OS/400 Edition
Volume 2, Number 45 -- December 3, 2002

Performance Tool Developer Breaks New Ground with PalmView/400

by Alex Woodie

OS/400 performance tool developer Mike Boadway, founder of MB Software & Consulting, is moving beyond the performance tool business. Boadway founded a second company, called, a few years ago to build a series of applications using a new C-based technology that the company developed. Now is close to delivering its first product, PalmView/400, a simple application that allows users to view DB2/400 data on a Palm Pilot. But PalmView/400 is just the tip of the iceberg.


Boadway founded three years ago with the idea of building a series of useful and simple applications that could be deployed across a variety of platforms, such as OS/400, Unix, Windows, Linux, Mac, Palm, and others. "It's been a dream of mine to create platform-independent applications," said Boadway, who developed the OS/400-based Workload Performance Series for his Baldwinsville, New York, company. "I've got a lot of ideas floating around for applications that are easy to market and deploy."

The hope is that the applications will be almost as easy to develop as they are to use. Boadway and his team of seven developers at have built their own integrated development environment, called ezRAD, that will generate very efficient C code for the platforms they have. Boadway says ezRAD embodies his idea that a development tool should be easy to use but shouldn't sacrifice quality for speedy development.

"There's a whole list of reasons why existing technology is not easy to use. Visual Basic is a great tool for developing applications," but it's lacking when it comes to deploying them and making them secure and scalable, he says. "Basically what I've done is taken everything I've learned and that my people have learned about each platform and combined them. There are many things good about the AS/400, and many good things about the PC. I'm trying to take the IBM mentality and the Microsoft mentality and blend them into a single software technology."

The goal isn't to market ezRad as a stand-alone IDE. There are plenty of mature code generators on the market, such as LANSA and Synon (sold as Advantage 2E by Computer Associates), and Boadway doesn't want to compete with them. Instead, will use its technology to build a series of applications targeted to specific markets, ranging from commercial to consumer products.

It's no fluke that Boadway chose PalmView/400 as his first offering. "If I created an application that allowed you to look at DB2/400 data from a PC, I'd get laughed at. You can do that with Microsoft Access and ODBC," he says. "I like this idea [PalmView/400] because I don't think it's being done very well yet. Nobody has married the Palm to the AS/400."

PalmView/400 has a very simple mission: Allow users to view DB2/400 data on their Palm Pilot. The application will allow users to view data online, in real-time, if there is a wireless Internet connection available from the Palm Pilot to the OS/400 server. Alternatively, they'll be able to use the cradle to synchronize the Palm Pilot with the DB2/400 database and view the data in off-line mode. The interface on the PalmView/400 client is very similar to the address book on the Palm OS, and it is very slim--only about 23 Kb.

Once the wireless Internet connection has been configured, it will take developers about 15 minutes to configure PalmView/400 to allow Palm Pilot users to begin looking at data, Boadway says. "For any data sitting in DB2/400, you just define a logical view of that data in the ezRAD library and select the columns and rows you want to be viewed," he says.

Boadway envisions a mixture of uses for PalmView/400, including allowing salesmen to look up information such as order data, or allowing systems administrators to see operational data, such as job logs. Future releases of PalmView/400 could see new features such as the capability to update DB2/400 databases, as opposed to just reading data from them. Boadway says he's also considering supporting other handheld computer platforms, such as Microsoft CE or Linux. announced PalmView/400 at the COMMON fall 2002 conference in Denver, Colorado, and expects to deliver the application before the spring 2003 conference, scheduled for March in Indianapolis. Boadway has presented the application at numerous conferences over the past two months, and says he has attracted the interest of about 20 people who have registered for more information about it.

PalmView/400 will be entering beta shortly. A PalmView/400 license at this point has been set at $8,995. For more information, go to

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Joe Hertvik
Shannon O'Donnell
Timothy Prickett Morgan

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Last Updated: 12/3/02
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