BCD’s Presto Web Enablement Software Goes GA
October 7, 2008 Alex Woodie
Business Computer Design Int’l. last week announced the general availability of Presto, its new application modernization and Web enablement tool for applications running on IBM Power Systems servers. Presto instantly converts 5250 screens to Web interfaces, without requiring any invasive code changes, access to source code, or OLTP (interface) processing capability, BCD claims.
According to BCD, Presto allows organizations to create Web browser-based interfaces for their RPG or COBOL applications–including menu screens–in less than a day. This bit of magic is accomplished by pairing a conversion tool that generates HTML from the DDS code of i OS applications with the Apache Web server that is built into i OS.
Applications that have been Web-enabled with Presto can be further refined through a Windows-based development environment that is included with the tool. This development environment allows users to add AJAX-style elements, such as drop-down boxes and pop-up calendars, as well as images, graphs, and hyperlinks. Templates can also be used to maintain a consistent look and feel across a collection of screens.
Presto is best suited to organizations that need to move their 5250 screens to the Web, and don’t have a lot of time or money with which to do it. In this respect, it’s the quick and easy choice compared to rewriting applications in RPG CGI, Java, .NET, or PHP, according to Duncan Kenzie, CTO of BCD’s software development group and president of Excel Systems.
“In most cases, people aren’t looking to make a drastic change to their applications,” Kenzie says. “These applications have been in production for years and their users are comfortable with them. They do, however, want improvements like browser-based access and UI changes, including drop down boxes, images, Google Maps, calendars, and the ability to navigate through applications using a mouse instead of a keyboard, all of which are very important for new users. We’ve made it very easy for them to accomplish this with Presto.”
BCD introduced Presto to the world earlier this year at the COMMON conference in Nashville, Tennessee. The product was originally slated for delivery in June, but was delayed. Along with Presto, BCD introduced the ClearPath Modernization Suite, which rolls several BCD offerings, including Presto, the WebSmart IDEs, Nexus Portal, Clover Query, SmartCharts, and Catapult.
BCD is promoting the combination of Presto and other tools as a way for System i shops to gain the flexibility they need to tackle a variety of modernization challenges. Presto excels when quick Web-enablement of the 5250 green screen is the primary goal. When a deeper level of modernization is required, BCD recommends pairing Presto with WebSmart PHP or WebSmart ILE, which enables users to develop entirely new RPG or PHP applications.
Presto is available now. Customers can select from two licenses, one that defines the number of seats, and another that provides an unlimited number of seats. For more information, visit www.bcdsoftware.com.