|You Can Give Your Green-Screen Application New Functionality with Presto 3|
|Analysis - Analysis of News Events|
|Written by Chris Smith|
|Friday, 13 May 2011 00:00|
New SQL query feature takes Web-enablement tool to new heights.
We've all heard the apothegmatic description of screen-scraping programs as doing little more than putting lipstick on a pig, but today's Web-enabling tools are going far beyond just dressing up an unattractive legacy program.
The challenge of modernizing green-screen applications is larger than merely overcoming the limitations to the 5250 data stream; it is a question of how you add functionality, features, and information that the original architect never considered and how do you do it without starting over and redeveloping the entire application.
Several tool vendors, including LANSA and BCD, rejected the IBM solution of open access as being cumbersome and limited in value. Others plowed forward with open-access technology, envisioning a new way to add functionality to existing applications. With open access again in the news recently, the spotlight now is back on the companies that chose to stick with datastream refacing solutions.
What appears to be happening is a merging of refacing capabilities with screen editing and other value-add tools to give developers the best of both worlds: reface those screens that lend themselves to it best but redesign others that are more important, where added functionality can benefit the user. Speed, cost, and time are at stake here, and working smarter is essential.
One of the more interesting features that wasn't emphasized because of the sheer number of improvements is the SQL Queries feature. This feature allows the developer to create and save simple or sophisticated SQL statements that return values to populate elements on the user interface including SmartCharts and drop-down boxes.
This is a powerful new feature that catapults (to coin a phrase) Presto 3 into a new league of Web-enabling tools far beyond anything we have seen to date in the realm of refacing. Imagine populating a drop-down box from DB2 file data using the Visual Editor by creating and storing SQL statements. By having the SQL statements dynamically populate the drop-downs, it's possible to maintain the options listed in the drop-down box without manual updates.
People spend good money to install applications like DB2 Web Query or even BCD's own Clover Query tool. With the new SQL Query feature in Presto 3, however, many of the basic query functions that users want most can be built right into your existing application, and you won't even have to buy a separate program.
Among the SQL statements that you can build into your Presto 3 screens are statements to join multiple files with the JOIN command or to insert a WHERE clause or a perhaps a GROUP BY clause. When building these, you can grab information from the screen to use in the SQL statement and then use the statements in other Presto features, such as in the SmartCharts and drop-down boxes. The SQL query will return values to populate information in the SmartCharts and drop-downs or on a menu screen.
What BCD is working on next, according to Marcel Sarrasin, BCD product manager, is very cool and could give your application the appearance of being a true Web 2.0 program. In the next version, Presto will use the SQL Query feature to offer auto-complete functionality. This is where you start to type in a word and the program offers you logical options. Using the SQL feature, it will match whatever you are returning from the query set. How cool is that? BCD doesn't intend to stop there. The SQL functionality in Presto will go beyond queries in upcoming releases and offer the developer more options to incorporate server-side data.
With features like SQL Query, SmartCharts, dynamic drop-down boxes, and soon auto-complete features that draw upon data stored deep within the database, your old legacy pig will have more than a set of pretty red lips; it will have the equivalent of a college degree.
|Last Updated on Friday, 13 May 2011 11:33|