Case Study: ASNA's Visual RPG

Case Studies
  • Smaller Small Medium Big Bigger
  • Default Helvetica Segoe Georgia Times

Crimson Software is an anomaly among iSeries (AS/400) software vendors--in several ways. First, it is an iSeries vendor to the core, yet none of its code runs on the iSeries! Second, it didn't bring legacy code forward to implement its solution--rather, Chris Caparon and his programming team brewed, from the ground up, a brand spanking new 21st century iSeries application.

Caparon and his team at Crimson Software used ASNA Visual RPG (AVR) to build MC2 (Managing Credit and Collections), a Windows- and Web-based credit and collections software package. Crimson Software needed a development environment that could connect quickly and effectively to the iSeries, that could provide both a traditional Windows interface as well as a browser-based user interface, and that was quick and easy to learn. Crimson found that and more in ASNA's AVR.

Filling a Gap

A couple of years ago, Caparon had a vision for a software solution for iSeries shops. With his credit and collections background, he sensed a need for a high-quality, modern credit and collection management package for the iSeries. This new product, MC2, would focus on one core area: cash flow management. From the first customer invoice to the receipt of payment, MC2 was to provide financial controls to reduce bad debt and increase cash flow. MC2 would need to integrate well not only with the iSeries, but also with credit and collection departments and the Windows office applications they use extensively.

In Caparon's original vision, MC2 needed to offer a scalable solution that worked for everyone--from small shops up to the largest iSeries enterprises. The solution also needed to offer a modern user interface. And, because Caparon wanted to make his solution available as soon as possible, Crimson need to be able to bring the application to life in a relatively short time.

Says Caparon, "AVR allows our application to be very scalable. MC2 can connect to any size iSeries [or AS/400], providing sub-second response time on existing hardware. That is simply unheard of in the iSeries software industry. ASNA's AVR makes our application run so fast that it outpaces the performance of some of our customers' green-screen packages."

Caparon's original vision for MC2 was an app that would seamlessly integrate into existing back-office accounting applications. Its purpose was to improve and extend current financial controls to deliver a quick and highly measurable return on investment. Running without the need for expensive iSeries upgrades and using existing hardware infrastructure is a very important part of MC2's ROI model.

Caparoncontinues, "When we first envisioned our package, we knew we needed a rational, modern user interface. But we also needed to work with existing iSeries hardware...and we had to offer very fast performance. When it comes to credit and collections, time is truly money and our package needs to be able to spot and report trends and directions quickly! Response times and reliability needed to be a hallmark of our application."

Building the Dream

Crimson's development team had a little Visual Basic under their belts and initially thought that they'd use VB for the development environment and the iSeries Access ODBC driver for database access. They quickly found out that the ODBC data connection was just too slow and unreliable.

Crimson's team turned its attention from coding to research. A search of iSeries development tools and environments quickly turned up ASNA Visual RPG. With just a little due diligence, the Crimson team confirmed ASNA's solid list of references and found that AVR had a high level of credibility in the iSeries community.

Caparon says, "Once we fully understood AVR, selecting it as our tool of choice was obvious. Our target market was the iSeries, and AVR, with its roots in RPG, was exactly the right choice for us."

Caparon and his development team rolled up their sleeves and starting coding MC2 in AVR. In just a few months, they had enough core components created for Caparon to hit the road and discuss MC2 with a variety of clients. Armed with a core set of needed capabilities and with the real-world feedback from several credit and collection shops, his team rapidly delivered the initial release of MC2 on time and under budget.

"We couldn't have built MC2 without AVR. The Crimson development team learned it very quickly, and we built solid solutions quickly and effectively," explains Caparon.

Caparon and his team went from concept to Version 1.0 in less than 18 months. The product was first released in August 2001. He's very proud of that. He's also proud of the fact that he and his team not only delivered the product in that time frame, but they also built an award-winning product in that time! In less than 18 months after MC2's release, Collection Advisor magazine, a credit and billing trade journal, named MC2 to a spot on its "Terrific Ten" credit and collection software list.

Changing with the Times

Even though MC2 is just approaching its second birthday, Crimson isn't resting on MC2's laurels. MC2 was initially conceived as a traditional Windows application client that talks real-time to the iSeries. This decision was driven partly by the need to interface with Microsoft Office apps such as Word and Excel, but also by what the demand was then. Two years ago, browser-based deployment was in its infancy, and Windows apps were all the rage.

