CNX Adds Refinements to i OS Web Modernization Toolkit
August 25, 2009 Alex Woodie
If your search for the right Web modernization tool for i OS has come up empty, you’re not alone. The folks at Chicago-based CNX also looked far and wide for a compelling and easy-to-use tool, including IBM HATS, CGIDEV2, WebSphere, and a handful of third-party options. But none of these turned into the “goldilocks” solution they had dreamed of. So, as the old saying goes, CNX–the experienced AS/400 and BPCS programmers that they were–decided to build one themselves.
With this “secret sauce” RPG layer, called the RPG Toolkit, providing back-end connectivity to the System i’s integrated Apache Web server, and the Ext JS toolkit providing all the widgets and gadgets for creating Web 2.0 browser interfaces, CNX believes it has created a largely native way of delivering a compelling Web 2.0 screen to new or existing i OS applications–all without writing Java or installing WebSphere.
Valence gained several improvements with version 2.0, which was made available as a release candidate last week and which is expected to become generally available in the next two weeks.
For starters, Valence 2.0 improves the integration with SQL. With this release, CNX is providing RPG programmers with a way to route the results of an SQL statement “straight to the browser with one line of code.” New ILE RPG procedures were also introduced that allow users to create and send e-mails and to create PDF documents.
AutoCode is intended to serve as a starting point for new application development, says Robert Swanson, one of the developers at Chicago, Illinois-based CNX. “The source it generates is normal, human-readable code, intended to be modified directly by a real live programmer, as opposed to CASE-tool-generated gobbledygook that is nearly impossible to decipher,” he writes in an e-mail. “We’re going to be adding a lot of bells and whistles to AutoCode in the coming months.” In addition, CNX will add a native AutoCode option that doesn’t use SQL statements, but generates code based on file names and fields. That should be available with version 2.0.
Valence 2.0 also brings to the System i all of the features that were introduced with Ext JS 3.0. EXT announced the general availability of Ext JS 3.0 earlier this month. In addition to support for REST and other features that will improve server communications, Ext JS 3.0 brings better management of memory for the Internet Explorer browser, better accessibility through support for full keyboard navigation and screen readers, and a new high-contrast display theme. All in all, there were more than 1,000 changes in Ext JS 3.0.
The Valence Portal has also had some work done. The portal–the starting point for development in the Valence Framework–was enhanced with a range of functional and aesthetic improvements, including new icons, the capability to filter navigation tree items, the several new capabilities to automatically log in and launch programs. Version 2.0 also brings several housekeeping changes, including support for library list overrides, and user validation and security improvements.
Because the development methodology of Valence 2.0 is significantly different than previous releases, applications written under Valence 1.x will not run under version 2.0. As a result, CNX is offering free migration services to customers with current maintenance contracts. A re-written user manual is also available with this release.
Valence 2.0 is in the late release candidate stage, and is expected to become generally available September 10. Pricing is unchanged at $4,995 per server. For more information and free 90-day downloads, see www.cnxcorp.com.