WebSmart Training Courses in Victoria and Chicago

A WebSmart Fundamentals class will be held the week of August 21-24, at the BCD development group's headquarters in Sidney, BC (Canada). Sidney is only a 10
minute drive from the world-famous Butchart Gardens, and a 25 minute drive from Victoria, one of the most beautiful cities in Canada. For more information on the training class, or visiting the Victoria area, please go to the link above.

If you are interested in attending this class, or another later in the fall, please fill out the Training Request form at our web site.

The BCD Development Group in Sidney is also hosting a WebSmart Advanced Training Seminar the week of August 14-17. If you would like to join this class, please fill out the form above.

We're also beginning to organize another WebSmart Fundamentals class in the Chicago area during the late summer/early fall. If you are in the area and would like to attend a WebSmart training class in that time frame, you can sign up using the training request form.

If you have any questions about the location, content or pre-requisites for the classes, please contact Tech Support.

WebSmart 6 Beta Available

The first version of the WebSmart 6 beta is now available for distribution. You can sign up to request the WebSmart 6 beta at our web site.

WebSmart 6 includes many new features, including these highlights:

  • A powerful interactive debugger fully integrated into the IDE.
  • Many IDE user interface enhancements, including facilities to edit external JavaScript files and templates.
  • An IDE right-click option to easily insert a calendar lookup next to any date field.
  • A 'New' template assistant, allowing you to preview templates before selecting one.
  • Piping support, to write data to web services or the IFS (for example), or more easily generate HTML email.
  • Improved MRU (Most Recently Used) files interface, to distinguish between WCM definitions and others.
  • Improved integration with Nexus, allowing you to track user information.
  • Many PML syntax enhancements, several new functions, and a few improvements to existing functions.
  • A new abbreviated syntax for inserting code in the HTML, which corresponds to that of other web languages such as PHP and ASP. This feature also improves compatibility with external HTML design tools such as Dreamweaver or Frontpage.
  • Expanded template capabilities and improvements to style sheets.
  • Many significant improvements for installing and operating in non-English language environments.

Those of you who have participated in previous WebSmart beta programs are already familiar with the high quality of both the beta versions and our developer's response to any issues that have been encountered. For first-time candidates, we invite you to try us out! By participating in the beta you get the earliest possible access to all the new features as well as the opportunity to give us some feedback on how the new features will ultimately work in the production release.

If you have any questions about the upcoming release, or any of the new features, please contact Technical Support.

WebSmart 6 Feature Profile: Piping Support

Another of the exciting features included in WebSmart 6 is the addition of two new functions and a program field to enable piping. 'Piping' is a term used to describe various mechanisms by which you can change the destination of your program's output. So for example, in WebSmart, instead of having your wrtseg and wrthtml functions pointing to the browser, you can send the data to a different destination. With the new setpipe and getpipedata functions you can more effectively use your WebSmart programs to:
  • Export data to Excel XML.
  • Write segment data to a web service.
  • Write segment data to create a formatted, HTML email.
  • Write segment data to an IFS file.
Below is an overview of the new functions:

The setpipe Function
The new setpipe function is used to turn piping on and off. Once the setpipe has been called with the *ON option, all output which would normally be directed to the browser is instead accumulated in an internal buffer.

In concept, "piping" is like plumbing. Normally, all program output (using the wrtseg or wrthtml functions) goes through a pipe to a 'container', which is the browser. The function setpipe has the effect of turning a shunt on the pipe, so that all output is redirected to a new, empty, temporary holding tank. While the pipe is *ON, all your wrtseg and wrthtml functions send data to the holding tank. Then when you setpipe("*OFF"), the shunt on the pipe is turned back to its normal position, sending output back to the browser.

The getpipedata Function
The other new function is getpipedata, which you use to retrieve the data from the pipe. Using the function getpipedata is like opening a faucet on the holding tank so you can extract the contents.

The WebSmart New Features Guide includes examples of how you can use these functions in your programs to write your data to an IFS file. There is also a great example you can download in our latest WebSmart example program (more below).

For additional details on this feature, or to sign up for the WebSmart 6 beta, please contact Tech Support

myBCDsoftware.com is Now Live!

In order to further improve the quality of support we offer and allow you to more easily access key information related to your product licenses, support calls and software tasks you have been linked to, the BCD Tech Support team has created the all-new myBCDsoftware portal (powered by BCD's Nexus Portal).

From the myBCDsoftware portal you will be able to:
  • Review the status of any Technical Support incidents your company has reported ( illustrated at right).
  • Report a new incident to BCD Technical Support.
  • Access the most up-to-date downloads for any BCD product you own, without having to fill out the standard form.
  • View your security codes and maintenance details.
  • Review any development or support tasks that you have been linked to.
Over time we will continue to add features to the site, primarily focusing on ways to improve the communication between you and our sales and support teams. Another area we plan to add to the site also a blog or forum where you will be able to share ideas and examples with other developers who use WebSmart, Catapult and other BCD tools.

To begin to access the myBCDsoftware.com site you will need an account. Accounts are available to any BCD client, or if your are demoing any of our products. To get your account, or if you have any questions about the site, please contact Kris Waugh.

Nexus 3 Feature Profile: Enterprise Content Manager

The Nexus 3 Enterprise Content Manager (ECM) provides features and functions for uploading, managing, storing and searching for documents within your Nexus portal. These documents can be image files, WebSmart programs, Microsoft Word® or Excel® documents, Adobe® PDFs, executables, or any other type of file that can be stored in the iSeries IFS.

Once you understand how the Nexus ECM works, you can use it to drive your entire site content. For this reason, it's worth taking a few minutes to understand the ECM, and how you can use it.