Caparon elaborates, "Deployment on the Windows desktop is always a challenging affair. We're finding more and more of our customers are now ready to embrace the browser as a medium with which to deliver mission-critical back-office applications. MC2 has always had some browser-based inquiry capabilities. However, with the advent of Microsoft's .NET development environment and the pending release of ASNA's AVR for .NET, we're ready to move even more of MC2 to the browser. The browser is an interface whose time is here, and AVR for .NET gives us the tools we need to successfully port MC2 to the browser. This capability will substantially ease deployment issues for us, but, because it's still ASNA's AVR under the covers, maintain our fast performance and reliability."

Crimson absolutely made the right choice with AVR. AVR does everything Crimson needed: It performs well, is easy to learn, and enabled Crimson to build great user interfaces that run real-time against the iSeries.

Concludes Caparon, "Because of ASNA's AVR, we went from specification to award-winning software in less than 18 months. With the delivery of ASNA's AVR for .NET, the possibility for innovation with MC2 is unbounded! This is an exciting time for Crimson Software and for ASNA."

For more information about Crimson's MC2, please visit, and for more information about ASNA Visual RPG, please visit

Roger Pence is ASNA's education director. Prior to joining ASNA three years ago, Roger worked for many years as a journalist, speaker, and technical editor in the AS/400 community.

14855 Blanco Road, Suite 300
San Antonio, TX 78216
USA 800-289-2762
Europe +44 (0) 1483 570666
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Roger Pence

Roger Pence is ASNA's Product Evangelist. Roger has been in the IBM i midrange community for so long that Elvis was alive when he started. He has been with ASNA since 2000. Prior to joining ASNA, Roger was a technical editor for NEWS/400 and the author of the 400/Group's AS/400 and Windows newsletter.



Support MC Press Online





  • White Paper: Node.js for Enterprise IBM i Modernization

    SB Profound WP 5539

    If your business is thinking about modernizing your legacy IBM i (also known as AS/400 or iSeries) applications, you will want to read this white paper first!

    Download this paper and learn how Node.js can ensure that you:
    - Modernize on-time and budget - no more lengthy, costly, disruptive app rewrites!
    - Retain your IBM i systems of record
    - Find and hire new development talent
    - Integrate new Node.js applications with your existing RPG, Java, .Net, and PHP apps
    - Extend your IBM i capabilties to include Watson API, Cloud, and Internet of Things

    Read Node.js for Enterprise IBM i Modernization Now!


  • Profound Logic Solution Guide

    SB Profound WP 5539More than ever, there is a demand for IT to deliver innovation.
    Your IBM i has been an essential part of your business operations for years. However, your organization may struggle to maintain the current system and implement new projects.
    The thousands of customers we've worked with and surveyed state that expectations regarding the digital footprint and vision of the companyare not aligned with the current IT environment.

    Get your copy of this important guide today!


  • 2022 IBM i Marketplace Survey Results

    Fortra2022 marks the eighth edition of the IBM i Marketplace Survey Results. Each year, Fortra captures data on how businesses use the IBM i platform and the IT and cybersecurity initiatives it supports.

    Over the years, this survey has become a true industry benchmark, revealing to readers the trends that are shaping and driving the market and providing insight into what the future may bring for this technology.

  • Brunswick bowls a perfect 300 with LANSA!

    FortraBrunswick is the leader in bowling products, services, and industry expertise for the development and renovation of new and existing bowling centers and mixed-use recreation facilities across the entertainment industry. However, the lifeblood of Brunswick’s capital equipment business was running on a 15-year-old software application written in Visual Basic 6 (VB6) with a SQL Server back-end. The application was at the end of its life and needed to be replaced.
    With the help of Visual LANSA, they found an easy-to-use, long-term platform that enabled their team to collaborate, innovate, and integrate with existing systems and databases within a single platform.
    Read the case study to learn how they achieved success and increased the speed of development by 30% with Visual LANSA.


  • Progressive Web Apps: Create a Universal Experience Across All Devices

    LANSAProgressive Web Apps allow you to reach anyone, anywhere, and on any device with a single unified codebase. This means that your applications—regardless of browser, device, or platform—instantly become more reliable and consistent. They are the present and future of application development, and more and more businesses are catching on.
    Download this whitepaper and learn:

    • How PWAs support fast application development and streamline DevOps
    • How to give your business a competitive edge using PWAs
    • What makes progressive web apps so versatile, both online and offline



  • The Power of Coding in a Low-Code Solution

    LANSAWhen it comes to creating your business applications, there are hundreds of coding platforms and programming languages to choose from. These options range from very complex traditional programming languages to Low-Code platforms where sometimes no traditional coding experience is needed.
    Download our whitepaper, The Power of Writing Code in a Low-Code Solution, and:

    • Discover the benefits of Low-code's quick application creation
    • Understand the differences in model-based and language-based Low-Code platforms
    • Explore the strengths of LANSA's Low-Code Solution to Low-Code’s biggest drawbacks



  • Why Migrate When You Can Modernize?

