New No-Code, Low-Code Mobile App From LANSA
July 28, 2014 Dan Burger
Getting started on a mobile application development project can seem just slightly less challenging than swimming up Niagara Falls. And sometimes, after you’ve started the project, it can seem like hurtling down Niagara Falls. Well, hold on, there are ways to dismiss your panic attacks. One option is the just-out-of-the-oven aXes Mobile App cooked up by the IBM midrange pros at LANSA.
The best advice for first-time mobile app developers is to keep it simple and make it work. Don’t try to build the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on your first try. A better choice for the majority of IBM i shops where green screens predominate is to modernize those existing 5250 screens so they look like rich Internet apps that were made to display on mobile devices. Extending those apps with more features and functionality should be a plan for phase two. Phase one is all about getting information in the hands of the mobile workforce and allowing that data to be displayed using functions like dropdown boxes, radio buttons, checkboxes, charts, and hyperlinks.
LANSA’s aXes Mobile makes this easier than your imagination allows you to anticipate, regardless of whether your mobile devices are powered by Apple iOS or Google Android. And because the app is already created–and available as a download from the Apple App Store and Google Play users have the built-in device capabilities such as single-shot photography, video, audio, geolocation, maps, signature capture, and barcode reading.
Keeping the mobile users productive is the real point for creating mobile apps, so you want them to be able to read and write data to the mobile device’s local file system as well as upload and download files to the integrated file system on the IBM i.
The aXes Mobile app is an extension of LANSA’s aXes Web enablement software, an on-the-fly screen modernization toolkit for converting green-screen applications to browser-based apps. In turn, aXes is integrated into LANSA’s Rapid Application Modernization Program (RAMP) suite of tools for i OS application modernization. RAMP is designed to integrate the refacing of existing 5250 applications (which is what aXes does) with new browser-based app development. The former being considered a short-term solution to an immediate need and the latter being a long-term strategic plan.
The aXes Framework is a HTML page capable of hosting multiple terminal sessions. It’s created so users can conveniently design page layouts including multiple panels using a wizard to simplify page layouts. By allowing multiple 5250 sessions to the same IBM i server, data can be shared without the green-screen navigation nightmare of umpteen pages and menus. Consider how this might add efficiencies when sharing data among ordering, invoicing, and customer management screens or how this could streamline queries over the DB2 for i database and presentation in Excel.
aXes installs on the IBM i server and uses a combination of XML and CGI to enable on-the-fly screen conversions without source code changes or installation of client software.
For more information on LANSA’s aXes Web enablement software, visit the aXes Web page.