Business Computer Design International Inc. (BCD) has released WebSmart 4, packed with new features and functions. For new users, several application templates and wizards have been added to improve productivity. Other new features including external design tool interoperability, extended change management capabilities and new email functionality, make WebSmart 4 the most well rounded, universally viable web application development environment available for iSeries shops.
To help new WebSmart developers get their applications off the ground quickly, six new template families have been added, each with a new look and feel. Within each template family there are eight different functional templates. The templates are seamlessly integrated with a new powerful and customizable wizard that guides developers through the process of setting up their programs.
These templates in combination with the new wizard capabilities offer new functionality to programmers, including a design-time option to use dynamic or static references to HTML includes and style sheets, the option to include add, change and delete capabilities on a per-program basis, and many others. The templates have also become more adaptable by supporting custom wizard screens. Now a template can be modified to present additional custom wizard screens containing input fields, checkboxes and drop down boxes.
Templates also support user-defined directives that condition the inclusion or exclusion of particular sections of the template, based on input provided by the programmer during the wizard phase of development.
The WebSmart IDE now lets developers specify an external HTML design tool for visual (WYSIWIG) HTML page design. For convenience, popular design tools such as Microsoft Front Page, Macromedia Dreamweaver, HTML Kit and others can be integrated with WebSmart 4's IDE. The WebSmart IDE now uses the developer's HTML previews to merge the constituent segments such as list header, details and footer, into a single page, and then launches the preferred HTML design tool with that page. After changes are saved, WebSmart extracts the component segments from the tool and saves the HTML in a WebSmart file, keeping intact any changes made in the external design tool, along with original design work done in the WebSmart IDE.
New Change Management features now integrated into WebSmart 4 help save time and reduce confusion. Automated modification logging tracks access to a definition and all of the operations performed on it. This activity can be audited, making it easy to determine when a change was made and who made it. WebSmart's CM functionality also supports definition archiving. Different definition versions can be archived, then restored or compared to others that are archived, or to the current version of the definition. With these enhancements, incremental development work is more easily tracked, and rollback to earlier codebases is simplified.
Centralized definition management facilitates definition locking, which prevents contention between developers working with the same definition. Also, by storing definitions centrally on the iSeries, they are easier to manage, find, backup or access remotely.
Definitions can now be easily migrated from one development environment to another in V4. This important new feature enables developers to define a change management environment for existing WebSmart developed applications, and the export feature quickly moves whole applications to other systems for development work.
Topping the wish list of current WebSmart users are expanded email capabilities. In response to customer requests, WebSmart 4 can now interact with a non-iSeries SMTP server, and it now offers HTML support so users can place tables and graphics in the body of an eMail. Support for multiple attachments has also been added along with CC and BCC eMail recipients.
Other enhancements include inline PML coding, intelligent segment previews, automatic hot-key segment preview, the ability to launch a new session from an existing one, support for PML contexts in the HTML, new user validation functions, the ability to browse for iSeries database files, and many more.
The ProGen WebSmart Interactive Development Environment (IDE) for unlimited developers ranges from $6,000 to $9,500. The Web Application Server (WAS) for unlimited end-users runs $4,500 to $9,500 based on the model and processor.
BCD offers a fully functional version of WebSmart 4 on a free trial basis. To download WebSmart, visit http://www.bcdsoftware.com. For an evaluation copy on CD, call BCD at (630) 986 0800 or email BCD at email@example.com.
In the past 20-plus years, BCD has sold over 28,000 copies of their inspired and award winning software products to the IBM Midrange community and has won 20 industry awards. Today, WebSmart, Catapult and ProGen Plus are among their most widely used products. The Nexus Portal is the latest addition in BCD's lineup of web and iSeries development and end-user productivity tools.