HATS Delivers an i Server to iPhone Connection
April 27, 2010 Alex Woodie
System i and System z shops that are looking for a relatively quick and easy way to deliver application interfaces to the Apple iPhone or iPod Touch mobile devices may want to check out IBM‘s latest version 7.5.1 release of Rational Host Access Transformation Services, or HATS. Support for Web services, Lotus Notes rich clients, and AJAX capabilities have also been enhanced.
HATS version 7.5.1–or IBM Rational Host Access Transformation Services for Multiplatforms and 5250 Applications V7.5.1 if you prefer formal IBM product names–was announced on April 13 along with i/OS 7.1, and becomes available via electronic delivery on May 26, with physical media coming about two weeks later.
The biggest new feature is support for the mobile Apple devices. IBM says HATS 7.5.1 enables the creation of projects and user interfaces that are optimized for the mobile devices. Enabling users to access 5250 and 3270 applications through a graphical interface displayed on these mobile devices will provide better worker productivity, IBM says.
Another significant feature is the capability to deploy HATS clients to run in a Lotus Notes environment. One of the benefits of the new Lotus Notes rich client for HATS is having i/OS or z/OS application screens accessible right alongside Notes and Domino interfaces, providing a more unified desktop for the worker. Better application response time through client-side processing is another benefit.
HATS can also be used to expose 5250 and 3270 business processes using Web services technology, and HATS 7.5.1 offers an improvement in this area as well. With this release, customers are provided an easier way to create Web service definitions. Users are only required to select the desired input and output properties that they want exposed as parameters for the Web service, thereby eliminating the need to expose them all and improving performance, IBM says.
HATS offers a lot of client-side options. In addition to Web browsers, Lotus Notes, iPhones, Web services, and Eclipse-based rich client platforms (RCPs), IBM will deliver a HATS client as a JSR-168 component, which is the industry standard for Web portals. IBM now supports single sign-on (SSO) capabilities with JSR-168 portlets using the Web Express Logon (WEL) mechanism, which was previously only supported for Web apps and IBM portlets.
IBM also offers something called the Visual Macro Editor, which is used to customize a HATS screen beyond the standard rules-based transformation that the product generates. Now with 7.5.1, the Visual Macro Editor gains the capability to create macros that grab data “from non-text planes of the host screen.” In other words, users can now include things like colors, fields, extended fields, DBCS, and grid planes into their HATS apps.
Other new features include: a new calendar widget that integrates directly into the HATS screen and eliminates the need for a pop-up calendar; two new templates for customizing the appearance of HATS apps; and the capability to restrict 3270 fields to numeric data only.
For more info, see IBM U.S. Software Announcement 210-140 (pdf).