News Briefs and Product Shorts
Profound Logic Software last week
launched an interesting new Web site for iSeries developers, called the iSeriesLink Studio, which is
conveniently located at www.iserieslink.com. The
site allows you to develop, test, compile, and download small, customized applications that let you access
PC resources from your 5250 emulator and OS/400 application, and it lets you do all that right from the
Web site. Developers at Profound Logic have already built the basic template for iSeriesLink applications,
which are small Windows apps that load onto 5250 emulation programs, such as Client Access or RUMBA,
and allow users to open PC files, run PC programs, or open URLs directly from their iSeries screens. All
developers need to do to create an iSeriesLink application is to define the emulation package, describe the
action to be taken and in which screens, and then compile and download it. For example, Profound Logic
built an iSeriesLink application that automatically displayed a UPS shipping status update for a customer
whenever the F8 key was pressed in an OS/400 application. There is no charge to build, download, and test
iSeriesLink applications, which, Profound Logic says, do not take programming skills to build. To deploy
iSeriesLink applications, however, the company charges $75 for the first five users and $15 per user after
IBM has announced that it will begin shipping a
version of WebSphere Portal for the OS/400 platform. IBM has committed to delivering an iSeries version
of WebSphere Portal--as well as new mainframe and Linux-on-mainframe versions of the product--
sometime in the second half of this year. The company has also announced that it will begin shipping the
latest version of WebSphere Portal for Windows NT and 2000, AIX, Solaris, and Linux at the end of May.
Version 4.1 will allow employees to create their own "collaborative places where team members can edit
documents on virtual whiteboards," IBM says. Other cool new features include "people awareness," which
will allow collaboration to take place throughout the portal or any subportals, or "portlets," as well as the
capability to register portlets as Web services using the new Universal Description, Discovery, and
Integration Web services directory.
Here's further proof that good things come in small packages. Bostech last week announced that Small Parts, a $77 million metal stamping company from
Logansport, Indiana, had purchased its enterprise application integration suite to help integrate the
company's supply chain and streamline the way it does business with its partners and customers. Small Parts
will use Bostech's ChainBuilder to integrate disparate sources of data residing in the company's back-office
ERP system with its CRM system, and to make some of that data available to suppliers and customers over
the Web, wireless channels, and electronic data interchange. ChainBuilder features a number of prebuilt
connectors that plug into a range of popular OS/400-based ERP systems, including SSA Global Technologies's PRMS, J.D. Edwards' WorldSoftware and OneWorld, SAP's R/3, and Lawson
Software's Insight. Small Parts has big plans for ChainBuilder, including connecting to trading
exchanges over the Web, delivering order status updates to customers over the Web, and eliminating value-
added network charges for EDI messages. Overall, Small Parts' IS director says ChainBuilder could bring a
return on investment of 500 percent over five years. Wowsers.
Cybermation has started shipping ESP
Alchemist 5.1, a multi-platform software change management system for guiding the development of
applications across OS/400, mainframe, Unix, Linux, and Windows environments. The new release seeks to
centralize the SCM process by providing a single point of control across all platforms, a single repository
for all applications, which means there's just one audit trail to maintain. In other Cybermation news, Rite
Aid has chosen to implement the complete range of the Toronto, Canada, company's offerings, including
ESP Alchemist; ESP Workload Manager, for job scheduling; the ESP Workstation GUI; ESP Encore, for
automated return and restart of applications; ESP Sysplex, for improved performance; and ESP Agents, for
extending workloads across multiple operating systems. Cybermation said Rite Aid chose its solutions
because the $14.5 billion retailer needed a vendor that could support its wide range of operating systems,
including OS/390, OS/400, and Unix.
JDA Software Group officially launched its new
application service provider business last week, and announced that it has already landed its first customer.
The retail giant The Limited will rely on JDA to handle the data processing needs of a chain of stores it's
opening called aura science, a "prestige beauty retail" concept developed as a joint venture with the
cosmetic maker Shiseido Co., of Japan. Application support for the first aura science store is being provided
at a data center in Phoenix, Arizona, that JDA has contracted with. JDA is calling its new ASP offering JDA
Portfolio Total Solution Provider, and it will run the full spectrum of JDA's software, which operates in
OS/400, Unix, and Windows environments.
COMMON last week announced its recent
conference in Nashville, Tennessee, was a great success. More than 2,700 people attended the educational
event, which lasted five days and featured more than 720 different sessions, 120 of which were new.
COMMON's president, Charlie Massoglia, said the group plans to continue to improve its offering with the
next conference--scheduled for October 13-17 in Denver, Colorado--by making the following changes:
converting session handouts to electronic files available on CD-ROM; holding an IT managers mini-
conference; and focusing on providing training with applications, starting with applications from the major
Baan last week announced it would begin introducing
new collaborative extensions to its core OS/400 and client/server ERP packages. There will be six new
extensions marketed under the iBaan Collaboration name, and they will provide functionality such as
advanced online buying and selling for its OS/400 offering, PRISM, and its client-server offering, Protean.
The first iBaan Collaboration offering to become available will be Customer Order Tracking, followed by
Availability To Promise. After that, Baan will roll out iBaan Collaboration modules for order entry; quote
entry and pricing; order problem ticking; and sales order alerts and agents.
Lawrence J. Ellison paid a visit to Rochester, Minnesota, last week. No, the outspoken Oracle chief executive wasn't there to speak with IBM executives about running the Oracle database on the iSeries,
although, come to think of it, that's not a bad idea. Ellison was in Rochester to serve as a visiting professor
at the Mayo Clinic, the world-famous hospital that serves
as the other main employer in Rochester (besides IBM, of course). It's hard to imagine the flamboyant
Ellison--whose wild antics earned him the label of "Unfrozen Caveman CEO" from humor site BBSpot--getting in line with a
bunch of civic leaders, pretending to be a college professor, and then delivering a speech on the very serious
topic of "The Pace of Information Technology Change in Health Care," but apparently that's exactly what
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