How to Put IBM i Apps on Mobile Devices Without Getting a New Programming Degree

Development Tools / Utilities
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Learning how may take less time than you think.


Editor's Note: This article is a review of a Webcast about Profound Logic Software's suite of application development tools for mobile devices, available free at the MC Press Webcast Center.

Mobile devices are fast becoming as ubiquitous in our business lives as they are in our social lives. On the business side, with this flowering of gadgets that ring, buzz, tickle, or play a song in our pockets to announce that someone wants to talk to us, there's a need to put our IBM i apps there, too.

But it's not so easy translating expertise with your trusty, server-based RPG or other compiler into versions of core business apps that can run on your pocket phone or iPad. And taking the time to learn all there is to know about making such transitions come about . . . well, insisting on eight hours of sleep every night is really so 20th Century, isn't it?

Coming to the Rescue

Profound Logic Software wants to give you a leg up out of that hole you might be in if you are currently, or might soon be, facing a demand to come up with mobile-device versions of server apps. One of the company's latest Webcasts shows you how.

Profound Logic's Profound UI is the starting point for this rescue effort. The product uses IBM's Rational Open Access for RPG and Phone Gap (an open-source framework for developing mobile apps for seven different mobile-device platforms based on Apache Cordova) to greatly simplify creating mobile versions of IBM i apps that can communicate directly with their server-based counterparts. This happens by opening up native RPG to "handlers" and letting the server-side apps communicate with users via rich mobile-device interfaces.

Better yet, this combination of tools lets mobile-device users add mobile-device capabilities to the IBM i apps, even if those features aren't available in the server-side versions. So, for example, you could add photo capture with a mobile camera option, document scanning, and even signature capture to the versions of your apps running on mobile devices.

The Webcast shows, with examples, how to use Profound UI's Visual Designer feature to build versions of server apps that run in a browser window and appear to RPG like DDS that's been generated for a subfile, but that are customizable for the screen sizes of a wide range of mobile devices. The Webinar emphasizes how the tool suite offers a low learning curve, doesn't use APIs, and gets the process rolling in RPG, for example, with simple F-specs.

In addition, the Webcast provides an overview of additional topics that include handling 5250 emulation, activating special features such as Android buttons, mapping function keys to device buttons, and incorporating third-party options such as Google maps into mobile-device versions of IBM i apps.

If you want to offer mobile versions of server apps to your users, or are facing a deadline for providing such services, Profound Logic's 65-minute Webcast on taking RPG mobile with Profound UI could prove to be (a bit more than) an hour well spent.