Installing the latest version of your favorite software suite can be an exciting time as you eagerly await your chance to try out all the latest features and bug fixes. However, as anyone who has installed one of the latest windows updates can tell you, they can also be a stressful time as these updates give a new chance for bugs and rogue features to jump up and cripple your system.
"By moving our interfaces to Profound UI, we’re protecting our technology investment while supporting our company’s future success, and proving to upper management that the IBM i is just as modern as any other business platform."
Blake Butterworth, Application Development Manager
Kansas Turnpike Authority
When faced with modernizing a decades-old IBM i (AS/400) application that has been maintained by several different RPG developers, it's easy to see how an IBM i development team might feel overwhelmed about where to begin. Not only could such a large-scale application modernization project be expensive, but it could potentially take a very long time and be very disruptive to the business.
The Visual Designer in our Profound UI suite is the easiest way to quickly create browser-based interfaces for your IBM i desktop applications. But did you know that the same technology is available for mobile development?
In this blog post, I'll walk you through a sample application that I created using Profound Mobile. Aside from a few design considerations for a mobile layout (vs. a desktop application), the development is very similar to what you would create with Profound UI. I've included the Rich Display File DDS, RPG, and CL source for this application at the bottom of this article. The application is driven by a standard RPG program, using the Open Access Handler.
In part 1 of this series we talked about what a Mass Conversion is. Now it's time to get to the really interesting stuff - how a Mass Conversion works and how to get started!
- Merging of multiple screens into a single screen
- Adding collapsible panels or tab panels
- Significant screen layout change and de-abbreviation
- Adding new input controls
- Autocomplete text boxes
- Check boxes and radio buttons
- Adding drag and drop capability
- Adding static and/or dynamic images
- Adding charts and graphs
- Adding subfile column sorting
To summarize, after only a period of months, all your DDS will be converted to HTML 5. Along with this, your green screen menu system will be converted to a web based system. Here is a summary of the results:
- Complete browser based application
- All green screens retired
- Display attributes converted into CSS classes that can be adjusted through external style sheets
- Conversion of all subfiles into HTML5 grid widgets
- Conversion of function key indicators into clickable buttons or links
- Conversion of RPGIII to RPGLE (mass conversion requires RPGLE)
- Optionally converting all backend code to the newer Free Format Syntax
You are most likely starting to see the benefits of a Mass Conversion, but here they are, clearly laid out for your reading pleasure:
- Your entire IBM i system will be modernized in a fraction of the time it would normally take. A matter of only months, in comparison to 5, 6, 7 plus years saving you millions of dollars, high risk and years of frustration.
- Remove all ties to green screen and replace with UI with HTML5 – for more benefits link to article about benefits of Profound UI
- The risk of having to re-write custom code is completely eliminated
- All of your backend logic that has been successfully running your business for years will be maintained. At the same time, it will be modernized to a format that will make it much easier to attract new programming talent from a variety of different backgrounds besides just RPG
- Your green screen menu system will be replaced with a web based one, bringing forth the following benefits:
- Providing capability to bring multiple pieces together under single-sign-on
- Giving users the ability to search through a menu, which is very helpful for multi-level menus with large sets of options
- Giving users customized menus based on programs and options they are authorized to
- Providing an alternative to a traditional green screen menu where users have to drill down through multiple menus just to get where they need to and then, have to back out to the main menu, just to drill back down to get to another program
- Allowing users to run multiple programs at once and easily switch between tabs to access them
So, if you’re evaluating ways to modernize your IBM i, or contemplating a move off the platform, reach out to us to explore a Mass Conversion. We are more than happy to do a no cost assessment that will provide you with all the details necessary to make an educated decision on what is best for your business. We’ve helped companies large and small, from a variety of industries, modernize their large scale business application systems in a fraction of the time it typically takes to modernize. The next modernized IBM i company on the block could be you!
For the next couple of weeks, I'll be discussing a solution that some folks don't know about - but should! And that solution is called Mass Conversion.
Not too long ago, I was discussing the “movable columns” feature of Profound UI’s Subfile Grid widget with a customer. They liked this feature, but wondered how they could show totals under their subfile and have them move along with the column automatically.
Layouts and Grids are some of the most flexible widgets in Profound UI. In this blog post, I will show you how the two widgets can work together to present many columns of information to the user, and to allow the user to scroll through these columns horizontally.
As you may have seen, IBM has announced a major technology refresh for IBM i 7.1 (TR7 for short). TR7 brings several updates to the table, including enhancements to the DB2 database and Application Runtime Expert product, and the arrival of Ruby on Rails.