Our understanding of the Look products and their capabilities was significantly improved at the end of last year with some education provided by LookSoftware through Trevor Perry. Trevor took us through the makeup of the product and how the refacing of applications using the LookSoftware products should be managed. The information has allowed us to better understand what the product is capable of achieving.
Our original trials with the product used RAP, FTP Client and JobQGenie as a test platform, We were amazed at how every screen simply worked straight out of the box with no changes. Our concern was this was just too easy and why did we need all of the tools provided to re-face an application? Were we missing something significant?
After the education we can certainly see why our perceptions were misleading. We use UIM exclusively for our interfaces so the 5250 data stream is always CUA compliant, that means the base re-facing carried out by LookSoftware was pretty much all that was required. However Trevor came armed with a set of sample screens which had been developed using DDS to show just how non CUA compliant some screens can be, when the conversion process tried to work out what the GUI content of the screen should be it made all sorts of errors. This is where the real effort will be required when you are refacing an application.
An additional benefit is the integration capabilities such as taking data from the 5250 data stream and passing it into a Word document or email, you can also add additional information with the 5250 data from an alternative source in the same screen. This is probably a second stage process you would carry out once you had re-faced the application because it requires programming knowledge and skills.
LookSoftware also provides a number of sample applications to show the capabilities of the product. One which peeked our interest showed how to string a number of screens together as a transaction which can then run as a background task initiated from a single user action, this allows you to remove the user input required to move through multiple screens to extract a single piece of data.
LookSoftware is great technology and should be considered by any company looking to move their applications away from the old green screen look. Having completed the re-facing the integration of additional data from others sources can bring your application into the next century removing many of the misconceptions about the IBM ‘i’ being old antiquated technology! Best news is you can do this without having to touch a single line of the existing code.
If you would like a demo or see how the product can transform your existing application into a new and vibrant look let us know, we will be more than happy to provide the resources required to help you move this forward.