Augmenting Browser-Based Development

Spotlight Profile

Product: WebSmart
Company: BCD Software
Version: 5.27
Overall Rating: 3.835


Do you remember when Microsoft* came out with FrontPage? The intent, among other things, was to make life easier for Web developers. Overnight, people were cutting their own Web pages - people who didn't have a clue what the Web was at one time were now becoming their own Webmasters. The intent was to provide a lot of deep functionality in an easy-to-use integrated development environment (IDE). Many others used tools like Dreamweaver for more serious development, and a lot of FrontPage users eventually migrated to Dreamweaver as their IDE of choice.

Ever think this could come to the System i* platform? Perhaps it has. This month, I'm reviewing WebSmart from BCD (

After a couple downloads from the Web, I was in business. Post-install configuration wasn't painful, and I was off to the walk-through in short order.

Ease of Use
Frankly, this is one of the larger products that I've examined. I won't tell you that I've hit all of the functionality or played with each and every feature; that would be like saying I learned WebSphere* and was a guru in a month. And we all know that doesn't happen.

What I can say is that you need to do the walk-throughs with support staff like Marcel Sarrasin, and you need to go through the provided learning programs. I recommend you read the users' guide a couple times before you even open the reference manual. Remember how the RPG manuals were back when the AS/400* server first came out? We had a reference guide and a users' guide, and they were substantially different in content and approach. But we learned what was where and quickly used both effectively. Same concept applies here.

You'll find that you'll be writing basic stuff within a day or two. As with learning any new IDE and language (and there's a language involved here - see the Functionality section), it will take a little time and effort, but given all the helps, programming aids, etc., you should be good to go. Product users say that their programmers were at an RPG programmer equivalent level in a month and guru in three - obviously, your results may vary.


Don Rima has more than 20 years of experience with IBM midrange systems. Don can be reached at



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