Below is an illustration of a page from a client site that is entirely run by the Nexus ECM:

The ECM menu is in the first column on the left, and the user can click on the various links to present different information in the main body of the page (here presented in column 2). Columns 3 and 4 are running WebSmart applications that display custom content (including related advertisers) dependant on the menu options selected.

At the site illustrated above the Nexus customer controls which areas of the site can be accessed by their clients depending on the type of services contract they have purchased. The ECM, via the sophisticated Nexus security features, allows you to establish security parameters that are both flexible and granular, to control access to different areas of your site, and the applications that site users can work with.

Below are a few more illustrations of how the ECM can be used to control the presentation of various site elements. Click on any of these images to view the full-size screen shots.

In the first example on the left the ECM has been set to present a single viewer window only (dropping the menu normally on the left). Overlaying the page is the search window, which provides another way to navigate the site. Users can search the contents of all the documents loaded into the ECM, and the administrator can set search keywords for each document added.

The second page above illustrates how you can combine the ECM menu and viewer windows with various other portlets and portlet types.

The third illustration is from our Business Partners site, which features a different skin and custom icons. The ECM menu is also set to list individual documents as well as folders. Above the main window of the page you can see from the breadcrumbs that this particular page is 6 levels down in the site; our partners can use the breadcrumbs to immediately jump back to any level of the site.

If you have any questions about Nexus 3 or would like a walk through of the new features, please contact Technical Support.

Nexus 3.02 (Beta) Available

Nexus 3.02 is now available for download. If you would like to download and install the latest version of Nexus, please visit our web site to request it.

Nexus 3 includes exciting changes in several main areas, including the Enterprise Content Manager (ECM; profiled above) and group management areas. We have also recently added a new SmartCharts portlet type, which allows you to easily include in your web site any of several types of dynamic graphs and charts. There is also an entirely new skins feature, a long list of user interface additions and enhancements, and a greatly improved calendar. For a more detailed overview of the features, please refer to the article in the April Tech Update.

Participate in the Nexus 3 Beta!
For further information about the Nexus Beta, please contact Technical Support, or fill out the Nexus 3 Beta Request Form. By participating in the beta, you'll get early access to all these new features (all of which have been up and running in our internal portal for several months now), and be in an ideal position to request modifications or further enhancements to better suit your own usage of the product.

If you have any questions about the upcoming release, or any of the new features, please contact Technical Support.

Catapult 6 Feature Profile: Grab Rule Security

As our Catapult usage increases and it grows into being an increasingly important element of your business applications, you may feel yourself becoming exposed to the possibility of having a crisis if someone unwittingly edits an existing rule into disfunction.

To help you avoid this type of situations, Catapult 6 allows you to secure each rule to a specific iSeries user or user group. This new option, shown below, is available in the General category of your grab rule:

The options available to you depend on the following parameters:
  • Users with *SECADM special authority can secure a rule to any user or group profile.
  • Users who do not have *SECADM special authority can only secure the rule to themselves or their user's group profile.
Secured rules cannot be changed, deleted or displayed by those not authorized to them. They are, however, displayed in the list of grab rules regardless of who is signed on.

This security feature is one more reason to upgrade to the next version of Catapult. Catapult 6 is currently in the final stages of its beta, and will be released soon. If you have any questions about Catapult 6 please contact Technical Support.

New WebSmart Example Programs: Piping and Using Multi-Select Boxes with SQL.

The WebSmart support group has added another two new WebSmart example programs to our library:
  • Example 115 - Piping Data to an Email. This example shows how to use the WebSmart piping functions. The body of an email is "piped" into a work field from an HTML segment with the function 'PipeSeg' of this program. This example illustrates how easy it is to use piping and illustrates a useful way to employ it. Building the body of an HTML email in a segment is much easier than building the body in a work field in the PML. The pipe data is in this case is coming from an HTML segment, but can come from any output..
  • Example 114 - Filter Inventory Using Multi-Select Box. This example shows you how to filter on a multi-select box using SQL. This program was built using the default "SQL page at a time" template.
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.

ESDI Welcomes New Employees

ExcelSystems Software Development Inc. (ESDI - the development arm of BCD International) is pleased to welcome three new employees over the last few weeks. With these additions we are further strengthening our professional services, web development and support teams.

Thomas Howe is a recent Computer Science graduate from here on Vancouver Island. He will be joining the support team, allowing us to further spread around the call load and allow each person to devote more time to each call, as well as allocate time to ongoing internal training with all our products. Thomas loves the programming side of things, and will be looking forward to taking on any challenging issues you can throw his way.

Colin Dams is a recent graduate from the University of Victoria where he received a degree in Math and Computer Science. Shortly after finishing his last course he jetted off to Japan to develop medical software for Japanese hospitals including image viewing (i.e. MRI's, X-Ray's, etc.) and hospital administrative software. He's now back in Victoria and looking forward to working for ESDI and hiking and climbing the mountains of the Pacific Northwest in his spare time. Colin will be joining our steadily growing Professional Services division where he'll be using WebSmart to create custom web applications for our clients.

And finally, Sacha Cooper is a co-op student from the Computer Systems Technology program at Camosun College here in Victoria. Sacha enjoys web design and software development in general, and has worked on community web sites to gain experience and further her skills. Originally from Ottawa (Ontario), Sacha has made BC her home over the last eight years, to be closer to the ocean where she actively surfs, camps, and enjoys the outdoors all season long. Sacha will be with us for three months, working primarily on internal web development projects, including the new BCD web site.

As ESDI continues to grow, we are excited by the wide range of skills and experiences that we can now count on from all our programmers. And while our development, support and professional services teams have all grown steadily over the last few years, we remain committed to providing the personalized level of service you have been accustomed to you in your ongoing relationship with us.

 Summary List of Recent Updates

There have been no new software updates in the last few weeks.

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