LANSA Acquires aXes Products; Customers Likely Candidates for RAMP
April 28, 2009 Dan Burger
Two IBM i programmers can be given the same task and see the steps that need to be taken in entirely different ways. Add IT management, other departmental management, and executive management to a discussion about application development, application modernization, or application integration and the degree of difficulty shoots through the roof. You need options from simple refacing to more complex composite apps. That seems to be why LANSA acquired the intellectual property of the aXes suite of products from Arterial Software.
The aXes product suite is a set of native IBM i software solutions that Webfaces existing 5250 business applications so they become browser compatible without changes. It’s the simplest and quickest way to Web enable green-screen applications. For the technical-minded reader, this is accomplished by capturing 5250 screen data from the program I/O and transforming it into a lightweight XML document that’s compressed and sent to a Web browser where it’s uncompressed and displayed. The software can also be used to write new aXes apps using open source scripting language.
The aXes eBusiness suite consists of three software modules. The aXes Terminal Server provides Web enablement of 5250 applications with the automatic generation of a highly customizable graphical user interface (GUI). The aXes Data Explorer Server is designed to extract and publish live DB2/400 data in a browser or to send query output to desktop applications like Microsoft Word and Excel. And, the aXes Spool File Server provides point-and-click access to output queues and spool files, with print-ready documents available in PDF, XML, HTML, or text formats.
All modules run on the IBM System i, iSeries, and AS/400 servers and, in true thin client style, the only additional software required on the desktop or mobile device is a Web browser. The application server avoids hardware or operating system upgrades and can use either batch or interactive CPW. A live demo and a downloadable evaluation version can be found at www.axeslive.com.
For organizations looking for the fastest and least expensive way to the Web, aXes provides one way to do that. However, LANSA already offered a similar option within its Rapid Application Modernization Program (RAMP) that was introduced in 2006, so adding another refacing entry point to the application modernization software market was probably not a priority.
Although the refacing approach to application modernization has been widely used (credit the simple, quick, and inexpensive process for that), it is generally seen as a temporary solution. It is also seen as a dead end solution because it does nothing to change the application navigation, which in some circumstances leaves a 5250 application in place where a composite application would be more productive.
Generally those who choose to reface application are planning a next step in the modernization process–or they soon will be. The hundreds of aXes users that are now LANSA customers are good candidates for more advanced modernization projects, and LANSA will be able to help them do that with products and services.