| Front Page | News Headlines | Technical Headlines | Planning Features | Advanced Search |

Reflection for the Web, V 4.5


1500 Dexter Avenue North
Seattle, WA 98109 USA
Phone: 206.217.7500
Fax: 206.217.7515
Web: www.wrq.com
E-mail: info@wrq.com

Reflection for the Web (RftW) version 4.5 can emulate all popular terminals, including the HP 3000’s, in a standard Web browser window. With RftW installed on any HTTP 1.0-compliant Web server such as Apache/iX, a terminal/host application can be deployed across the enterprise or across the Web using WRQ’s optional (but included) security proxy server component. An optionally installable metering component provides further control.

Reflection for the Web is marketed exclusively through distributors and resellers and is volume-priced either on a per-seat basis or concurrent user basis. For example, on a per-seat basis, 50-299 licenses cost $115/seat and 5,000+ licenses cost $72/seat. On a concurrent user basis, 50-299 licenses cost $199/user and 5,000+ licenses cost $125/user. WRQ also offers a trade-in credit on existing Reflection licenses and competitive upgrade pricing. A 60-day evaluation copy with full documentation can be downloaded from the WRQ Web site.



August 2001

Webify Apps in Man-Minutes, Not Man-Years

Reflection for the Web delivers browser access to 3000 applications

Review by John Burke

WRQ’s Reflection for the Web (RftW) gives you Reflection for Windows, Reflection for Mac and Reflection for any system that supports X-Windows (with Netscape Navigator), including Linux, in one easily deployed package. Version 4.5 can emulate all popular terminals, including of course the HP 3000’s, in a standard browser window.

RftW components are cached locally on the client the first time RftW is called, yielding load performance on subsequent calls equivalent to a locally installed copy of Reflection. When loading RftW on a client, any modules that have changed are automatically updated. With only one master copy of the software and automatic updating, the total cost of ownership is significantly reduced when compared to locally installed emulators.


The truth is, RftW is so feature rich, I can only touch on a few. RftW consists of four main components:

The Administrative WebStation (AWS) is a self-contained Web site where administrators can configure and deploy the basic RftW terminal sessions. AWS can be run directly from the CD, installed on a PC or installed on a Web server. Since the Terminal Emulation component is centrally stored and maintained, but locally cached on client machines with automatic updating, the TCO is significantly lower then with locally installed terminal emulators.

The Terminal Emulator (TE) component is a set of Java applets installed on the Web host that will serve up the Reflection pages. TE supports IBM mainframe and AS/400 emulation, Unix and OpenVMS emulation (Telnet), and HP emulation (NS/VT and Telnet).

The Usage-Metering (UM) component may optionally be installed to compile usage statistics. It can reside on any Web server that supports Java servlets.

The Security Proxy Server (SPS) component may optionally be installed to encrypt the data stream between the SPS and the browser. Using SSL/TLS 168-bit Triple DES, the SPS can reside on any server with a Java 1.1-compliant JVM. If the host system supports a suitable JVM, installing the SPS on the host will provide true end-to-end encryption.

RftW also comes with a comprehensive set of Java-based APIs for customization using JavaScript, VBScript, Java, or HTML. The only limit is probably your imagination.

System Requirements

The target client browser must be Java 1.1- or 1.2-compatible. Examples are MS IE 4.0 or higher for Windows or the Mac and Netscape Navigator 4.06 or higher for Windows, Unix or Linux. As for the client hardware, RftW ran just as well for me on a 266-Mhz NT laptop as on a 450-Mhz NT desktop. Even more importantly, it ran just as well as native Reflection.

The system that serves up the TE component can be any HTTP 1.0-compliant Web server. Examples include MS IIS, Netscape Enterprise Server and Apache.


Because RftW is targeted at so many different — often very different — platforms, WRQ had to get fairly creative with the install. Each component can be installed three different ways; you choose the way that works best for you. Conceivably, you could use all three if you had a heterogeneous environment. For example, consider the AWS. You can use the Windows-based installer (webstation.exe) familiar to most of us for MS Windows systems, a Java-based installer (webstation.class) for non-Windows systems that have a suitable JVM, or, if both these methods are not workable, a compressed “.zip” archive. In my case, since my desktop is Windows NT and my target servers have Samba/iX running, I chose the first method, treating my HP 3000 as just another NT box. Since you are not really installing a Windows program, the installer does not require you to exit other Windows programs, nor does it require a reboot. Whichever method you choose, installation is simple and straightforward.


As has been my experience with other WRQ products, the documentation for RftW is excellent. RftW comes with a 40-page Installation & System Administrator Guide that gives you all the information you need in clear, easy-to-follow steps. The guide is available in hardcopy, HTML and PDF. Both the AWS and emulator provide copious online HELP served up by the same system that served up the AWS or TE applets.

