IBM Adds ‘Rich UI’ Design Tool to Rational Business Developer
December 16, 2008 Alex Woodie
System i shops considering the move to EGL and more modern development techniques will be interested in learning about the enhancements that IBM has delivered with Rational Business Developer version 7.5.1, which became available two weeks ago. With this release, Big Blue delivered a new component called EGL Rich UI, which IBM claims takes much of the grunt work out of designing and creating Web 2.0-style user interfaces. It also added support for key Internet technologies, and bolstered its support for mainframe applications.
Rational Business Developer is IBM’s primary offering for developing Web 2.0 applications that offer rich user experiences, and which often exist within the confines of a service oriented architecture (SOA). The product is a member of the Java-based Eclipse framework, and is the primary development tool for programming in Enterprise Generation Language (EGL), IBM’s new strategic fourth-generation language (4GL) that generates Java and COBOL. The software can be found in the most forward-looking System i shops, and will almost always be deployed alongside the more familiar Rational Developer for IBM i (RDi) development suite.
Included with the EGL Rich UI is an editor for creating the Web 2.0 interface. From within this editor, the developer has access to a range of screens that display the available “widgets” (pre-built Web 2.0 screen components). IBM includes a bunch of widgets with Rational Business Developer 7.5.1, including widgets for data tables, calendars, and basic data entry. It also supports third-party widget libraries, such as those from Dojo Dijit and Yahoo. There are also outline views and properties views for gaining a better understanding of the widgets, according to IBM.
The EGL Rich UI enables some Web browser functions that you might take for granted, such as the forward and back key and the history function. Support for decimals and the publish/subscribe mechanisms are other new features with this release.
On the Web services protocol front, support for the Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) and Representational State Transfer (REST) protocols are key new features enabled with this release. Support for these sometimes competing standards is critical if developers want to build sophisticated and robust enterprise applications on the Web.
Rational Business Developer’s support for the mainframe and mainframe applications has been improved considerably with this release. COBOL applications generated from EGL can now run within the z/VSE environment. Support for SQL stored procedures for EGL-generated COBOL will give developers more options for handling business logic. CICS transactions can be called from batch COBOL applications running under z/OS. Lastly, this release brings support for CICS channels and containers for COBOL and Java applications running on the mainframe.
Rational Business Developer 7.5.1 became available December 2. Pricing starts at $3,000 per seat. For more information, visit IBM’s Rational Business Developer homepage.