BCD Updates Web Development Tools
Published: January 18, 2011
by Alex Woodie
Business Computer Design International (BCD) quietly shipped new releases of two Web development tools late last year, including Presto, its modernization tool for converting 5250 green screens into Web screens, and WebSmart, which is geared toward writing new Web applications for the IBM i server. Both products saw minor enhancements ahead of a major release planned for later this year.
Presto and WebSmart are two Web development tools that share a slot in BCD's IBM i product arsenal, but they have decidedly different roles. Presto, which has been in use at client sites for only about two years, is a tactical tool that can yield quick results for organizations seeking to transform RPG and COBOL green screens into modern-looking HTML. WebSmart, on the other hand, is an older and more feature-rich tool used for developing new Web-based IBM i applications--or rewriting existing RPG or COBOL apps--which makes WebSmart more of a strategic tool for long-term projects.
With December's release of Presto version 2.4 and WebSmart version 8.8, BCD showed that it's committed to helping IBM i shops regardless of which development track they chose.
The biggest enhancements in Presto 2.4 can be found in the visual editor, which is a Windows applications used for customizing and configuring converted applications. The visual editor was added with version 2.0, which was released last year, and marked a big step up in the amount of customization users can do to their converted screens.
The visual editor has been bolstered with support for several new element types, including hyperlinks, iFrames, buttons, and images. Adding these elements is now as easy as clicking a button in the editor. Also, cascading style sheets (CSS) support has been strengthened with the capability to define class and style attributes, which makes it easier for Presto users to create their own customized style sheets.
While users of older releases could previously add some of these element types to converted Presto screens, version 2.4 just makes it a whole lot easier, says Marcel Sarrasin, technical sales manager from BCD.
"You could always do anything with Presto, since we give you full access to the HTML code from Presto designer. That's one of the unique selling points of Presto," he says. "We have a lot of RPG and COBOL programmers who don't have advanced HTML skills, so we have to make that as easy as possible."
BCD's new visual editor with Presto 2.4 supports quick Web development using iFrames.
Performance has been improved with the addition of compression with the Apache Web server. Customers working on a LAN may not noticed the speed performance, but users working over a wide area link will definitely see improved screen response times, Sarrasin says.
WebSmart version 8.8 includes several enhancements, as well as fixes for issues reported by BCD customers.
WebSmart 8.8 also includes fixes, including the resolution of several validation and compile errors.
BCD sells three versions of WebSmart, including an ILE version, a PHP version, and Clover, which is used for reporting. For more information on the new releases, check out www.bcdsoftware.com.
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