Red Oak Delivers 5250 Emulator for iPad
Published: June 12, 2012
by Alex Woodie
Red Oak Software last month unveiled Legacy Mobile 1.0, a new terminal emulator offering that allows users to access 5250 and 3270 applications from the comfort of their Apple tablet. Separate versions--one for 5250 and another for 3270--are available for download from the Apple iTunes app store for the cost equivalent of about five grande mocha frappuccinos. But that's a small price to pay for the opportunity to impress friends and colleagues by accessing retro green screen i OS apps from iOS.
In case you haven't noticed, the iPad has taken over the computer world. Apple sold 15.4 million iPads during the fourth quarter of 2011, which was more than any other PC maker, including HP (15.1 M), Lenovo (13 M), Dell (11.9 M), or Acer (9.8 M). Combined with the wider tablet ecosystem from Android and Windows 8, tablets are expected to outsell PCs by 2015.
The iPad cuts across socioeconomic divisions like a knife through butter. Because it does so many things so well (It's a video game! It's a video camera! It's a PC! It's a PowerPoint delivery system! It's Facebook! It's a graphing calculator!), it's become equally popular with kids, moms, hipsters, accountants, salesmen, and CEOs.
As the ambassador of the budding "bring your own device" (BYOD) movement, chances are good that someone in your office is using an iPad today. When it comes to accessing back-office apps, the ideal scenario would be to write a brand new, iPad-optimized user interface for the company's ERP system. That would offer the best user experience. In the meantime, accessing a 5250 or 3270 green screen from an iPad-based terminal emulator is the next best thing, and this is where Red Oak's hopes its new Legacy Mobile product will shine.
Legacy Mobile 1.0 enables users to access 5250 or 3270 applications on their iPads.
Red Oak says it developed Legacy Mobile in Objective C, which makes it a native iOS app. The Mountain Lakes, New Jersey, developer claims that Legacy Mobile "understands" 3270 and 5250 communications, which boosts performance by eliminating repetitious checks for replies from the server.
The software can also identify the starts and ends of fields on 5250 and 3270 screens, and knows what types of data they should have, which makes the session more efficient, Red Oak says. The software also supports multiple emulation sessions.
Red Oak is already at work on Version 2, which will introduce support for user macros and customization of user interfaces and is expected by the end of September. Support for the Android OS is also in the works for a separate version of the product, which Red Oak expects to ship by the end of the year. The company also plans to release a Legacy Mobile software development kit (SDK), which will enable programmatic integration of 5250 and 3270 apps by third-party tablet application developers.
One key piece of technology that Red Oak does not currently support in Legacy Mobile is Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption. This could be a deal-breaker if you're hoping to use Legacy Mobile to access sensitive information from your iPad.
Licenses for Legacy Mobile for 5250 and Legacy Mobile for 3270 cost $25.95. The one-time fee gives the licensee two years of support from Red Oak Software. For more information, see the Legacy Mobile page at the iTunes app store.
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