LANSA, the leader in application development and integration tools for IBM i, announces the availability of simplified offline capabilities in the newest release of its mobile development tool, LongRange. The updated offline data storage and server synchronization allows RPG/COBOL developers to deliver native mobile applications that operate without network connection. By storing data locally, users can synchronize data between their device and the corporate server when convenient and access server data in real-time when connected.
The offline capabilities have already been successfully piloted by one of Britain’s largest home builders for its custom developed health and safety inspection app. The home builder’s IBM i developers were able to use their existing skills to develop mobile apps that access data from their IBM i server while connected to the Internet or locally from the device’s native database while disconnected. When connection is restored, information captured locally can be synchronized with the data stored on their IBM i server.
“One of the biggest challenges to overcome when developing any mobile line-of-business application is making sure that the app continues to operate when the connection to the server is lost,” said Martin Fincham, CEO of LANSA.
Many organizations are already reaping significant benefits by providing field staff and traveling employees with mobile apps that allow them to access corporate data, including quality inspectors, repair/maintenance personnel, delivery drivers, warehouse workers and sales people. These mobile apps, often simplified versions of functionality that already exists in the organization’s ERP or line-of-business system, can help to fulfill orders more quickly, provide responsive customer service and streamline many other business processes.
While properly integrated mobile business apps provide remote staff with up-to-date and accurate information, most mobile apps, especially Web apps, require a Wi-Fi or 3G/4G connection to operate. Loss of connection renders these apps completely useless. Unfortunately it is these same remote employees and field staff who are most likely to experience network connection issues. In contrast, native apps built with LongRange can continue to operate using the offline features, allowing users to continue working work anywhere - with or without an Internet connection.
Whether you use the term – “offline,” “stand-alone” or “disconnected” – RPG/COBOL developers can create and deploy a local native device database and build apps with LongRange that:
- Create, read, update and delete data when the device is not connected;
- Manage and display data, whether on-line or offline;
- Enforce validation rules when editing or collecting data;
- Synchronize (download/upload) data with the server at the user’s convenience, when a connection is available;
- Or access databases on a server in real-time, when connected.
In addition to the offline capabilities, LongRange has been updated to fully utilize iOS7 including the new interface and native GUI controls for iPhones and iPads, enhanced PDF viewer integration for Android, support for additional bar code scanners and magnetic card readers and an even more complete set of RPG-code building blocks and sample apps (source code included).
What makes LongRange different?
Native Apps have many advantages: performance, reliability, productive user interface, full utilization of device features such as geo-location, signature capture, barcode scanning, photos, video, audio and phone. Because the business logic of a LongRange native mobile app is driven from LongRange Server, running on your corporate server (an IBM i server for the RPG/COBOL version of LongRange and a Windows or IBM i server for the LANSA version of LongRange), LongRange provides all of the advantages of a native mobile app, and none of the disadvantages:
- There is no need to re-publish an app every time the business logic changes. Updating an app is the same as updating an IBM i Program. Once updates are applied to the production system, they are immediately available to users of LongRange native mobile apps, without having to download or update anything - a major advantage of managing mobile apps.
- Developers do not have to develop and maintain separate app versions for Apple and Android devices.
- LANSA developers can use their existing LANSA skills.
LongRange significantly reduces the time to design, program and deploy native apps. Your in-house development team can use their existing skills to extend your IBM i applications with commercial grade native apps for iOS and Android.
To learn more, visit www.longrangemobile.com.