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The Next Big Thing in IBM i 5250 Applications

by | Nov 16, 2021 | 5250, aXes, ibm i modernization | 0 comments

There has never been a more challenging period in the history of IT.  COVID-19 has fractured the global economy and IT departments are under unprecedented pressure to support their enterprises. The internet revolution has also changed customer expectations and the role of application software. We can access almost every product or service imaginable via the web. In addition to that, our technologies and skillsets are much broader than ever before. Software development is no longer slow-paced, and with platforms and languages changing yearly,  it is almost impossible to maintain the skills necessary to create web applications.

Because of this, enterprises that run their core business applications on specific platforms like IBM i are also under more pressure than ever before. IBM i is rock-solid, fast, and one of the most reliable operating environments created. As a result, organizations running on this platform are not looking to forfeit these perks. They don’t want to give it up. IBM i applications, however, are monolithic and rigid with 5250 green screens that only provide on-site access through centralized terminals or computers. They just aren’t compatible with the expectations of modern users.  

This raises some important questions: What’s the way forward for IBM i 5250 applications? How can enterprises take a more integrated approach to applications and avoid silos in favor of shared data and workflows?  Finally, how can they leverage their existing developer skillsets (RPG and COBOL) to make it happen?

Read on for an overview of the future of IBM i applications.

How Can You Automatically Web-enable IBM i 5250 Applications?

If you want the benefits of modern software but want to maintain your robust IBM i, Visual LANSA is the way forward. Simply put, LANSA has been web-enabling 5250 applications for years.  aXes, its powerful terminal emulator allows you to convert IBM i applications to the web with a simple install. More importantly, aXes doesn’t require programming skills or access to the source code. By simply installing it on IBM i, you give your employees secure access to their 5250 applications from any web-enabled device like a laptop, phone, or tablet. In addition, your end-users don’t even need to install anything on their devices. That is because aXes does all the work on IBM i. It is a simple but powerful IBM i modernization solution.

Another benefit of aXes is that you can modernize in steps. In other words, you can quickly web-enable your applications according to what you need. Once your priority systems are online, you can add other functionality. 

In hours, aXes can turn your 5250 applications into web apps with secure access from any device with a browser and Internet connection. By giving legacy applications a new web UI, it also protects your investment in proven, robust, and functional server applications. 

Finally, the aXes 5250 terminal emulator provides a smooth transition for data entry users and casual users alike. aXes creates UI objects automatically. Menus become clickable links, subfiles become scrollable tables, and function keys become buttons. No programming is required, but you can also change your default modernization rules or customize your screens using aXes development studio. 

Learn how you can use mainframe systems to run business-critical workloads in this article about IBM mainframe modernization.

How Can You Create a Modern UI for 5250 Applications?

With LANSA aXes you can also modernize your UI by adding much-needed functionality. it completely converts your 5250 screens to modern web user interfaces. In addition to that, with the host of web user interface controls aXes provides, you can add value with new business processes. The result is optimized workflows and decreased user training times.

A well-researched redesign of the user interface produces fewer keystrokes with intuitive navigation that improves workflow. The enhanced user experience enables users to perform day-to-day tasks faster and more effectively. aXes delivers increased business benefits to your organization. 

There are two approaches to customizing your web-enabled UI with aXes: local customization and global customization. The former involves locating the screen in question and adding functionality specific to that screen. The latter involves setting up global rules that determine how aXes displays elements on your screen. 

You can also customize the aXes screens by calling RPG and COBOL programs from scripts. This allows you to expand the features available to users without changing the application itself.

How Can You Integrate 5250 Applications with Web and Line-of-Business Applications?

aXes host integration allows organizations to integrate 5250 applications with web and line-of-business applications. This way, you can automate data exchanges with 5250 applications by leveraging an application programming interface (API). Developers can use the API to write programs that automatically operate applications RPG or COBOL apps.

aXes can also simulate a person entering data on 5250 screens. With this feature, you can integrate existing 5250 applications with .NET, Java, or other 5250 applications without changing the source code of your 5250 applications.

LANSA aXes caters to a wide range of automation options. It has APIs for .NET for Windows, Java for IBM I and Windows, and RPG for IBM i. The .NET version is managed code, the Java version is Java SE, and the RPG version is a wrapper around the Java API.


Are You Ready To Leverage The Next Big Thing?

Don’t let your IBM i applications hinder your company’s ability to embrace digital transformation. LANSA is here to unlock the full potential of your 5250 applications. With aXes, you can automatically web-enable IBM i 5250 applications, create a modern UI for 5250 applications, and integrate 5250 applications with web and line-of-business applications.

You can download and try for free to see how easy it is to convert IBM i applications to modern web apps with LANSA’s aXes. Ready to get started? Contact us!




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