    LANSABusiness users want new applications now. Market and regulatory pressures require faster application updates and delivery into production. Your IBM i developers may be approaching retirement, and you see no sure way to fill their positions with experienced developers. In addition, you may be caught between maintaining your existing applications and the uncertainty of moving to something new.
    In this white paper, you’ll learn how to think of these issues as opportunities rather than problems. We’ll explore motivations to migrate or modernize, their risks and considerations you should be aware of before embarking on a (migration or modernization) project.
    Lastly, we’ll discuss how modernizing IBM i applications with optimized business workflows, integration with other technologies and new mobile and web user interfaces will enable IT – and the business – to experience time-added value and much more.


  • UPDATED: Developer Kit: Making a Business Case for Modernization and Beyond

    Profound Logic Software, Inc.Having trouble getting management approval for modernization projects? The problem may be you're not speaking enough "business" to them.

    This Developer Kit provides you study-backed data and a ready-to-use business case template to help get your very next development project approved!

  • What to Do When Your AS/400 Talent Retires

    FortraIT managers hoping to find new IBM i talent are discovering that the pool of experienced RPG programmers and operators or administrators is small.

    This guide offers strategies and software suggestions to help you plan IT staffing and resources and smooth the transition after your AS/400 talent retires. Read on to learn:

    • Why IBM i skills depletion is a top concern
    • How leading organizations are coping
    • Where automation will make the biggest impact


  • Node.js on IBM i Webinar Series Pt. 2: Setting Up Your Development Tools

    Profound Logic Software, Inc.Have you been wondering about Node.js? Our free Node.js Webinar Series takes you from total beginner to creating a fully-functional IBM i Node.js business application. In Part 2, Brian May teaches you the different tooling options available for writing code, debugging, and using Git for version control. Attend this webinar to learn:

    • Different tools to develop Node.js applications on IBM i
    • Debugging Node.js
    • The basics of Git and tools to help those new to it
    • Using as a pre-built development environment



  • Expert Tips for IBM i Security: Beyond the Basics

    SB PowerTech WC GenericIn this session, IBM i security expert Robin Tatam provides a quick recap of IBM i security basics and guides you through some advanced cybersecurity techniques that can help you take data protection to the next level. Robin will cover:

    • Reducing the risk posed by special authorities
    • Establishing object-level security
    • Overseeing user actions and data access

    Don't miss this chance to take your knowledge of IBM i security beyond the basics.



  • 5 IBM i Security Quick Wins

    SB PowerTech WC GenericIn today’s threat landscape, upper management is laser-focused on cybersecurity. You need to make progress in securing your systems—and make it fast.
    There’s no shortage of actions you could take, but what tactics will actually deliver the results you need? And how can you find a security strategy that fits your budget and time constraints?
    Join top IBM i security expert Robin Tatam as he outlines the five fastest and most impactful changes you can make to strengthen IBM i security this year.
    Your system didn’t become unsecure overnight and you won’t be able to turn it around overnight either. But quick wins are possible with IBM i security, and Robin Tatam will show you how to achieve them.

  • Security Bulletin: Malware Infection Discovered on IBM i Server!

    SB PowerTech WC GenericMalicious programs can bring entire businesses to their knees—and IBM i shops are not immune. It’s critical to grasp the true impact malware can have on IBM i and the network that connects to it. Attend this webinar to gain a thorough understanding of the relationships between:

    • Viruses, native objects, and the integrated file system (IFS)
    • Power Systems and Windows-based viruses and malware
    • PC-based anti-virus scanning versus native IBM i scanning

    There are a number of ways you can minimize your exposure to viruses. IBM i security expert Sandi Moore explains the facts, including how to ensure you're fully protected and compliant with regulations such as PCI.



  • Encryption on IBM i Simplified

    SB PowerTech WC GenericDB2 Field Procedures (FieldProcs) were introduced in IBM i 7.1 and have greatly simplified encryption, often without requiring any application changes. Now you can quickly encrypt sensitive data on the IBM i including PII, PCI, PHI data in your physical files and tables.
    Watch this webinar to learn how you can quickly implement encryption on the IBM i. During the webinar, security expert Robin Tatam will show you how to:

    • Use Field Procedures to automate encryption and decryption
    • Restrict and mask field level access by user or group
    • Meet compliance requirements with effective key management and audit trails


  • Lessons Learned from IBM i Cyber Attacks

    SB PowerTech WC GenericDespite the many options IBM has provided to protect your systems and data, many organizations still struggle to apply appropriate security controls.
    In this webinar, you'll get insight into how the criminals accessed these systems, the fallout from these attacks, and how the incidents could have been avoided by following security best practices.

