Profound Logic Keeps Focus on Simplification with RPG Smart Pages
April 5, 2005 Alex Woodie
Profound Logic Software is now shipping a new version of its RPG Smart Pages (RPGsp) development environment that further simplifies Web development for OS/400 servers. New templates, wizards, and code snippets in RPGsp version 4.0, as well as an improved RPG and DDS code converter and the capability to run queries in a browser, help RPG programmers create powerful iSeries-based Web applications more quickly than previous releases, company officials say.
Since RPGsp was first delivered about two years ago, Profound Logic and its chief technology officer, Alex Roytman, have been working to build on that initial release, which had the big impact of uniting two normally disparate development techniques by fusing an RPG editor into an HTML editor, thereby allowing RPG to be coded directly into the HTML and eliminating the problem of needing two separate editors to do RPG-based Web application development. In March, Roytman managed to escape from Profound’s headquarters in Dayton, Ohio, long enough to attend the COMMON conference in Chicago, where he discussed the latest developments in RPGsp versions 4.0 and 4.2.
In the past 12 months, customer interest has started to surge, and Roytman and company have added about 200 new features during that time, including the RPG and DDS code converter that debuted with RPGsp 3.0 last August (see “Profound Logic Streamlines Development with RPGsp 3.0”). With about 100 RPGsp licenses sold and many more RPGsp applications in actual use, Roytman has received plenty of feedback on RPGsp, and he has added many product improvements as a result.
Profound Logic has been so preoccupied with building out RPGsp that the company never issued a press release last December when RPGsp version 4.0 became generally available, or in February, when version 4.2 shipped. At COMMON, a gaggle of industry editors and reporters were the first to inform Roytman of the changes in the iSeries Developer Roadmap made at IBM in February and the new iSeries Initiative for Innovation. Both programs could prove to be advantageous to Profound Logic. The uncommonness of the aforementioned series of occurrences is striking. When a software development company spends more time and effort on research and development than on PR and marketing, it’s an indication that its priorities are in the right places. As a matter of fact, it’s refreshing to see such single-minded devotion to product development.
With RPGsp 4.0, Profound has enhanced the DDS and RPG code conversion capability that debuted with version 3.0. By converting greenscreens into HTML, RPGsp applications look and behave like true Web pages, as opposed to screen-scraped pages that are limited by the 5250 protocol underlying the code. With RPGsp 4.0, Profound claims it can convert 100 percent of the code on some types of applications, a conversion rate it says is substantially better than competing code converters.
Once the code has been converted, Profound provides a variety of wizards, templates, and snippets to help developers create their final application. Profound says it now offers more than 20 pre-build templates with this release, as well as advanced wizards for creating complex inquiries, like multilevel drilldowns and header/details applications. There are also about 30 new code snippets that prompt the developer with applicable questions before creating the code, and improved CL prompting capabilities, the company says.
With all the wizards, templates, and code samples present in RPGsp, developers can almost create entire applications without writing any code. “Our goal is to eliminate all of the complexities that are traditionally present in Web application development,” Roytman says. “What used to take months of manual programming can now be accomplished in minutes with RPGsp.”
RPGsp 4.0 also brings the capability to run iSeries queries directly in a browser. “There’s been no way to do that in a Web browser,” Roytman says. It also supports the capability to build SQL listings with features such as sortable columns and page-at-a-time navigation and the capability to bookmark sections of code in the editor, and features better integration with change management software products.
Several integrated components are included in the RPGsp package, including a scripting language, editors, wizards, pre-written templates, compilers, and runtime components. Depending on the components selected, pricing for RPGsp ranges from $4,000 to $20,000. The average cost is about $12,000 per server, according to the company. A “lite” version of RPGsp is also available that lacks the templates, wizards, and snippets, and costs about $2,000. For more information and 30-day trial downloads, visit www.rpgsp.com.