BCD Refines Its Palette with Presto 4.7
May 7, 2013 Alex Woodie
It’s true that beauty lies in the eye of the beholder. But it’s also true that ugly websites can be spotted a mile away. To that end, Business Computer Design Int’l. has updated its Presto Web enablement tool to make it easier for customers to generate good-looking Web interfaces for their IBM i applications. Version 4.7 also adds a new spool-file-to-PDF conversion feature.
Many of the Web-related enhancements BCD delivered with Presto 4.7 were made to the Palette component of the Visual Editor. The Palette, which debuted in March 5, makes it easier to design Web interfaces by allowing users to not only see the catalog of pre-defined screen elements (like drop-down boxes and charts) they have at their disposal, but also to drag and drop those elements directly onto the screen they are designing.
BCD builds on the Palette idea with version 4.7 by adding predefined styles to two elements, including headings and containers.
BCD says that, by using Presto’s predefined headings (such as H1 and H2), users can give titles consistent styling across all screens, without the need to code in HTML or CSS. This allows users to style IBM i application screens like traditional Web pages, with page titles and subtitles that have different font sizes, the company says.
The new predefined styles for containers in version 4.7 give users a more effective way to group data in a container, without coding in CSS. Users gain two styles, including one for a container with a gradient background, and one with rounded corners, BCD says.
The other compelling new feature in version 4.7 is the spool-file-to-PDF conversion features, which gives users the capability to access IBM i spool files as PDFs. This function can be utilized on any screen in a Presto application, and will make it easier for users to share, email, and print IBM i output.
BCD has embraced a quicker version-release cycle as a way to get new features into the hands of its customers, with Presto and other tools as well. “We are constantly investing in Presto to make it faster for RPG programmers to modernize their IBM i, and our shorter release cycle gets these new features in our clients’ hands as quickly as possible,” says Eric Figura, BCD director of sales and marketing.
Presto is an on-the-fly GUI generator for green-screen interfaces that debuted in 2008. The software works by intercepting the 5250 data streams associated with IBM i applications and system screens, generating HTML versions of the screens according to pre-defined templates, and then serving the new Web screens from the Apache Web server that’s built into the OS.
Presto 4.7 is available now. Pricing is based on BCD’s internal tier system and the number of users, and starts at $3,000. For more information, see www.bcdsoftware.com.