LANSA Adds E-Commerce to LongRange Mobile App
April 16, 2013 Alex Woodie
LANSA last week unveiled Commerce Edition Mobile, a new tool that speeds the creation and deployment of e-commerce enabled mobile applications that can be served from the IBM i platform. The new offering, which was announced at the COMMON conference, combines parts of its LongRange mobile application and LANSA Commerce Edition, and will be available this summer. The company also announced a new release of its core LongRange offering.
Commerce Edition Mobile provides a pre-developed framework on which to build a complete e-commerce storefront that can be delivered as a mobile application. The software runs on the IBM i server, and is optimized for popular Android and iOS smartphones and tablets.
The RPG-based application includes much of the functionality that LANSA already offers through its full Commerce Edition product, including: credit card processing; shipment tracking; freight calculation; account and invoice inquiry; order templates; signature capture; address books; multi-storefront management; and product and personal catalogs.
And just like the full Commerce Edition product, which LANSA says has been used to generate thousands of B2B and B2C Web sites over the years, the new Commerce Edition Mobile sports the same integration points to back-end ERP systems. According to LANSA product marketing manager Dave Brault, Commerce Edition offers API connectivity to 16 popular IBM i-based ERP systems, including JD Edwards, BPCS, and others.
The idea with this new offering is simple: Instead of paying a developer to write custom code to automate these e-commerce processes in the context of a mobile application, customers can buy this package, customize it to their liking, and quickly deploy it from the comfort of their IBM i servers.
This much functionality doesn’t come cheap. Brault says the package will be in the $50,000+ range, which he says is what a company would pay a mobile app developer to deliver just a fraction of the capability that Commerce Edition Mobile can deliver.
LANSA also unveiled LongRange RV11, the latest release of its mobile application development and deployment platform. LongRange, which LANSA launched just a year ago, basically delivers a native mobile application shell–written in Java for Android and Objective C for iOS–and the RPG-based application that powers the apps from the IBM i server. The tool allows users to write their own mobile app business logic in RPG and DDS, and then deploy the application using the pre-defined client-side interface for mobile devices.
With the RV11 release, LANSA has created a clear separation between the Android and iOS clients, while keeping the ability to target both mobile platforms with a single development effort.
Earlier releases of the product would implement similar experiences on Android and iOS. This led to less-than-ideal UI elements in some cases, according to Brault, such as the use of “bread crumb trails” as a navigational aide when using LongRange in iOS, which doesn’t feature a back button, as Android does. New design patterns have also been adopted that are unique to each platform.