    • Learn which security gaps cyber criminals love most
    • Find out how other IBM i organizations have fallen victim
    • Get the details on policies and processes you can implement to protect your organization, even when staff works from home

    You will learn the steps you can take to avoid the mistakes made in these examples, as well as other inadequate and misconfigured settings that put businesses at risk.



  • The Power of Coding in a Low-Code Solution

    SB PowerTech WC GenericWhen it comes to creating your business applications, there are hundreds of coding platforms and programming languages to choose from. These options range from very complex traditional programming languages to Low-Code platforms where sometimes no traditional coding experience is needed.
    Download our whitepaper, The Power of Writing Code in a Low-Code Solution, and:

    • Discover the benefits of Low-code's quick application creation
    • Understand the differences in model-based and language-based Low-Code platforms
    • Explore the strengths of LANSA's Low-Code Solution to Low-Code’s biggest drawbacks



  • Node Webinar Series Pt. 1: The World of Node.js on IBM i

    SB Profound WC GenericHave you been wondering about Node.js? Our free Node.js Webinar Series takes you from total beginner to creating a fully-functional IBM i Node.js business application.
    Part 1 will teach you what Node.js is, why it's a great option for IBM i shops, and how to take advantage of the ecosystem surrounding Node.
    In addition to background information, our Director of Product Development Scott Klement will demonstrate applications that take advantage of the Node Package Manager (npm).
    Watch Now.

  • The Biggest Mistakes in IBM i Security

    SB Profound WC Generic The Biggest Mistakes in IBM i Security
    Here’s the harsh reality: cybersecurity pros have to get their jobs right every single day, while an attacker only has to succeed once to do incredible damage.
    Whether that’s thousands of exposed records, millions of dollars in fines and legal fees, or diminished share value, it’s easy to judge organizations that fall victim. IBM i enjoys an enviable reputation for security, but no system is impervious to mistakes.
    Join this webinar to learn about the biggest errors made when securing a Power Systems server.
    This knowledge is critical for ensuring integrity of your application data and preventing you from becoming the next Equifax. It’s also essential for complying with all formal regulations, including SOX, PCI, GDPR, and HIPAA
    Watch Now.

  • Comply in 5! Well, actually UNDER 5 minutes!!

    SB CYBRA PPL 5382

    TRY the one package that solves all your document design and printing challenges on all your platforms.

    Produce bar code labels, electronic forms, ad hoc reports, and RFID tags – without programming! MarkMagic is the only document design and print solution that combines report writing, WYSIWYG label and forms design, and conditional printing in one integrated product.

    Request your trial now!

  • Backup and Recovery on IBM i: Your Strategy for the Unexpected

    FortraRobot automates the routine tasks of iSeries backup and recovery, saving you time and money and making the process safer and more reliable. Automate your backups with the Robot Backup and Recovery Solution. Key features include:
    - Simplified backup procedures
    - Easy data encryption
    - Save media management
    - Guided restoration
    - Seamless product integration
    Make sure your data survives when catastrophe hits. Try the Robot Backup and Recovery Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • Manage IBM i Messages by Exception with Robot

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413Managing messages on your IBM i can be more than a full-time job if you have to do it manually. How can you be sure you won’t miss important system events?
    Automate your message center with the Robot Message Management Solution. Key features include:
    - Automated message management
    - Tailored notifications and automatic escalation
    - System-wide control of your IBM i partitions
    - Two-way system notifications from your mobile device
    - Seamless product integration
    Try the Robot Message Management Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • Easiest Way to Save Money? Stop Printing IBM i Reports

    FortraRobot automates report bursting, distribution, bundling, and archiving, and offers secure, selective online report viewing.
    Manage your reports with the Robot Report Management Solution. Key features include:

    - Automated report distribution
    - View online without delay
    - Browser interface to make notes
    - Custom retention capabilities
    - Seamless product integration
    Rerun another report? Never again. Try the Robot Report Management Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • Hassle-Free IBM i Operations around the Clock

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413For over 30 years, Robot has been a leader in systems management for IBM i.
    Manage your job schedule with the Robot Job Scheduling Solution. Key features include:
    - Automated batch, interactive, and cross-platform scheduling
    - Event-driven dependency processing
    - Centralized monitoring and reporting
    - Audit log and ready-to-use reports
    - Seamless product integration
    Scale your software, not your staff. Try the Robot Job Scheduling Solution FREE for 30 days.