Spool-Explorer IV Beta and Upcoming Release

As mentioned in last month's Technical Update, we are preparing to release a new version of Spool-Explorer. We are now looking for existing clients who are interested in beta-testing the new version. By beta-testing Spool-Explorer IV you will have the opportunity to provide us with valuable feedback on this latest version, as well as suggest further changes that you feel need to be made before the full release. If you are a regular Spool-Explorer user who is familiar with many of the features in the existing version, and are interested in participating in the beta, please contact us at (250) 655-1766, or by email.

The current feature list for Spool-Explorer IV includes the following highlights:
  • An Updated User Interface (UI) including: graduated backgrounds, modernized splash screens, and improved configuration screens.
  • An improved spool file listing allows grouping the first column into folders.
  • The date and time fields are combined (for easier sorting) in the spool file list.
  • Additional PDF functionality including compression and encryption, overlays and additional page sizes and fonts.
  • Support for *RICH format downloads and Rich Format Tags.
  • Integration with Nexus Web Object Warehouse (WOW), including search values extracted from the report text.
  • Improved User Security (UI and functionality).
  • Support for appending files to existing zip files.
  • Cancel capability for many operations (for multiple downloads etc).
  • Many other UI tweaks based on customer input.
If there is a feature you'd like to see, or a UI change that you think would be particularly useful, and it's not in the list above, please get in touch with us!

BCD Trade Show Presence

If you are planning to attend the Fall COMMON IT Education Conference & EXPO on October 17th-19th in Toronto, please drop by our booth for a visit. You'll find the usual BCD sales and technical reps ready to give you demos on all the upcoming software release (including the new versions of WebSmart, Nexus and Spool-Explorer), as well as have an opportunity to discuss with both our technical and sales staff any directions you'd like to see in our products. At COMMON you'll find us in booth 405.

We'll also be holding a lab session at COMMON titled "Web Development with ProGen WebSmart" on Tuesday, October 19th from 8:00 to 10:45 AM, in Room 205A/C.

Later this fall we'll also have a booth at the IBM eServer iSeries Technical Conference EXPO, November 8th-10th in Las Vegas. If you plan to attend, drop us a note and we'll let you know where to find us.

WebSmart Internationalization

We are excited to announce the successful implementation of WebSmart applications in international character sets, including DBCS (double byte). In recent months Marc Hunter, project lead for WebSmart, has worked with one of our strategic multinational clients to successfully implement a core business application in over 21 countries. Most of the countries use a standard character set, but in Greece and Japan we were faced with the challenges of implementing the application in their respective countries' unique character sets.

Marc Hunter worked directly on the client's Greek AS/400 using a VPN to connect. As a result of Marc's efforts, the client's application is currently in production in Greece. Information from AS/400 files which is stored in the Greek alphabet appears in the client's web browsers, along with standard English characters where applicable. In addition, users can successfully input data to the application using the Greek alphabet.

In June, Duncan Kenzie, President of ExcelSystems, travelled to Tokyo with the client's project lead to test implementation of the same application using Japanese double byter character set data stored in AS/400 files. The test was a complete success, and proved that WebSmart can both display and accept input in DBCS format.

Our client is in the process of implementing a production version of the same application in Japan. Although the client has web applications on many different platforms, including Windows with ASP applications, this will be their first successful implementation using data stored directly on a server in DBCS. This demonstrates the power and flexibility of both the iSeries and WebSmart.

If you have a project requiring internationalization, please do not hesitate to contact our consulting group. You can email Duncan at excel@excelsystems.com.

WebSmart Programmers Survey

After receiving some valuable input in our Programmers Survey last month, we have decided to hold it over for another month. If you are a WebSmart programmer or are using WebSmart to build applications at your site, we would appreciate it if you could take a few minutes to fill out the survey below. These surveys, while somewhat onerous to complete, help us to get a better sense of how the product is being received, and what directions we should be taking with future releases.

Click here to complete the survey.

As an incentive to completing our feedback request form, BCD will enter everyone who submits the survey (including those who responded last month) into a draw for $100.00 (US), as well as 5 BCD T-shirts. Winners will be announced in the October Technical Update.

WebSmart 5 Directions: RPG to PML Conversion

One of the most exciting new features in WebSmart 5 is the RPG to PML conversion tool. This utility, included with the software, will give you a huge jumpstart on converting critical business logic from your ILE programs to crisp, well-written PML. Here is a rundown of the process:

In WebSmart 5, you'll select the new Convert RPG option from the Tools menu, which presents this window:

From here you can enter and load a list of source members from a selected file/library. Then select the member you want to convert and click OK. Then all you have to do is wait for a few seconds while WebSmart downloads the member and converts it to PML. The whole process, for a reasonably long program, shouldn't take more than about 10 or 15 seconds.

