IBM Goes Dojo with HATS V8
August 16, 2011 Alex Woodie
IBM i developers got new tools for creating modern Web 2.0 style interfaces last week when IBM started shipping Rational Host Access Transformation Services (HATS) version 8. Chief among the cool new features is support for the Dojo Toolkit, which gives developers a collection of pre-cast widgets for rapidly building interactive websites. Other notable new features include JSR286 support, type-ahead capabilities, iPad support, and generation of RESTful Web services. IBM also launched Host Integration Solutions (HIS) version 8.
HATS is a rules-based screen transformation engine that turns 5250 and 3270 screens into graphical Web clients, Java- or Lotus-based rich clients, or into Web services for functions that don’t have screens. The software includes plug-ins for IBM’s Eclipse-based IDEs, and runs on WebSphere Application Server or WebSphere Portal Server.
The Dojo Toolkit library includes an assortment of menus, tabs, sortable tables, dynamic charts, animated effects (such as fades or slides), tree widgets, calendars, and clocks. The Dojo Toolkit components are all cross-platform and cross-browser compatible, and will help HATS keep pace with the expectations of developers and end users.
According to IBM, developers can use HATS Dojo widgets to render certain HATS host components during screen transformations, and then use the Dojo Toolkit and Rational IDE to further customize the widget and its input and output properties. This allows developers to customize Dojo components in HATS “in a standard way,” IBM says.
iPad support is another cool new feature delivered in HATS 8. IBM added support for the iPhone with the launch of HATS 7.5.1 in April 2010. Now, support for the world’s leading tablet computer will make it easier to render clients that fit the iPad’s dimensions.
HATS 8 also brings support for JAX-RS RESTful Web services. IBM says HTTP-based, RESTful-based Web services offer better performance and use less bandwidth than Web services written with Web Services Description Language (WSDL), which uses Simple Object Application Protocol (SOAP).
On the Web portal front, HATS 8 gets support for JSR286, enabling HATS components to play nicely with all other JSR286-supported portal pieces. In addition to support for JSR 286 events and the Web Services for Remote Portlets (WSRP) specification, the new version also gains the auto-disconnect and auto-refresh functions that were previously available only for HATS-generated Web clients.
One rich-client feature was listed in the announcement letter for HATS 8: type-ahead support. IBM says type-ahead support lets a user continue to type data into input fields while the previous screen is still being processed. This feature will undoubtedly help pacify old-school employees who could speed through their 5250 green screens with the greatest of ease, but felt bogged down with the HATS screens, which are prettier but necessarily slower.
HATS works with the latest Rational IDEs, including Rational Developer for Power System Software 8.0 and Rational Developer for System i for SOA Construction 8.0, among others. For more information, see IBM United States Software Announcement 211-301 (pdf).
IBM also shipped a version 8 release of Host Integration Solutions (HIS) for 5250 Applications. IBM bills HIS for 5250 as complete solutions for accessing any IBM i applications. To that end, the software includes a copy of HATS for transforming 5250 screens, terminal emulators for accessing good old green screens using a PC or a browser, and a Rational IDE for hooking it all together.
The big change with HIS 8 (besides the new features in HATS 8) is the addition of Rational Developer for Power Systems Software: Power Tools for i version 8.0. IBM says this tool (which doesn’t have a suitable acronym) replaces Rational Developer for IBM i for SOA Construction, which was contained in earlier releases of HIS.
IBM introduced the Power Tools for i option last October with the launch of RDP version 8. The software combines two existing products, including the Java-focused Rational Application Developer (RAD) Standard Edition for WebSphere Software 8.0 and RPG and COBOL Development Tools for i (formerly called Rational Developer for i). IBM says that stitching these tools together into a single workbench simplifies the development process for IBM i developers writing new Java, Java EE, Web 2.0, service oriented architecture (SOA), or WebSphere Portal applications that utilize existing RPG or COBOL assets.
HIS 8.0 includes the Windows-based 5250 terminal emulator Personal Communications version 6.0.1, the Web-based emulator Rational Host On-Demand version 11.0.2, the latest IBM Communications Server products for Windows, AIX, and Linux, and a copy of WebSphere Application Server–Express version 8.0. For more information, see IBM United States Software Announcement 211-313 (pdf).