Let’s take it out for a TestDrive

I installed RftW Administrative WebStation (AWS) locally on a 450-Mhz Windows NT desktop system and on two different HP 3000s, each running Apache/iX on MPE/iX 6.0 PP2. One of the HP 3000s is a 928 accessible only on our internal corporate network. The other HP 3000 is a 927 on our internal corporate network but exposed to the Internet for HTTP and FTP. (Hint: this 927 hosts www.burke-consulting.com.). I also installed the terminal emulation component on both HP 3000s. Since I have Samba/iX installed on both systems, I was able to use the Windows install method to place the files directly on each 3000. If you are in a hurry, this is not the way to go, but it sure is convenient. It took about 20 minutes to install the terminal emulation component and 40 minutes to install the Administrative WebStation. Since you are just copying HTML and Java code, no reboot is required even on a Microsoft platform.

Apache/iX served up the Administrative WebStation applets and HTML to my 450-Mhz office desktop with only a slight delay the first time. Subsequent sessions with the WebStation were served up as fast as any static Web page, thanks to RftW’s local caching mechanism. At home over DSL, the Administrative WebStation took 30 seconds to download the first time and only five seconds on subsequent accesses, again because of local caching. Figure 1 shows the Administrative WebStation being used to create a session config file and Web page for deployment to a Web server. On the 450-Mhz machines I used, performance was comparable to a native Windows program. Creating what WRQ calls sessions, but what I think of as templates, is a breeze and takes at most a couple of minutes for each. Normally you would deploy each template to your Web server of choice using FTP directly from the AWS; but since I had Samba/iX already running for Web site development, I simply did a drag-and-drop of the two files.

The performance of the WebStation is not, of course, all that important; what is important is the performance, functionality and versatility of the terminal emulation component. First, let’s look at the files that are downloaded for an “advanced” terminal session. Five compressed files (300K-350K total) were downloaded, expanded to 1.9MB and cached locally. On my desktop, this took only slightly longer than opening a local copy of Reflection v7. After the files were cached, RftW actually appeared to load and connect slightly faster than my copy of Reflection version 7. At home, over DSL, the five files loaded in about 20 seconds. After the initial download, RftW loaded and connected within five seconds consistently. Performance of RftW, once loaded, was comparable to Reflection v7.

Okay, let’s really put this thing through its paces. Consider a 266-MHz laptop connected to the Internet at 28.8KB. The initial download of the 350KB took a rather pokey 5 minutes. However, subsequent loads and connections consistently took between 10 and 15 seconds – which also happens to be the load and connect time for Reflection v7 on this machine. Performance of RftW, once loaded, was comparable to Reflection v7 running locally. This means that RftW is a viable option in almost any environment.

Now, let’s look at functionality. Figure 2 is a visual comparison of Reflection for HP version 7 (background) with Reflection for the Web version 4.5 (foreground). You have to look carefully to see the difference. The RftW session was configured with “advanced” authorization, which means that virtually all options are available to the user for customization, color, font, size, etc. At the other end of the spectrum, “basic” authorization allows only for the customization of color. As a test, I made several changes in NMMGR using RftW. It handled everything exactly like the Reflection I’m used to, except now it was in a browser window.

Figure 3 gives an idea of RftW’s versatility. I put this example together in only a few minutes. I created the page using MS FrontPage, with the top left frame referencing one of my RftW pages, and then exported everything using Samba/iX to an HP 3000 running Apache/iX. This shows how you can take an existing terminal/host application, write an HTML Help system and combine both on a single, pleasing Web page. For the cost of developing an HTML Help system you can Webify and improve the usability of almost any host-based application.


I looked at the precursor to RftW, EnterView, when it first came out some four years ago. I felt at the time it was not sufficiently robust or customizable for us, so I was anxious to look at what WRQ had to offer now. I was not disappointed. The name change is appropriate, because for all intents and purposes this is a completely new product. The performance, functionality and versatility are everything I had hoped for. As simple as Figure 3 was to create, nevertheless, it demonstrates the power present in RftW to transform or Webify, quickly and easily, existing HP 3000 terminal/host applications.

All of my testing was done in a Windows/HP 3000 environment; however, since RtfW only requires a Java 1.1-compliant browser on the client and an HTTP 1.0-compliant Web server to emulate all popular “terminals,” RftW is deployable in virtually any heterogeneous client/host environment. If you have a HP 3000 with access to the Internet, you can make your existing applications securely available to anyone, virtually anywhere, anytime. Think Apps-on-Tap for example — and not having to worry if the client has the right version of terminal emulation software.

John Burke is editor of the NewsWire’s net.digest and Hidden Value columns and has managed HP 3000 systems for more than 20 years.



Copyright The 3000 NewsWire. All rights reserved.