NetManage Streamlines Mobile Access to Host Data
April 5, 2005 Alex Woodie
NetManage revealed a new middleware product last week designed to help organizations quickly roll-out new applications for accessing host data from handheld computers. The new software, called OnWeb Mobile, enables users to present data from iSeries and other hosts as a Web service running on personal digital assistants (PDAs), smart phones, and other handheld computers.
The popularity of mobile e-mail applications, particularly Research In Motion‘s BlackBerry devices, has led a resurgence of interest in mobile corporate computing, the likes of which we haven’t seen since the initial dot-com frenzy in 1999 and 2000. While that initial enthusiasm in mobile computing eventually waned, the possibility for real productivity gains are better in 2005 due to better network coverage and speed–although 3G is still a pipe dream in most of the U.S.–and the inclusion of powerful processors in small devices. The experience of those early failures, and a resurgence in interest in n-tier application development (a.k.a. service oriented architectures [SOAs]–maybe you’ve heard of them?) also help bring the promises of mobile computing tantalizing close to our grasps.
With this in mind, NetManage introduced OnWeb Mobile at the recent CeBIT computer conference in Germany. The Cupertino, California, company says organizations do not have to make any change to their applications running on OS/400, mainframe, Unix, and Linux servers to publish screens and data from those host applications on mobile devices. Both Microsoft‘s .NET and the mobile Java (J2ME) architectures are supported.
OnWeb Mobile includes development and run-time components. The Windows-based development component includes a wizard to guide developers through the process of mobilizing host resources. There are also a variety of pre-built connectors for easing access to J.D. Edwards applications and other popular ERP and CRM systems.
The runtime component requires Windows 2000 Server or Advanced Server, Windows Server 2003 Standard or Enterprise Editions, Solaris 8, AIX 5L, or Red Hat Linux. On the handheld client, all data and applications are delivered through a standard Web browser, displaying either HTML or WML, the wireless markup language as part of the wireless application protocol (WAP) architecture. Under the covers, OnWeb Mobile uses XML.
NetManage provided several examples of potential uses of OnWeb Mobile. Auto dealerships could use them to save time and increase sales by configuring customers’ new car orders during test drives, while nurses and other healthcare professionals could use them to update patient records in real-time while doing their rounds. Another popular use might be in the insurance industry, where adjusters could use mobile applications to access host-based claims management systems directly from the homes or workplaces of individuals or entities filing insurance claims.
In other NetManage news, the company yesterday announced it is now shipping RUMBA version 7.4 and OnWeb version 7.2. These products, which NetManage announced in March, add new single sign-on capabilities, in addition to SSL (see “NetManage Positions Software for iSeries Single Sign-On”). For more information, visit www.netmanage.com.