LANSA Gives aXes Screen Modernization Tool a Makeover
September 29, 2009 Alex Woodie
AS/400 shops will be able to modernize their 5250 screens to look like rich internet applications (RIA) using the latest release of LANSA‘s aXes Web enablement software. With last week’s launch of the new aXes eXtensions workbench, the vendor is allowing users to add things like dropdown boxes, images, checkboxes, and charts to their 5250 screens. As was the case before, the transformation is conducted on the fly, with no software required on the PC.
aXes is an on-the-fly screen modernization tool for IBM i OS applications that was originally created by Arterial Software of Australia. The product–which works by capturing 5250 screen data directly 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–had been distributed by Linoma Software before LANSA acquired the rights to the product directly from Arterial in April of this year.
In the five months since acquiring aXes, LANSA has been working to enhance the look and feel of the HTML screens that are generated, as well as the administration of the product. The result of that work is on display with aXes version 1.33, which features the eXtensions workbench.
The eXtensions design workbench allows users to spruce up their Web-inized 5250 screens with things like dropdown boxes, check boxes, radio buttons, calendars, charts, hyperlinks, images, lines, and boxes. It even includes a full color palette to customize the colors just to your liking.
eXtensions allows users to modify any 5250 screen to look the way they want. The workbench lets users move elements around on the screen; hide or display screen elements; add pop-up calendars in place of date fields; and use pop-up “tool tips” instead of long labels.
aXes customers could add these types of GUI artifacts to their modernized screens before this release, but it required more extensive HTML programming, says Greg Best, vice president of business development for the Chicago, Illinois, company. “Before the eXtensions, it was a little more work to get it,” he says.
Another new eXtensions feature is the capability to deliver remote SQL query access against DB2/400. This gives users real-time access to the database, and a means for outputting the results of the query to Excel and Word, LANSA says.
Another eXtensions feature gives users point-and-click access to output queues, spool files, and reports in PDF, XML, HTML, or plain text.
Last but not least is a new management screen that allows administrators to manage user sessions, monitor the server, and give helpdesk personnel visibility into a user’s session for troubleshooting purposes.
aXes has been fully integrated into LANSA’s flagship development tools, including its Rapid Application Modernization Program (RAMP) suite of tools for i OS application modernization, Best says. LANSA still offers RAMP customers the option of using the newlook on-the-fly screen modernization software from looksoftware instead of aXes. It all depends on the customer’s preference, says Best, noting that newlook utilizes an ActiveX control on the Web browser. (Some customers don’t want anything on their browser.)
LANSA is currently ramping up the sales and marketing activities around aXes, which the company hopes to distribute to the System i community via resellers. One of the big selling points, according to the company, is that aXes uses the standard ports–including port 80 for standard HTTP and port 443 for HTTPS–that are used for general-purpose Web browsing, as opposed to other ports often required by Telnet, which many companies are reluctant to open. “If you can get to Google, you can use aXes,” LANSA says.
LANSA also says it dropped the price of aXes, but it didn’t release pricing details before IT Jungle‘s deadline for this newsletter. For more information on the product, see www.lansa.com or www.axeslive.com.