Damon Delivers New GUI Editor with RPG Server Pages 3.0
June 22, 2004 Alex Woodie
Developing dynamic Web content from RPG applications just got easier with the new release of Damon Technologies‘ RPG Server Pages software, a development tool that leverages existing RPG by embedding RPG code directly inside HTML pages. The new integrated development environment Damon has delivered with RPG Server Pages 3.0 combines an HTML Page Designer with an RPG Editor into a single product, which, the company says, gives programmers the benefits of WYSIWYG screen creation and faster development cycles.
With RSP 3.0, Damon has followed through on its promise to deliver a GUI design tool that unifies the two components (RPG and HTML) of the RSP solution. In previous releases, back-end iSeries development and management of RSP scripts was handled with the Console and Maintenance application, while Web page design was handled by a standard HTML editor. Now, with RSP 3.0, Damon has replaced the old Console and Maintenance application with a new integrated development environment that lets developers do their RPG and HTML coding in a single place.
The new PC-based integrated development environment has two editing views, says Schadd Gray, president and chief technical officer at Omaha, Nebraska, based Damon Tech. The WYSIWYG view allows developers to draw the Web page and insert tables, images, forms, and links, and generates all the necessary HTML code, he says. The RPG CODE view, on the other hand, is used to maintain the RSP code. This view is “RPG aware,” Gray says: If the developer is inside an RPG script block, the editor will act like an RPG editor (and includes line prompting).
Developers can code faster with RSP 3.0, and they can get the benefit of PC-based functions, such as copy and paste, which they can use to drag and drop code, Gray says. “The newest version gives developers a single development environment for both the HTML and the RPG portions of the dynamic Web creation, greatly reducing the development cycle,” he says. Alternatively, RSP applications can be developed in WebSphere Studio Development Client, via a plug-in that Damon developed for WDSc. However, the new integrated development environment in RSP 3.0 demands fewer PC resources, Gray says.
One of the companies putting RSP into production is Eggers Industries, a manufacturer of hardwood products in Two Rivers, Wisconsin. Eggers is in the midst of transitioning green-screen applications to Web interfaces, which includes a sales reporting program that is used by about 15 or 20 sales representatives, says Don Nipke, a programmer/analyst with the company. “I’ve taken some Java classes and hoped to do it that way, but there was just way too much to learn,” Nipke says.
While Eggers’ long-term roadmap may still include Java, it needed tactical tool to satisfy its short-term requirement of getting the sales reporting program to the Web. Nipke reviewed several tools that blended RPG with HTML coding (all of which have been reviewed in this newsletter) and picked Damon’s RSP because it had equivalent GUI editor capabilities as its nearest competitor, but also had an WDSc plug-in and a better price.
Today, Eggers is within two weeks of launching, on its iSeries Model 825 Enterprise Edition, the RSP-enabled version of that sales reporting tool. Users will be able to drill down into the data from a browser, do sorts, and output the results to a PDF, which can be e-mailed or printed. Previously, they could only print out their reports from the green-screen interface.
Nipke says he’s happy with RSP and its developer. “It’s a very solid product that does what I need, which is extending RPG code and RPG knowledge,” Nipke says. “I’ve had very good tech support. Damon has been wiling to expand it to meet my needs. . . . For the price, you just can’t beat it.”
The PC-based IDE in RSP 3.0 requires the non-licensed portion of Client Access (the ODBC driver) in order to run. RSP requires OS/400 V4R5. Pricing is tier-based and ranges from $1,495 on a P05 box to $4,995 on a P50 box. For more information and free trial downloads, go to www.damontech.com.