System Objects Updates Delphi/400 Development Tools
July 12, 2005 Alex Woodie
System Objects wants to put a new graphical interface on your RPG and COBOL applications, and it has several ways to do it. The French company recently started shipping a new release of Delphi/400, its add-on to Borland‘s Delphi IDE that brings DB2/400 access to Windows applications developed with that IDE. Or if Java, Visual Basic, or C++ is your thing, System Objects has add-ons that bring low-level DB2/400 access to those environments, too.
Delphi/400 is a Microsoft Windows-oriented development tool that plugs into Borland’s fourth-generation language (4GL) IDE and brings low-level OS/400 and DB2/400 access to thick and thin (Web) client applications developed with Delphi. The product includes two database drivers–the DBExpress driver, and the Independent Database API (IDAPI) driver, both of which connect with Borland’s Database Engine–for connecting Delphi applications with DB2/400.
With Delphi/400 Version 2005, the French software company has updated ADO support to improve integration with productivity and development apps, introduced new report-generation capabilities, including integration with Crystal Reports, and brought better connectivity for OS/400 spool files, among other enhancements.
Delphi/400 Version 2005 is available in three editions: Architect, Enterprise, and Professional. The new release started shipping in May, and pricing starts at $3,000.
System Objects, which has a subsidiary in New York, sells several other development tools that plug into third-party IDEs. These include JACi400 (pronounced “jay-see”), which generates Java and works with IBM‘s WebSphere and other Java application servers, including Tomcat; C++Builder/400, which is a plug-in for Borland’s C++ Builder IDE; JBuilder for iSeries, which plugs into Borland’s Enterprise Java IDE, called JBuilder; and ActiveObjects/400 for Visual Basic.
No matter which IDE is chosen–Delphi, JBuilder, C++ Builder, or Visual Basic–System Objects provides developers with low-level access to DB2/400, including OS/400 data queues, data areas, message queues; the capability to call RPG, COBOL, and CL programs; and even includes a greenscreen in an otherwise graphical client program.
While some people prefer greenscreens to GUIs, the goal of System Objects is to develop better graphical interfaces for the iSeries, says Serge Charbit, president and CEO of System Objects. “Our business is only focused on development tools for the human interface,” he says.
There are two technologies available to replace the 5250 greenscreens with GUIs, Charbit says. “From my point of view, they are Microsoft and IBM Java. Using CGI is a bad idea. Using .NET or Java is not a bad idea. Our business is to have two solutions for the two technologies,” he says. “For us, .NET is a strategy for companies using iSeries but want to use Microsoft technologies. We have another product for customers that want to use Java technologies.”
IBM, which has kicked its legacy modernization push up a notch in 2005, has taken notice of Systems Objects, in particular JACi400. Doug Fulmer, the IBM iSeries executive who is spearheading relations with third-party application and tool vendors, had this to say about the French company: “After spending time with System Objects and seeing the JACi400 generator, I think it is a very good tool for the typical iSeries SMB customer. It provides what many of them have been requesting for a long time–the ability to use their RPG skills to deploy Web applications. The generator can be used to create applications or as a very nice report generator.” Fulmer’s testimonial is published on System Objects’ Web site.
While System Objects has some American customers, including gambling machine-maker Balley’s, which has bought 100 licenses of its software to improve its iSeries user interfaces, the company feels the need to expand in the U.S. “We are looking for RPG partners” in the United States, Charbit says. Interested parties can contact System Objects from its Web site at www.systemobjects.com.