LANSA Takes a Whack at Mobile Devices with aXes
October 19, 2010 Alex Woodie
IBM i shops that want to develop mobile interfaces to their RPG or COBOL applications were given another option by LANSA last week with the launch of aXes Mobile. As an extension of its established aXes screen modernization tool, the new tool provides a quick route for creating IBM i client interfaces for the hottest handheld devices of the day, including iPhone, Android, Windows, and BlackBerry smartphones, and the surprise corporate hit of the year, the iPad.
aXes is an on-the-fly screen modernization tool that’s designed to be fast and uncomplicated to use. No changes to RPG, COBOL, or DDS source code are required, as the product works by directly capturing 5250 screen data, then transforming it into XML and HTML, which is compressed and sent to a Web browser from an HTTP server that’s built into the product. Similarly, no client components are required to be installed on the client device. All told, these features make aXes a good tactical tool for IBM i Web rejuvenation; it’s not intended to serve as a strategic tool for a long term re-write.
While aXes version 1.35 could deliver IBM i applications to the Web browsers of mobile devices, aXes Mobile takes its support of mobile devices to a whole new level. To that end, LANSA developed a brand new set of capabilities specifically to handle mobile devices, says Greg Best, vice president of business development at LANSA.
LANSA tried hard to ensure that aXes applications will run equally well on all mobile devices–including the iPhone, Android phones, Blackberrys, and even Microsoft’s new Windows Phone 7–as well as the different Web browsers that users will run, including IE, Firefox, Safari, and Chrome. Adopting HTML5 and WebKit technologies with aXes is instrumental in that effort, Best says.
Much of today’s mobile computing focus is on smart phones like the iPhone and Android, which are extremely popular in the consumer market, and becoming more so in the corporate market. But the bigger mobile game-changer may reside in tablet-sized devices like the Apple iPad, which are generating a lot of buzz in the corporate environment. It may seem odd, but distributors are deploying $500 iPads in warehouses.
LANSA wants to ride that computing wave with aXes Mobile. “The tablet market is about to explode with competitors to the iPad, like RIM’s Playbook, and aXes will allow the typical COBOL or RPG developer to deliver IBM i applications to these new devices,” Best writes.
LANSA also wrote new tutorials to help developers get up to speed with aXes Mobile. The tutorials are self-paced, and specifically focused on techniques and design approaches for mobile applications, Best says. “The tutorials are in a format that uses RPG, 5250 DDS, and are easily understandable by RPG and COBOL programmers,” he writes.
aXes Mobile is available now as a component of the aXes suite. For more information and downloads, see www.axeslive.com.