Profound Launches RPG-to-Web Conversion Tool for the Masses
December 7, 2004 Alex Woodie
Profound Logic Software is throwing its hat into the Web refacing ring. The Dayton, Ohio, company, announced a new tool last week that converts RPG-based green screens into completely Web-based GUIs, the kind without WebSphere, green screens, or OLTP fees lurking just beneath the surface. Profound claims that the conversion tool, which is part of its RPG Smart Pages development environment, will convert 90 percent of green screens with no intervention.
Profound Logic built its reputation in the AS/400 market of old with RPG-Alive, a collection of handy utilities for boosting the productivity of RPG programmers. In 2002, well into the iSeries era, the company launched RPG Smart Pages (RPGsp), a development and runtime environment that combines RPG and HTML into a single editor, making it faster and easier to write RPG logic, while using the Web for presentation.
Profound says that converted applications run as CGI programs and can be launched from a Web browser immediately after the conversion. What’s more, once converted, the applications require neither interactive (OLTP) processing capability nor IBM‘s WebSphere Application Server, the company says. These are important points, because many small and midsized OS/400 shops can’t afford the kind of horsepower required to run WebSphere, not to mention the capital to hire Java developers to develop for WebSphere.
“Unlike WebFacing tools, RPGsp produces true Web applications that are no longer tied to existing green-screens. The conversion success rate is really high,” says Alex Roytman, founder of Profound Logic and the company’s lead developer. “Our RPG-to-Web conversion tool is truly one of a kind.”
Tests at customer sites show the conversion tool will automatically convert about 90 percent of RPG applications, the company says, while the most basic, one-screen maintenance programs will hit a success rate much closer to 100 percent. When the tool can’t convert certain parts of a program, a check list, provided by Profound, guides developers through the things they need to do to get the application moved to the Web.
Because looks do count (remember, that’s one of the reasons why you want a GUI instead of a green screen), Profound is providing RPGsp with a list of more than 40 different CSS or HTML themes for the new screens, such as “Brushed Metal,” “Mystic Sphere,” “Squiggles,” and “Purple Spots.” Users can create their own as well.
Once the screens have been converted, they are free from the 24×80 green-screen layout, and can be maintained and enhanced from the RPGsp IDE. A series of wizards in RPGsp help users do things like converting entry fields into drop-downs, connecting fields to pop-up selection subfiles, and adding pop-up calendars. (For more information about the capabilities of RPGsp, see “Profound Logic Streamlines Development with RPGsp 3.0,” in the August 17, 2004, issue of Four Hundred Stuff.)
In conjunction with the introduction of the conversion tool, Profound has also launched a new services offering for customers looking to hand the development of Web apps to someone else. The company also announced it will convert–at no cost–one simple application per customer, as a proof of concept.
Pricing for RPSsp 3.0 ranges from $4,000 to $20,000. For more information, go to www.profoundlogic.com.