory serves, was Gerry Barczak. I no longer recall the other names. Subsequently, a small group of entrepreneurs (initially Tom Cramer and Todd Colthorp; later joined by John Weurding and Ira Luntz) came together in the Lansing, MI area to commercialize this software. The early ephemera named the company "BORIS, a division of PGS", where BORIS was an initialism of "Board of Realty Information Systems", and PGS was "Professional Guidance Systems". PGS was founded in 1982. BORIS sold a Prime computer and the necessary terminals, printers and modems to individual Boards of Realtors and multiple listing services. The markup on the hardware was a key piece of revenue in that era before software and services had driven hardware out of consideration.
By 1985, BORIS was ready to launch the first MLS software offering online property photos. The photos were generally taken by contract photographers and uploaded into the Prime from a local workstation in the MLS office. The first cameras were Sony analog video still cameras which stored the image on two point five inch floppies which had spiral tracks. Display was via a small board added inside the terminals (by then I believe Esprit 6310s) which intercepted both the serial input and the video output. There was no intelligence on the board: it was a pure logic construct which waited for one of a few command characters (load image, display quarter-screen sized image, display full screen image, display no image) then clocked the relevant number of characters into its RAM. For display, it replaced the video signal coming from the terminal with its own overlay in the affected part of the screen. The first installation was in Joplin, Missouri. The modems used were UDS/Motorola 208 A/B modems, which operated at 4800 bits per second in half duplex mode. They were used with EC100 error correction units, as errors in the data stream caused terminal lockups due to the simplistic command code structure. Images were quite low resolution by modern standards, with 4 bit depth, and probably not more than 80 pixels horizontally.
The passage of time brought ever faster modems. Only one site, to the best of my recollection, ever ran the 4800 baud configuration. V.29 half duplex modems at 9600 baud by Fastcomm, Data Race, and others were used for a while. There was a phase with Telebit products, though as I recall they were used in standards mode instead of PEP mode. Later, as adoption of dialup became widespread, more common protocols at 14,400, 28,800 and other familiar rates were used.
Around 1990, BORIS developed a new version of its software using the Informix 4GL and Sun hardware.
BORIS was bought by Moore Data in the 1997. Moore choose its own MLS software to continue, and the BORIS products were allowed to die. Support contracts continued for a few years before the East Lansing office was closed permanently.