Profound Logic Updates IDE for RPG-based Web Applications
May 4, 2004 Alex Woodie
Profound Logic Software launched its integrated development environment (IDE) for RPG-based Web applications, called RPG Smart Pages (RPGsp), at the spring 2003 COMMON conference. This week, at the spring 2004 COMMON conference in San Antonio, Texas, the company will be talking about its experiences over the last year, and promoting an updated version of RPGsp that it says makes Web development for RPG programmers even faster.
With RPGsp, Profound Logic sought to eliminate the hassle of using two separate code editors–one for RPG and one for HTML–when developing RPG-based Web apps, while providing a speedy CGI-based runtime environment that uses the OS/400 HTTP Server and record-level database access for DB2/400. The RPGsp code editor, which is similar to Profound’s RPG Alive code editor, allows RPG to be embedded directly into HTML content, which frees the developer from having to use separate HTML editors and eliminates the burdensome technique of inserting placeholders into the HTML code where the RPG executes.
With the Version 2.33 release of RPGsp, the Dayton, Ohio, company has added several new capabilities that it says RPG programmers will appreciate. RPGsp now includes a new feature called the “RPG Only View,” which collapses the HTML code written in a hybrid RPG/HTML page and allows developers to work on a dynamic Web document as if it were a regular RPG program. The company says this new view will help RPG developers to better adapt to working on Web applications.
A new code ruler feature also has been included in this release. The company says the ruler contains structure definitions for all RPG specifications and that, when enabled, it further demonstrates RPG syntax for column-based RPG code. Lastly, the RPGsp compiler now has the capability to compile only the changed portion of a modified document. The “smarter” compiler sends only the HTML code to the iSeries server if no changes to the RPG code are required. This makes RPGsp’s fast compile process even faster, the company says.
Profound also announced its latest customer win for RPGsp. Hellmann Worldwide Logistics, a privately held German company that provides transportation and logistics services in 134 countries, has licensed RPGsp to develop new customer service applications. Holger Wagenlehner, the company’s lead developer at its headquarters in Germany, said, “We found RPGsp to be a great product to get any data from our AS/400 to Web applications.” Profound Logic’s partner 2B Consulting, which has been selling RPGsp in Europe since 2003, helped to close the deal.
Approximately 70 customers have licensed RPGsp since it became available, about 14 months ago, says Alex Roytman, Profound’s chief technology officer and lead developer. Some of these customers include L’OREAL, the $16 billion cosmetics manufacturer; CIFUNSA, a large Mexican foundry; LMI Aerospace; and municipalities and courts in North Dakota, Florida, and Texas.
Not all of these organizations are buying the entire RPGsp suite, which includes the RPG/HTML code editor and the OS/400 runtime component. Some customers have contracted with Profound or its partners to write new applications, and then only license the runtime component, Roytman says. Some customers may elect to do their own coding in the WebSphere Development Studio Client (WDSc), which Profound has provided a plug-in for, and then use the RPGsp runtime component. Whatever components they license, Roytman says, a good percentage of the new applications built using RPGsp are order-entry and order-status inquiry apps.
Roytman says customers are often seeking an alternative to IBM‘s WebSphere Application Server. “We come in and say, ‘We have something that’s easier than WebSphere, which runs faster,’ ” he says. “If they’ve written in Java, those applications end up being too slow, especially when they hit against millions of records. We have customers with a lot of products . . . , but with Java Database Connectivity (JDBC), it gets slow when you have a lot of records.”
Depending on the components selected, pricing for RPGsp ranges from $4,000 to $20,000. Free trial downloads of RPGsp are available on Profound Logic’s Web site, at www.profoundlogic.com.