CNX Opens Up Valence to Non-IBM i Platforms
June 20, 2018 Alex Woodie
Despite its numerical designation, the launch of Valence version 5.2 at the COMMON POWERUp18 conference in San Antonio, Texas, last month was hailed by CNX as a major announcement. According to Richard Milone, CNX’s co-founder and managing partner, the company was able to complete several major development projects in time for the delivery of version 5.2.
“Customers have often asked us if they could integrate apps written with, say Angular, React, or Vue.js into Valence’s role-based security and session management,” Milone states in a press release. “Prior to today the answer was no, as Valence’s APIs were all Ext JS-specific. But with Valence 5.2 we’ve made it completely framework-agnostic–developers can now write front-end code using any framework.”
The new Nitro App Builder should also give IBM i shops more freedom in how they develop applications. Formerly called Nitro Query, CNX decided to rename the product in order to reflect the fact that companies are using it to build fully interactive applications, not just running queries or building dashboards. What’s more, the App Builder furthers CNX’s journey into the “low code” realm, as it can give database-savvy “super users” the capability to develop new Web and mobile IBM i applications without programing skills.
The company includes half-a-dozen pre-built Nitro App Builder apps, such as Order Entry, to help customers get started. “We made a tremendous effort to create a broad collection of sample apps to show the breadth of different kinds of apps you can create with Nitro App Builder,” CNX Director of Product Development Johnny Major states in a press release. “Most of these examples didn’t require any coding whatsoever, including some amazing dashboard apps that you can easily use as models to create similar apps over your own data.”
Previous releases of Valence required RPG code running on IBM i to power business processes. But with the delivery of the “valence-connect” package in version 5.2, Valence customers now have the option of using Node.js on IBM i. Node.js can either be used by itself or in conjunction with RPG, the company says.
“Valence customers who already have apps developed with an RPG backend can start off slowly with Node.js and convert RPG functionality over to Node.js over time,” Major says. “This really makes for a very low-risk RPG-to-Node.js conversion effort.”
And now that Node.js is supported as a first-class language on Valence, it’s no surprise that the company is widening the number of operating systems that it officially supports for running Valence apps. So in addition to IBM i, customers have the option of running Valence Universal on Linux, Windows, and OS X servers.
“Some potential customers are hesitant to invest in IBM i apps if they feel they will be stuck there in the future,” Milone says. “Of course, we feel strongly that most customers who develop Valence apps for IBM i will ultimately decide to keep them there long-term, but it’s more comforting for them to know they could run them anywhere in the future for whatever reason.” We also have customers with highly mixed server environments of which IBM i on Power is just one. Many of those customers are eager to get their hands on Valence Universal for their non-IBM i app requirements.”
Chicago-based CNX introduced Valence nearly 10 years ago and since then has attracted hundreds of customers. The software is primarily used for new development, rather than modernization. For more info, see the company’s website at www.cnxcorp.com.