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iSeries software converts green screen programs to Web

iSeries software provider Profound Logic has released a new version of RPGsp, which allows developers to take RPG-coded green-screen applications and convert them to HTML for easier viewing in Web browsers.

A Dayton, Ohio company has released a new version of its signature product, RPGsp, that allows iSeries users to...

convert green screen applications coded in RPG to Web-friendly HTML.

Profound Logic Software Inc. says the new feature is helpful for companies looking to make their green screen applications easier for end users, as well as new hires who have a distaste for green screen applications. It also says that training time on the Web GUI is much easier than on the green screen.

"It can actually take an existing green-screen application and produce a working Web application," said David Russo, sales director for Profound Logic. "The converted code is still RPG code, and it uses CGI technology to output the HTML code."

There is plenty of conversion software in the iSeries marketplace. Russo said that what makes RPGsp unique is its ability to actually convert RPG code to HTML, allowing for a more fully functional Web browser. Other conversion programs use what he said is a "screen-scraping technology" that spit the RPG onto a browser but still use the original Telnet protocol, 5250, limiting the Web browser application's functionality to what the original green-screen application can do.

With RPGsp, "you can now do things on a browser, such as add pop-up calendars and add more fields for the screen," Russo said.

The new version, 5.6.3, is available now and starts at about $7,000.

David Grant, executive vice president at Mini-Max Information Systems Inc. in Louisville, Ky, said he's been using RPGsp for about three years to create RPG-based applications that run on Web browsers. The company resells iSeries and AS/400 boxes, and builds applications for customers.

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Grant said that Profound Logic's software sets up templates to create Web applications in RPG code that he can then fiddle around with as needed.

"The big advantage is it does 75% of the initial work for you," he said. "Then you can go in and make whatever changes you need to."

Grant said that companies don't want applications built from scratch to be in green screen anymore. Training tends to take much longer than on Web browsers, and with some businesses seeing high rates of turnover, the long training can end up being fruitless.

Russo recalled one of its customers that was using green-screen programs to check guests into hotels. The company said it was taking four weeks to train new employees on the green-screen program, and the turnover among hotel clerks was too high to justify that time investment.

"It's not good for them to be training them for a month when they can get them up and going right away on a Web browser," Russo said.

Grant had a similar story. One of Mini-Max's customers had an order-entry application for its remote salesmen, who would log in to the system and encounter the green screen program. The application had been in place for five or six years, and the functionality was satisfactory, but again, there was the issue of training.

"They just felt that a new salesman coming on could pick up on the order processing a whole lot quicker through the Web browser than the green screen," Grant said.

He added that Mini-Max made some small cosmetic changes to the program once it was converted to the Web, but that "the logic from the 5250 to the HTML was 90% that you didn't have to go in and do anything with it."

Let us know what you think about the story; e-mail: Mark Fontecchio, News Writer

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