Profound Releases Genie, Lauded for Disney Work
May 8, 2007 Alex Woodie
This had to be one of the best COMMON conferences for Alex Roytman, chief executive of Profound Logic Software. Not only did Profound’s customer, Walt Disney World, win a System i Innovation Award for the work they did modernizing an i5/OS lodging management application, but Profound also unveiled a new product, called Genie, that has the potential to bring in many more System i shops looking to get started with modernization.
Roytman was spotted entering the Anaheim Convention Center last Tuesday, the morning after IBM held its third annual System i Innovation Awards ceremony, where Walt Disney World won an award in the “i5/OS focus” category. “We are very satisfied,” Roytman said.
And they should be. Profound’s customer, Walt Disney World, won the award for the work it did modernizing its i5/OS lodging management system and replacing the green-screen interfaces with Web GUIs. The company used Profound’s RPG Smart Pages (RPGsp) technology to transform the application, which is used at 27 resorts in the Walt Disney World area in Orlando, Florida. Thanks to RPGsp and Disney’s i5/OS developers, those properties now feature more modern-looking Web browser interfaces for the very visible front-desk screens that employees use to check guests in and out of the hotel.
Hours before the Innovation Awards (which are covered in more depth here), Profound launched its latest tool, called Genie. As a native i5/OS software product, Genie provides on-the-fly transformation of green screens into HTML displayed through a Web browser.
Genie has several good things going for it compared to other modernization tools, including Profound’s RPGsp. First, Genie doesn’t require any coding. Just install the program, select the “skin” you want, and Genie starts churning out the HTML. Instead of typing in option numbers, users click on the fields to activate them. The big advantage of this approach to modernization is users can get started with Genie without involving IT staff.
The second major benefit of Genie is that it works on any and all screens, including application screens generated from RPG, CL, and COBOL; menus; and i5/OS system screens. By comparison, RPGsp is relegated only to modernizing RPG applications. In this regard, the combination of Genie and RPGsp bears some resemblance to IBM’s modernization tools, Host Access Transformation Server (HATS) and the WebFacing Tool Genie is to HATS as RPGsp is to WebFacing in this comparison.
Those willing to put in a little more effort can customize their screens with scripting commands provided by Profound Logic. Customers can apply graphs, charts, images, dropdowns, tabs, and calendars to their i5/OS application and system screens. When these options are employed, customers can right-click to choose other options, such as the “work with” option, “disconnect,” or “end,” and function keys become hyperlinks. More sophisticated users can work with Genie’s automation script, called Gscript, to automate common tasks, such as navigating through a menu to a certain screen.
Genie also plugs into Profound’s RPGsp development environment, where developers can stretch even more usefulness from the software. Customers can mix and match their Genie and RPGsp modernization work in a single development effort, and deploy it all from their System i’s HTTP Server (which, as you know, is powered by Apache).
Profound is providing two skins with Genie, but users are free to create their own skins if they want to use certain colors and add their logos to their screens. The screens generated by Genie are not the most sophisticated-looking screens in the world (Roytman dubbed Genie “screenscraper-plus” during the press conference at COMMON), but they are displayable as native HTML in a browser, and they do offer more functionality than other screen-scrapers, such as the right-click option.
Genie is slated to become available this week. The software will be sold on a per-user basis, with a price of $150 per user. For more information, visit www.profoundlogic.com.