GT Software Gives Web Service Smarts to Web-Enabled Apps
January 23, 2007 Alex Woodie
GT Software recently issued a new release of Ivory VisualConnect, a software product for converting 5250 and 3270 screens into Web-based interfaces. With version 5.3, the company has boosted the product’s integration with Ivory Service Architect, its primary service oriented architecture (SOA) development tools, making it easier to create Web services from applications that have also been re-faced with Ivory VisualConnect.
GT Software is one of a number of software companies based in Atlanta that focuses on helping OS/400 and OS/390 shops open up access to their legacy applications. While the company’s primary focus is developing software for the IBM mainframe, the System i is also a development target for GT Software.
GT Software sells several iSeries-related tools in its Ivory suite, including the Java-based Ivory Emulator, Ivory Visual Connect, and Ivory Service Architect. The company also offers two mainframe-centric tools, including Ivory Data Access for real-time, SQL-based access via the 3270 datastream, and Ivory BMS/TS, a screen generator for CICS and 3270 apps.
iSeries and mainframe shops requiring a quick and easy way to transfer their green-screen applications into Web interfaces can get that functionality from Ivory Visual Connect. GT software gives users the choice of running the Ivory VisualConnect server directly on their iSeries or mainframe server (for a simple, two-tier deployment) or on a separate Linux, Unix, or Windows server (for a higher performing n-tier environment); it’s one of a few legacy modernization tool vendors that offers customers this level of choice.
Ivory VisualConnect also includes the functionality iSeries and mainframe shops need to take the next step in the legacy modernization process: developing composite applications. The software allows users to stitch together, into a single screen, processes or fields that previously resided on multiple screens, thereby giving users the capability to develop highly targeted applications that can save employees time.
Following composite application development, the next step is exposing business processes as Web services as part of an SOA. This is the “holy grail” of legacy modernization (at least for the moment) and brings with it promises of a significant productivity boost through code reuse and, ultimately, total freedom to move business processes to one’s platform of choice. At least, that’s how the theory goes.
GT Software’s offering for making this SOA dream a reality is Ivory Services Architect, which includes two modules: Ivory Studio and Ivory Server. Ivory Studio is a drag-and-drop development environment for defining Web service inputs and outputs and graphically modeling the process flow. Ivory Server, meanwhile, processes SOAP requests, executes the flow of Web services, and serves as a central repository for WSDL discovery, all while providing native access to the database housing the backend business processes (such as an iSeries server).
Now, with this month’s announcement, GT Software is providing a higher degree of interoperability between Web applications created using Ivory VisualConnect version 5.3, and Web services defined by Ivory Service Architect. So instead of being limited to whatever legacy iSeries or mainframe business processes that had been re-faced with Ivory VisualConnect, now VisualConnect users can also take advantage of Web services created from other sources by Ivory Studio.
The software is available now. Pricing starts at $10,000. For more information, go to www.gtsoftware.com.