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An 'Easy' Route to Web-Enabling RPG Applications


If you've been charged with providing a Web presence for your organization and you're not quite sure how to start, here's a suggestion-check out IBM's Easy400 Web site. In addition to offering the free CGIDEV2 library, the site also provides samples on Web-enabling RPG applications, tutorials and more.

The story of the Easy400 site and the CGIDEV2 library is a tale of two men on two continents. It all started in Rochester, Minn., where Mel Rothman (of IBMs iSeries and AS/400 Custom Technology Center (CTC) ) developed the library, originally known as CGIDEV. Rothman, who then worked with Partners in Development (now PartnerWorld for Developers, iSeries) intended to provide a simple method that would assist business partners and customers in Web-enabling their RPG applications. In 1996, the library was released as a series of code snippets and sample programs through the AS/400 Technical Studio Web site.

After moving to the CTC, Rothman developed the CGIDEV2 library. This is a more sophisticated set of functions that offers improved functionality and performance. In addition to being used in consulting engagements, this updated version of the library was also offered for license by the CTC. In December 2000, the CTC decided to make the CGIDEV2 library available free of charge through the Easy400 site.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, IBM Italy's Giovanni Perotti had discovered the CGIDEV library and realized its potential to help his customers and business partners move their RPG applications to the Web. He set about developing Easy400 to demonstrate CGIDEVs capabilities and educate people on its use. Perotti has since added sample applications, tutorials, tools and more. The sample applications can be run directly on the Web site or downloaded (source code and images included) to run on your own system. What better way to demonstrate to "NT fixated" management just how powerful the AS/400 can be in a Web-based environment than to demonstrate complex applications on your own system?

Since its establishment, thousands of AS/400 and iSeries users have visited Easy400 and more than 4,200 have registered and downloaded the CGIDEV and CGIDEV2 libraries. Also stop by Easy400s testimonials section, which lists those who have benefited from the tools. More than 90 companies have used the tools to develop their own Web sites-and many of these sites are directly linked from the references page.

Recently, Perotti has been working overtime to update the sample applications and courseware to use the latest version of the CGIDEV2 library, a task that is nearly complete. He has also ensured that COBOL users are not left out by publishing a set of wrappers for the CGIDEV library that were developed by Nello Zanchetta from Tecnoinformatica, Oderzo (TV), Italy.

On behalf of the iSeries and AS/400 user community, we'd like to thank Rothman, Perotti and their respective management. They recognize that, for many users, Java* isn't a short-term option, and that an affordable RPG-based solution for moving their applications to the Web is essential for their survival.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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