m-Power Gets Better Record Filtering, Other Goodies
May 4, 2010 Alex Woodie
Developers at mrc have been hard at work the last few months, and the results show with several new capabilities added to the company’s flagship m-Power development tool, which is used to generate Web applications for i/OS and other platforms. Among the enhancements are better record filtering, improved control of user input, and a new performance analysis tool. And at the COMMON show yesterday, the company announced support for pivot tables.
Chicago-based mrc eschews the traditional “big bang” approach for releasing new functionality to customers, and instead trickles out enhancements and fixes via its Web site on a nearly continuous basis. While such a steady stream of enhancements, it can be hard to pinpoint big important new features, but the technique seems to work well for customers who want new features fast, or for whom the quarterly or semi-annual version/release updates are too much of a hassle to deal with.
The two dozen updates and enhancements that mrc unveiled for m-Power last month are no exception. Depending on what customers are doing with m-Power–creating Web 2.0 reports, modernizing 5250 screens, or building an executive information system (EIS)–they can pick and choose which new features matter to them, and then go grab them off the mrc Web site.
Some of the most useful new features improve the way users select and filter records in m-Power, which automates much of the development process through the use of wizards and templates.
The new record selection and filtering screen allows users to add as many values to a list filter as they want. If a user wants to build a report that shows product sales by state, they could use this feature to add as many states as they need, according to mrc’s example.
Overall, mrc says it has improved the design of the record selection and filtering screen to ensure that the user’s input is valid. Additionally, it has eliminated older limitations on selection ranges, which should make it easier for the user to get the results they are looking for.
A new probe analysis tool is also available for m-Power. This tool, which was developed by a third-party vendor, tells developers how their m-Power applications are running, and provides a way to log the data. This will be particularly useful for customers running m-Power apps on the System i, which sometimes has issues with Java and memory consumption.
Another new enhancement will allow m-Power developers to quickly see all tables in a given library when registering the library to m-Power’s data dictionary. This feature will make it easier for developers to find the necessary tables, mrc says.
In previous releases, m-Power would sometimes present fields on the screen in a manner of its own choosing. Now, fields are displayed on the screen in the order in which they were added, which gives the m-Power developer more control over the appearance of their apps.
Many of these enhancements were added at the behest of customers, says Brian Crowley, mrc’s director of development. “Over the years, m-Power has improved and evolved based on customer feedback, and this upgrade is no different,” Crowley says. “These improvements are exciting because they not only give m-Power greater functionality and flexibility, they also give our customers extra capabilities they want and need.”
Yesterday at the COMMON show in Orlando, Florida, the vendor unveiled support for pivot tables in m-Power. We’ll cover this new feature in depth in an upcoming issue of Four Hundred Stuff.
For a full list of recent enhancements and updates, see mrc’s support Web page at www.mrc-productivity.com/Support.