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RPG Web Extensions: A new Software tool for i Apps

Up to 2014, whoever wanted to use modern “i applications” had to buy additional tools and invest in extra programming. Not any more: With RPG Web Extensions / WOPiXX, Toolmaker has developed a software tool that allows each and every RPG and COBOL programmer in the world to develop modern, browser-based applications. Modern HTML and javascript functions give you user friendly, interactive applications with the ease of use and intelligence of browser applications plus any additional functions possible on the web. The very best feature of RPG Web Extensions however is: The whole set is completely free.

In the past, several software and tool vendors have developed tools designed to either pimp the appearance the outdated 5250 applications through Windows or Java GUIs, or ported the RPG code to C# or Java. But up to this day there is no standard solution for the development of modern browser-based applications within the Power i programming arena using RPG and COBOL. With the concept presented here a new standard could be established.

RPG Web Extensions / WOPiXX is a function library for IBM Power i, which offers the programmer extended functionality in RPG and COBOL. The source code can be edited using RDi or PDM and be compiled using PDM option 14. The results are normal IBM objects that run on any Power i on which this new library is installed. Applications developed with WOPiXX have no DDS and offer no green screen. Batch programs are not affected because they offer no interaction with the user. The IBM supplied standard Apache web server is used to handle the connection with the browser sessions of the users.

Fast and easy development

The entire HTML and Javascript programming is encapsulated within the WOPiXX functions. This means, programmers who work with it do not need education in HTML or Javascript at all. Thanks to the simplicity of the WOPiXX functions beginners, as well such as “silver agers”, can – virtually overnight – develop native browser applications for IBM Power i. Thanks to the advanced efficiency concept which the WOPiXX environment offers, RPG and COBOL source code can be stripped by 50 to 80 percent (!) compared to traditional 5250 programs. The same savings apply to the time needed for coding RPG Web Extensions / WOPiXX compared to 5250 programs.

Worldwide free, worldwide available, worldwide usable

RPG Web Extensions / WOPiXX is free for all users; developers, software vendors, businesses etc. Everybody can make use of this function library for free and thus create any applications he or she desires. WOPiXX is prepared to face the need from around the world because of a well prepared concept : WOPiXX offers multi lingual development (currently available languages are English, German, French, Italian and Polish), multilingual help buttons for each field and unicode support. Thus, WOPiXX is prepared to run safely on any international level.

There are preparations underway to offer an app store for WOPiXX applications. Any and all relevant apps for System i will be offered worldwide. Users can choose from software offered for download. Thus, developers of apps (third-party) can generate income with their WOPiXX applications right out of the WOPiXX AppStore. This store offers developers an international marketplace for innovative native i applications. Apps on the store that are successfully tested and meet certain requirements of the App store will be awarded with a Quality seal .

The system is already working

Comfort: The RPG Web Extensions environment offers simple applications that provide for easier operation and handling i.e. for managing user profiles, passwords, subsystems, jobs, jobqs, spool files, triggers, and more.

Security: The built-in security mechanisms protect against unauthorized external users as well as against uncontrolled attacks from any users into the system. The WOPiXX system has already passed comprehensive intrusion testing by IBM.

Quality: Even though the WOPiXX environment will be made available to the global market beginning 2014 , several applications have already been developed and are successfully in use on this platform since 2011 . The team of specialists involved in the development of WOPiXX includes Birgitta Hauser, internationally reputable expert in RPG and SQL on i.

The bottom line – and a visionary future

For decades IBM Power i systems belong to the most reliable IT systems in the world. Its TCO is by far better than that of most Unix, Linux or Windows systems. Its only (but very obvious) weak point the still popular 5250 green screen. Generally speaking, the RPG Web Extensions development environment prepares the ground for all RPG or COBOL programmers in the world to now develop modern business applications without restrictions. The proven advantages that Power i provides can now be united with a modern browser based user interface – without any additional cost. The time has finally come that with the use and the intelligence of many, the Power i platform may see an unprecedented revival.

Each new WOPiXX based application can be presented and downloaded in the App Store – on a global market. New applications with a modern user interface achieve a high level of acceptance and have real international opportunities.
There are many more ideas for future development. One of the projects already on the way is using the same programming for touch devices such as tablets and smart phones.

Posted by on 2. July 2015. Filed under Hardware. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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