DRV Unveils Fresh New Mobile Apps for Message Management
August 19, 2014 Alex Woodie
DRV Technologies recently unveiled new mobile apps that allow administrators to view and respond to IBM i messages and jobs from the comfort of their iOS or Android mobile devices. The apps were unveiled as part of a major update to DRV’s FlexTool suite.
In July, DRV unveiled FlexTool version 6, which includes new releases of the SpoolFlex, FormFlex, Secure Checks, DBXFlex (formerly DataFlex), and MessageFlex components. The company markets them as a bundle but sells the products separately.
The update brings a new mobile interfaces to MessageFlex, a message automation solution that automatically monitors IBM i message and job queues; filters the messages according to type, content, or severity; automatically responds to less critical messages; and escalates important messages to human administrators via texts, emails, or mobile apps.
DRV has supported mobile interfaces since MessageFlex launched in 2010. But the new mobile phone and tablet interfaces unveiled with MessageFlex version 2 are much more user-friendly than DRV’s earlier mobile UI efforts.
“Many of the enhancements contained in the release of FlexTools V6.0 include changes in the Software User Interface making the software even more user friendly and easier to use,” says DRV president Richard Voss. “We are always looking at ways to modify/change the software to improve the users experience based on direct feedback from our customers.”
Besides the new mobile apps, MessageFlex version 2 brings new capabilities to monitor job queues, specific jobs, subsystems, and other system resources. These enhancements will make it easier for administrators to stay on top of potentially important events on their IBM i servers, such as dwindling DASD, failed backups, and long-running jobs, from the comfort of their mobile devices.
The MessageFlex mobile app is an optional add-on and will cost existing clients $495 for unlimited users. New customers can bundle MessageFlex with the mobile app for $3,490.
FormFlex and PDFDirect
The company’s electronic document management tool, called FormFlex, also sees a major update with the release of FlexTools suite version 6. The big news here is the introduction of PDFDirect, an optional add-on module that generates streamlined PDF documents that can be efficiently stored on the IBM i server’s IFS.
PDFDirect takes a fresh approach to supporting PDFs on the IBM i platform, according to DRV’s Christopher David. The problem with most electronic forms packages for the IBM i is that they were written in the 1990s with PCL-based laser printing in mind, and were later retrofitted to support PDFs.
However, those retrofits led to big and clunky PDFs that leaned heavily on either AFP or USER ASCII files when graphics are involved. That meant custom third-party translators were required to use the PDFs graphics with IBM systems, and the print version and PDF version were not identical.
By contrast, DRV developed FormFlex in the 21st century, David writes, so it avoided the legacy baggage of PCL and AFP and is able to generate PDFs directly from merged forms and data. The result of this is that PDFs generated with FormFlex are 66 percent smaller; support color and images; and can be distributed via email without additional software (the instructions are included in the document header), he says.
A license for FormFlex plus PDFDirect will go for about $6,000, which supports unlimited users, output queues, and forms.
SpoolFlex and DBXFlex
DRV also updated its flagship SpoolFlex product with FlexTools 6.0. The new release gains the capability to email and convert directly from the IBM WRKSPLF and WRKOUTQ screens. It also allows users to include multiple email attachments by bundling them in a single ZIP file; and the capability to specify *ALL when emailing attachments from a folder.
The DBXFlex report writer and query tool, which went by the name DataFlex when it was launched two years ago, has also been enhanced. The big new features include the capability to extract data from IBM i database files and output reports directly to Excel or PDF; the capability to add runtime variables to generate custom reports on the fly; and the capability to join multiple database files together for custom report extraction.
All DRV products require i5/OS V5R1 or higher. For more info, see www.drvtech.com.