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
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
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.
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.
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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.
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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.