Software AG Delivers iPad Client for webMethods JIS
February 12, 2013 Alex Woodie
Software AG has just put the finishing touches on a major new release of webMethods JIS, the Web-enablement solution for IBM i and z/OS servers that was formerly owned by Jacada. Version 9.2 brings the first taste of mobility with a new iPad client. It also introduces a new 64-bit Java runtime, simplified installation, and various other enhancements and fixes.
In 2007, Software AG spent about $26 million to acquire three products–Jacada Interface Server (JIS), Jacada Integrator, and a terminal emulator–from Atlanta, Georgia-based Jacada. Today, Jacada retains rights to some of these products only for use in its call-center modernization solutions, while the German software powerhouse continues to develop the products.
Web enablement is still important for many IBM i and mainframe shops, but generating mobile interfaces is arguably a bigger priority. To that end, Software AG has made a big move with the launch of webMethods JIS version 9.2, which the company made available to about 250 existing JIS customers early this year.
The new iOS client in webMethods JIS 9.2 enables workers to access IBM i and mainframe servers using the Safari Web browser on iPads. The iPad client is an HTML5 application, and the JIS software automatically generates touch-enabled interfaces from 5250 and 3270 datastreams.
The JIS developers wrote the product to support specific elements of iOS on iPad, such as the capability to simulate right-click actions of a mouse using touch-screen functions, and the capability to scroll within tables using touch. The developers also replaced the calendar component of JIS with the native iPad calendar widget.
The iPad client is the first step Software AG is making in the mobile world with the JIS product. It’s not a bad place to start, considering the huge popularity of the Apple device in the consumer and business worlds.
But you can expect to see Software AG support other mobile platforms. Last year, company officials told IT Jungle that it already had an Android client working in the lab. Apparently it wasn’t ready to go when version 9.2 shipped. And even the iPad client is a work in progress; there are considerable limitations, including no support for function keys. Software AG will continue to develop mobile features in future releases.
Another major feature in version 9.2 is the 64-bit Java runtime and the scalability improvements it will bring. With version 9.2, Software AG has completed the migration to Java for the JIS server component, and has eliminated all remaining code written in C, which was not compatible with 64-bit operating systems. Software AG will still ship the 32-bit Java server in JIS, but only for testing purposes. For production applications, it recommends that all customers use the 64-bit environment due to the better performance.
In its version 9.2 release notes, Software AG explains that the 2 GB memory limitation of 32-bit environments put a cap on the number of sessions (per processor thread) that the JIS server can support simultaneously. With the 32-bit runtime, each processor thread could support 200 sessions, whereas the 64-bit runtime can support 500 to 800 sessions per processor thread.
Due to the architectural change, Software AG recommends that customers run the Verifier Utility to make sure that the Screen Interpreter component of JIS 9.2 is producing the exact output as it previously did.
Software AG also streamlined the configuration of the JIS servers with this release. Previously, customers had to deploy a separate “common installation” component to the application server (either WebSphere or Tomcat), and then configure the application server to work with the common installation component, which the company says was difficult and error prone. With this release, the only thing that customers have to install is the Java file for the runtime.
IBM i shops will need to change their deployments with version 9.2 if they ran JIS on their IBM i servers. With this release, Software AG has retired the standalone server on IBM i. Instead, users will need to run the JIS stack on a Windows, Unix, or Linux server, although DDS converting components still reside on IBM i. It has also retired other old Jacada components, including: Innovator; Jacada Connects; application clustering; the common installation for application servers; and the standalone Java client proxy servlet.
Version 9.2 also brings support for generating IBM i device names. Software AG says that this “enables associating an AS/400 device name with the workstation from which the connection originated, thus enabling better trace-ability for the host administrator.” It also enhances support for keyboard buffering (It’s now integral to the product instead of requiring a separate license.) and an upgrade to the internal Jetty Web server to version 8.1.5.
Software AG will be hosting a webinar on the enhancements in version 9.2 on February 19. For more information, see www.softwareag.com.