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Product Review: DTT1000 from Ohio Data Transfer




We believe that the products Windows* installations are virgin installs while all of mine were Windows 98 upgrades to Windows 2000. We found more than a few differences. We had a hard time getting the APIs to find the Rumba connections. Also, I was a bit annoyed and surprised that the installation routines leave you clueless as to what's going on or how far into the installation process you are. I think these issues should be addressed soon. Also, unlike many other product installations, there's no progress thermometer to explain where you are or what you're doing. Tech support also didn't know how to tell me what was going on during those installs, some of which were rather lengthy.

Also, I went deeper into the product than the average user will ever want to go. Hey, I said I was curious.

Now be aware, this product piggybacks heavily on Rumba. And you're more or less advised not to run it on the same PC you run Client Access. So, if you're thinking of rolling your own, keep that in mind.

Ease of Use
Coding in DTT1000s scripting language is simpler than coding in BASIC. And how many remember that language?

The software is basically a fancy screen scraper and painter. You simply define where the fields are on the screens and tell the scripting how you want to present them. It's as simple as defining row, starting position and length. The base script language and compiler aren't hard to get a handle on. I was actually writing my scripts and getting results from my test environment minutes after the install was completed.

Also, you can monitor the session/screen activity during the dial-in sessions, which really helps in testing and debugging or watching what users are doing and asking for.

Documentation
Very adequate. I would've liked some in-depth examples, but I didn't find many. However, the product ships with a well-documented set of demo scripts. I recommend reading them first and then looking at the manuals. I think you'll pick it up much faster.

Certifiability
The preloaded server product that normal users receive worked like a champ for me.

Functionality/Usefulness
OK, so what does this product do that made me so happy? Well, people have been screaming that their AS/400 is just a green screen. Well, this little package lets the AS/400 actually speak. Granted it's done through .wav files, but imagine the possibilities.

Lets say you're tacking orders and must know where a package is in transit. When I track this with FedEx, I usually just hit the Web page and punch in my tracking number or stand in the dialup queue and wait to ask. DTT1000 would allow me to dialup, enter my tracking number and get the information on the phone without a browser.

Don Rima has more than 20 years of experience with IBM midrange systems. Don can be reached at dr2@dlr2.net.


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