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Profound Logic Releases Profound UI DDS Conversion Module

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The module successfully removes all limitations of 5250, while keeping the existing RPG code intact.

Profound Logic Software has announced the official release of the DDS Conversion Module, an integral piece of its native graphical user interface platform built around IBM’s Rational Open Access offering.

Rich Display Files–a Better Approach to Modernization

Profound Logic’s graphical user interface platform, Profound UI, was first announced in April 2010. It introduced a new type of native IBM i object known as a Rich Display File. Rich display files take advantage of IBM i's object-based architecture, while delivering a capable graphical user interface. Similar to traditional display files, Rich Display Files are organized into separate record formats to represent different screens and subfile grids. However, unlike traditional display file objects, Rich Display Files can also store GUI metadata using JavaScript Object Notation (JSON), a lightweight data-interchange format used to build dynamic HTML for browser applications.

This native approach was quickly recognized by Profound’s customers and the IBM i community as a very effective way to create rich browser applications natively on the system. Building upon this, Profound then introduced a beta preview of a unique DDS Conversion module, providing the first process of its kind to modernize green-screen display files to native Rich Display Files. The module successfully removes all limitations of 5250, while keeping the existing RPG code intact.

DDS Conversion Versus Refacing

Although the company also provides robust 5250 refacing capabilities as an easy way to get started with modernization, the DDS Conversion offers a number of advantages over screen-scraping or refacing solutions. Out of the box, without changing any RPG logic, the converted screens can have client-side scrolling in load-all subfiles, sortable columns, expandable subfile rows, and access to records and data within the running RPG program. The converted screens can be maintained using the platform’s full-featured Visual Designer tool, which allows RPG developers to quickly add sophisticated features to their applications. Developers can make these enhancements without advanced knowledge of JavaScript, JSON, AJAX, and DHTML.

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Figure 1: Sample green screen.
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Figure 2: Green screen converted to Rich UI (in Design Mode).
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Figure 3: Converted application running in browser.

"Our DDS Conversion stirred up a lot of interest. There is a huge number of IBM i customers that want to go beyond the limitations of refacing, but can’t justify rewriting or reengineering all of their code,” says Alex Roytman, CEO at Profound Logic. “After seeing the high level of interest in our DDS Conversion, we decided to invest significantly into the development of this module.”

Beta Success

Profound Logic has worked extensively with beta sites to improve the conversion process, with a number of sites successfully implementing converted applications on their IBM i systems.

Sweetwater County in West Virginia has worked with Profound UI since June 2010. “We maintain RPG programs that were generated by SYNON. With Profound UI, I am able convert these programs to a true Web interface with minimal effort,” explains Kathy Cortez, programmer/analyst at Sweetwater County.

Another customer, PFG Customized Distribution in Lebanon, Tennessee, has used the Profound UI DDS conversion process to provide new interfaces for its customer-facing applications. As a result, PFG’s large restaurant chain customers can now query PFG’s supply chain information themselves over the Web. PFG is now working on putting order entry functions in the hands of its customers as well. “The Profound Logic DDS green screen to GUI tool works great. There have been steady improvements over the last few months, and the conversions are better now than ever. If you need something in the tool, conversions or otherwise, all you have to do is present your case to Profound and in the next release or so, it comes true,” says Steve Neely, CIO at PFG Customized.

Today, Profound Logic is releasing the DDS Conversion out of beta. The conversion process now handles various data types, reference files, and approximately 100 different display file keywords. The entire list of supported keywords is available on the Profound Logic website at http://www.profoundlogic.com/ddskwlist.rpgsp

Getting Started with Profound UI and the DDS Conversion

To get started with Profound UI and the DDS Conversion, visit www.ProfoundUI.com and sign up for a Profound UI account. With an account, you can access white papers, recorded webinars, instructional videos, code samples, a demo area, and a Profound UI trial download.

You can also visit www.profoundlogic.com to sign up for the company's newsletter, which will notify you of any new updates, including company events and product enhancements.

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Profound Logic is the only IBM i technology partner that takes you beyond modernization and into AI-enhanced futurization. For over 25 years, we've equipped IT teams with cutting-edge solutions in natural language AI, system transformation, API creation/management, and application development. With Profound Logic, the future is flexible, and coexistence is always built-in.

 

To find out more about Profound Logic Software, Inc. and its products see their listings in the MC Showcase Buyer's Guide.

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