Features new PHP support, JSON-based Web Services, iAdmin Mobile and more.
CNX announced today at the RPG/DB2 Summit in suburban Chicago the general availability of version 4.2 of the Valence Framework for IBM i. Among the biggest enhancements to Valence 4.2 are PHP language support, new web services functionality and integration with a popular 5250 conversion tool. A mobile version of Nitro iAdmin is also included with this release.
“For years we’ve been focused on helping RPG developers on IBM i leverage the front-end UI tooling of Valence,” explains Richard Milone, CNX Chief Technical Officer, “but there have been a number of customers clamoring for us to expand the back-end options to other languages. So we’re pleased to announce that Valence 4.2 now supports PHP calls just the same as RPG calls. You can even have an app calling RPG and PHP programs simultaneously.”
The new Valence PHP Toolkit bundled with Valence 4.2 functions similarly to the Valence RPG Toolkit, allowing developers to, for example, route the results of an SQL statement directly to a Valence grid component. The browser-based Nitro Source Editor included with Valence has also been updated to support PHP source editing.
“The PHP examples included with Valence 4.2 are also great tutorials for RPGers looking to dip their toes into the world of PHP,” Milone adds. “You can, for example, look at the RPG code feeding the Paging Grid example, then see the PHP code that does the same exact thing.”
Valence 4.2 also incorporates formal support for server-side JSON web services as part of the framework. This feature allows developers to leverage the RPG logic they’ve already written for the front-end of their Valence apps to likewise send JSON responses to web service consumers across the internet. “With all the JSON features included in the Valence RPG Toolkit, there was a logical opportunity to extend the functionality to handle JSON-based web services,” Milone says, “so for this release we modified the Valence plumbing to formally support RESTful calls from external web services, adding another dimension to the types of clients or end-users that can be serviced through the Valence RPG Toolkit.”
The front-end of the Valence Framework includes Ext JS and Sencha Touch, advanced user interface components from Silicon Valley-based Sencha. These tools, combined with the Valence Portal and Valence RPG Toolkit, allow for the development of state-of-the-art HTML5-based applications that communicate directly with RPG or PHP programs on IBM i. Valence also includes integration with Sencha Architect, a visual design and coding tool that makes it possible for IBM i developers to “drag and drop” their way to creating the front-end of their desktop and mobile apps.
Valence 4.2 also introduces a new integration option for IBM i shops faced with modernizing large numbers of green screen programs. The eXcite product from Ravensburg, Germany-based PKS Software offers a stepping-stone solution for getting 5250 programs to operate elegantly in a browser.
Much different than a conventional “screen scraper” application, eXcite includes specialized routines that analyze RPG and DDS source to compile browser-ready objects that can be launched as apps inside the Valence Portal. The eXcite product is licensed separately from PKS as an add-on to Valence.
Other new features in Valence 4.2 include the mobile version of the popular Nitro iAdmin product, which allows for administration of common IBM i tasks such as answering jobs in MSGW status, reenabling users or devices, moving spool files to different output queues, and so on. Valence 4.2 also includes an update to the VVOUT procedures used to generate Excel spreadsheets, with the output conforming to a more recent .xlsx standard (compared to the .xls protocol used in prior versions of Valence).
The core Valence Framework remains free to all IBM i developers under terms of a “Community Developer” License. Premium features, including Nitro apps, are available for a 90 day trial upon installation. Afterward these features can be activated on a per-partition basis for an unlimited number of users and developers under the terms of an “Enterprise” License. The starting price of a Valence Enterprise license remains at $9,995. Licenses for additional partitions can be purchased for a reduced cost.
Valence Framework 4.2 is the twelfth major release of the Valence Framework since it was first launched in May 2008. For additional Valence Framework 4.2 details, and to download the software, please visit www.cnxcorp.com/valence.