CNX announced at the COMMON 2017 Annual Meeting and Exposition today the general availability of version 5.1 of the Valence Framework for IBM i. The most prominent enhancements included in Valence 5.1 involve the Nitro Query tool, which enables developers and database-savvy “super users” the ability to quickly generate web or mobile queries and dashboards — including applications that update physical files — with no programming.
“Development resources on IBM i are often stretched pretty thin just keeping daily operations humming,” said Richard Milone, CNX Chief Technical Officer. “So the prospect of finding time to learn the intricacies of web and mobile app development on the system can be pretty daunting. Valence 5.1’s Nitro Query tool addresses this problem by serving as an intuitive tool for quickly whipping out highly functional IBM i applications with a rich user interface within minutes of installation.”
Valence 5.1 also introduces the ability to leverage an SQL statement, or even a standard IBM i Query definition (STRSQL), as a Nitro Query data source. This makes it possible to quickly convert a green screen query or a report based on an SQL statement into a web or mobile app.
“The bottom line is that as long as you have a solid understanding of the database, you can be off to the races in no time with Valence and Nitro Query,” said Milone. “This means apps can be deployed not just by seasoned programmers but by anyone who knows where their business data is stored.”
More advanced developers can leverage new functionality in Nitro Query apps to make calls to RPG programs based on user actions, thereby making it possible to develop apps that update data on the back end. In fact, during the COMMON “Modernization Challenge” this week CNX will be demonstrating how to generate an order entry application using this approach.
“We’ve already started using this latest version of Nitro Query for some IBM i modernization projects and we’re amazed at how much we can get done now without having to do any front-end coding,” said Johnny Major, Lead Developer at CNX. “In fact, we’re working on a modernization project for a customer in Canada right now and estimate we can knock out well over half of their apps using Nitro Query, which is going to save a ton of time.”
Advanced developers can leverage other parts of the Valence Framework to build even more elaborate web or mobile apps to exact specifications. Valence 5.1 is integrated with the latest Ext JS framework from Silicon Valley-based Sencha, a CNX partner. Ext JS 6.2 provides UI components for building feature-rich cross-platform web applications targeting desktops, tablets and smartphones. The integration of this framework with Valence provides IBM i developers great flexibility in crafting the look and feel of their apps. “With Ext JS and Valence, we’re capitalizing on the emerging convergence of devices of multiple shapes and sizes being used to interact with corporate systems,” said Milone.
The core Valence Framework remains free to all IBM i sites, for up to five concurrent users, under terms of a “Community Developer” License. Premium development features, including the Nitro apps, are activated on a per-IBM i partition basis for an unlimited number of users and developers under terms of an “Enterprise” License. Valence can also be licensed commercially by software companies looking to give their IBM i applications a modern user interface.
For additional Valence 5.1 details, and to download the software, please visit www.cnxcorp.com/