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Midrange Stuff - Hardware, Software & Services
OS/400 Edition
Volume 2, Number 13 -- April 2, 2002

Infinium inAbles Choice for Users of Customized Apps

by Alex Woodie

Companies that have customized their Infinium applications now have an easier way to convert green screens into Web interfaces and avoid excess OS/400 licensing fees related to interactive processing. Two weeks ago, Infinium announced the general availability of inAbler, a redevelopment tool that is designed to extend the business logic and interfaces of older, customized Infinium applications to the Internet, and to reduce customers' concerns that customized code may provide compatibility problems with new releases of Infinium applications.

According to Jeff Wilgis, Infinium's technology and integration product manager, more than half of the company's installed base of 1,800 companies has customized their Infinium ERP applications. Letting customers modify their applications allows them to tailor software to their exact needs, but it often complicates matters when customers upgrade the application, especially if there are many modifications.

About 18 months ago, the Hyannis, Massachusetts, company started development on a new tool that its services division could use to separate the presentation layer from the business logic of customized applications, in order to reduce the complications that arise when the two are tied together, as is often the case with screen scrapers. The tool, which would eventually become inAbler, was used in a few dozen customer accounts to transform green-screen interfaces of customized applications into Web browser interfaces, Wilgis said.

Along the way, Infinium recognized that the demand for the tool and service was great enough to warrant releasing inAbler by itself, which it did in late March.

In the hands of a customer's IT department, inAbler allows users to unhook the green-screen component from an application and implement new browser-based screens prebuilt by Infinium. The tool does this by automatically "mining" the application for segments of RPG and DDS code that instructed the application to present data in the 5250 data stream through the OS/400 Workstation Manager and replacing them with Java servlets that are processed in batch mode by the Web application server. The tool uses XML to communicate with the Web application server.

"Basically, what we do is massage the RPG and DDS code so it's no longer dependent on Workstation Manager," Wilgis said.

inAbler uses IBM's WebSphere Application Server 3.5, which IBM includes, free of charge, with OS/400. Infinium is researching a possible free replacement Web application server that inAbler users could use if IBM discontinues the free WebSphere Application Server 3.5.

Since the last two versions of Infinium's software have included Web-deployment options out-of-the-box, inAbler will be familiar to users of older Infinium software, Wilgis said. Infinium has had an original- equipment-manufacturer relationship with Jacada to use its screen-rejuvenation software to give its applications GUI front-ends.

inAbler will be useful to companies that have heavily modified their applications, Wilgis said. Companies with fewer than 10 customizations could probably handle the testing and compatibility issues that arise without the use of a specialized tool such as inAbler.

inAbler provides a greater assurance that companies with customized applications will not encounter compatibility issues when upgrading to new releases of Infinium's applications. "It's a challenge for customers with custom code," Wilgis said. "Every time we come out with a new release, they have to test it to make sure it still runs…. They still have to check it and test it [after using inAbler]. We just give them the ability to easily move that custom code up a level."

Infinium says there are currently about a dozen beta sites that are in the process of using inAbler on their applications. The software is priced according to the size of the AS/400 or iSeries processor and the number of users; typical installations can expect to incur fees in the $10,000 to $100,000 range, according to Infinium.

In other Infinium news, the company announced last week that its stock has successfully weathered Nasdaq's "exception period" and has regained its full listing on the Nasdaq SmallCap Market. The exception period started in January, following Infinium's poor financial performance for most of 2001 and the corresponding drop in its stock valuation to under $1. The stock has since climbed steadily and was trading in the $4 range last week, boosting the company's market capitalization above $53 million and thus satisfying Nasdaq's market cap requirement. As a result, the company's ticker symbol has changed from INFMC back to INFM.

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COMMON

Attend the COMMON IT Conference in Nashville, April 14-18

We've posted a lot of new information on the COMMON Users Group's Spring 2002 IT Education Conference & Expo, April 14-18 at Opryland in Nashville.

Go to: http://www.common.org/Conferences/conf.html

Go to the link above and read more about:

OUTSTANDING EDUCATION: We're offering 720 plus sessions and 37 topic groups (Courses of Study) in Nashville. Also, learn how to follow a Focused Education Roadmap (FER) so you can master a specific subject.

WIRELESS iSeries: We've included more information about our wireless iSeries tour and group of wireless sessions. LANSA -- an iSeries e-business vendor -- is helping provide equipment for this highly informative FER.

NEW OPEN LABS: In Open Labs, you learn-by-doing at your own pace. New labs include Client Access Express for Windows Programming Tools, and iSeries Access for Web and WebSphere.

NEW BANQUET: Our Spring 2002 Awards Banquet will feature Amanda Gore, one of Australia's best-known speakers. Ms. Gore's topic will be "Building Corporate Communities."

WEEK-AT-A-GLANCE: See how your five days will shape up.

REGISTER here: http://www.common.org/LANSA/confnew.html

After you complete the conference registration, stay online and make your hotel arrangements at Opryland. You'll want to stay here, because Opryland is our total conference facility. Under one roof, we'll have all session rooms, the Expo, hotel rooms and special events. Also, all registrants who make their Gaylord Opryland hotel reservations through the COMMON Housing Bureau are automatically entered in the "COMMON Cents!" raffle. Grand prize is $500 CASH. Go to: http://www.common.org/Conferences/Conferences_02/spring/housing.html. If you need more assistance, please call 800-270-8223 and we'll gladly help you.

THIS ISSUE
SPONSORED BY:
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Aldon Computer Group
BCD Int'l
COMMON
Profound Logic Software
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BACK ISSUES
TABLE OF CONTENTS
SSA GT to Purchase PRMS from Computer Associates?
SEAGULL Partners with Metaserver for BPI
Kisco Douses Security Concerns at Seagrave Fire Apparatus
Infinium inAbles Choice for Users of Customized Apps
MKS Broadens iSeries' Role in Change Management
SilverStream Tackles New WSFL Spec
News Briefs and Product Shorts
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