Here is an illustration of the results, showing the beginning of the work field routine in a fairly standard ProGen Plus program (click on the image to see the full-size graphic):

Note that this tool is not intended to immediately transform a green screen program into a completely functioning web program. Rather, it's designed for you to have an easy way to transfer critical program logic from programs you are converting to new web applications.

WebSmart 5 will also include a DDS conversion tool (which we'll profile next month), though it's most likely that in converting your applications to the web you'll be totally rewriting your UI from scratch. So when you do that, you can copy and paste sections from the ILE/RPG to PML conversion results to your new program, at the appropriate locations.

If you have any questions about the upcoming WebSmart 5, please contact Technical Support.
Snapshots in Productivity

A new feature of the BCD web site is a listing of Snapshots in Productivity - quick interviews with successful BCD customers such as Hickory Farms, Bristol Hospital and Kawasaki, reviewing with lead developers and development managers how our software has worked for them. Read the compelling and candid answers from 8 iSeries Pros to our 10 questions on Rapid iSeries-Web Application Development.

Click Here for the complete Q & A's; they'll be a quick read well worth the time. You'll see what IT Pros from these following organizations have to say:
  • Hickory Farms
  • Bristol Hospital
  • Canadian Kawasaki
  • Voice Retrieval Systems
  • Stanley Furniture
  • Spears Manufacturing
  • EGS Electrical Group
  • Desoto County
If you have any questions about any of these, you can contact BCD.

WebSmart 4 Public Training Class

We have scheduled a WebSmart 4 public training session for the week of November 1-4, 2004. We plan to hold the class at our location here in Sidney, BC. This class will be the first to use our all-new training training material and labs. Our senior training and WebSmart programmer Derek Woods has been working for several weeks now on developing new training labs and improved class notes, using new files and creating a brand new application.

If you are interested in attending this class and would like additional information, please fill out our Training Request form. ( Note: If you aren't able to attend this class, but are interested in attending in the future, please indicate this in the form; we already have a number of people planning for a fall session.) You can also contact Marcel Sarrasin, our training coordinator.

For a general overview of the contents and structure of our training class, you can visit the Training page at our web site.

WebSmart Example Programs: Record "Locking" in WebSmart

WebSmart does not lock records during normal I/O and page presentation. This protects the system from unwanted record locks while users are away from their computer. However, if a user or batch process performs an update on a record while an update is pending for the same record by another user this technique will inform the user and optionally prohibit the update. The latest WebSmart example program, Example 73, illustrates a technique that determines if the record was changed since it was originally selected for update, issues a message and prohibits the record update. The message prohibiting the update could be designed as a warning message. As usual, you can test the program online, then download the PDW to see how it was handled programmatically.

For further details on any of the WebSmart examples, or if you have any questions on how to implement the techniques they demonstrate, please contact Technical Support.

New Portlet in Nexus 2.10: Web Messaging

The recently added Nexus Web Messaging Portlet allows you to send messages to both iSeries and Nexus Users. Here is an illustration of this portlet (click on the image to see a full-size version):

As mentioned above, using this portlet class you can send the message to an iSeries user, Nexus user and/or a Nexus Group. Just enter the message in the box, and then add the recipient(s).

If you send to an iSeries user, the message is sent to the specified user's message queue. If you send the message to a Nexus User, Nexus will present a popup window to that user with the message text. In your site settings there is also a polling interval, from which you can control how often Nexus will check for messages.

To add this portlet to the pages available to one or more of your groups, just select the Manage Site option, and select the Design Group Pages option. Or if you just want to add it to your personal pages, start by clicking the My Portal Settings option, then on Design My Pages.

From either location you can then either create a new page that includes just this portlet, or add the portlet to one of the existing pages in the list.

If you have any questions on how to add this portlet to your pages, or how to use it, please contact Technical Support.

 Summary List of Recent Updates

Docu-Mint/400 6.0
  • DN60R012 - Fixes an issue with a 'Length or start position out of range for string operation' error generated by ANZRPGLE.
  • DN60R011 - Fixes an issue with a data decimal error when analyzing RPGLE program source.
Please visit the Docu-Mint Updates page for further information on the available updates.

© 2004 ExcelSystems Software Development, Inc.
ProGen Plus and ProGen WebSmart are Trademarks in the US and Canada.
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