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May 2004

Speedware spruces up product portfolio

SpeedWeb, Autobahn, Speedware get enhancements for MPE users

Ben Thorman can’t wait to get his company’s applications onto the newest version of SpeedWeb from Speedware. The manager of application development at Flint Industries, Thorman said his firm is planning to migrate away from the HP 3000s that have been working at his Tulsa, Okla.-based employer for 24 years. But it will be more than a year before Flint’s systems move to HP-UX servers. He said Speedware’s newest product portfolio is too appealing to wait until 2005 to implement.

SpeedWeb is just one of three products Speedware is enhancing through a May release, along with its flagship Speedware V7 (Version 7.10, pushed out to customers) as well as the Web development suite Autobahn. The company is also an HP Platinum migration partner, but its software still lies at the heart of its operations. HP 3000 customers make up the majority of its Speedware-related installations.

Although Thorman goes with some reluctance away from the 3000 — “I wish HP-UX was a better system than the 3000, more reliable, but I don’t know yet that it is,” he says — he’s eager to make his users’ lives easier with SpeedWeb. The software will let users navigate with a mouse through screens that used to need function keys, the kind of HP 3000 application enhancement that is preceding bigger moves in the Speedware customer base.

Changes like interface enhancements at mid-size companies like Flint, where 2,000 employees work at a pair of organizations, are part of the “innovate before you migrate” message which 3000 software suppliers are sending to the marketplace. SpeedWeb moves Speedware V7 applications to Web-ready status, while Autobahn creates Internet applications using Speedware V7’s engine.

SpeedWeb’s Version 3.00 “gives you the option of turning your Speedware V7 application into a dedicated Web application,” says product marketing manager Nicolas Fortin. The newest release rolling out this month lets an applications manager take advantage of different field types, including combo boxes, radio buttons, list boxes, multi-line fields, checkboxes, calendars and spinner controls.

SpeedWeb 3.00 also supports downloading and uploading of files between the server and the client. A new $SPEEDWEB variable uses these new features but still maintains a single spec file, so customers can run an application as a SpeedWeb app or as a character-based Speedware application.

SpeedWeb also introduces an SAS server, pre-launches Speedware runtime sessions to improve performance, permits load balancing between multiple runtime servers, offers account-level logon security and reduces file equation limits on MPE. The SpeedWeb Management utility now displays information about each SAS server as well as information about users.

The application enhances end-user control over printing, something Thorman sees as important to his users. “In Autobahn you have to set your printer for portrait or landscape,” he says “In this product, it’s just going to print right. One of our goals is to have everything Web-enabled. SpeedWeb will really help us.”

One of the biggest challenges at Flint is training. New managers have only a short time to learn applications, and SpeedWeb will make the time count for more than learning a character-based interface running under WRQ’s Reflection. “We’re spread out, and a project manager is going to get about 30 minutes of training on the system. It’s going to be a nice fit.”

New SpeedWeb functions such as $HILITE dynamically assign display attributes to buttons, branches, and fields.

Applications get more user friendly through features such as 3D borders, typeahead functionality and control of scroll bars in secondary screens. Enhanced startup file options let developers more quickly modify the application color scheme.

“I’m excited about it, and it’s making it easier for the user,” Thorman said.

Speedware enhanced, too

Flint Industries is an all-Speedware shop, so the two IT staffers who work with the HP 3000 may also welcome Version 7.10 Speedware enhancements coming out this month. Speedware V7, used by six of the Fortune 50 companies around the world, has native support for Eloquence on HP-UX and Windows, including generic and composite keys. Speedware 7.10 also will support Microfocus COBOL calls.

With functionality coming in 7.10 like the ability to read and write to bytestream files, support for new assignment operators, and letting users move dynamically up and down a search list, Speedware V7 fills all the application language requirements at Flint.

“I like Speedware’s support, and what they tell me is that anything you can do in COBOL you can do in Speedware,” Thorman says.

Speedware Designer Version 7.10 will integrate with SpeedWeb, providing full support for all of SpeedWeb’s new file types. Designer will also bring support for native Eloquence on HP-UX and Windows, support of Telnet, Global section aliases, GO and XEQ support for SpeedWeb applications and support of XEQ with PULLDOWNMENUS.

Speedware is also introducing Version 5 of Autobahn II with the new features that include:

• A runtime pre-launch that allows sites to pre-launch a specified number of Speedware 4GL processes to eliminate start-up delays at runtime;

• Frame Editor, a new tool in the development environment that allows staff to easily create, modify and populate HTML frames;

• A Server Load Balancer that lets an application balance loads between Autobahn servers and different machines;

• Improved debugging tools for compilation and runtime communication errors;

• Objects beneath an application can now be merged, and entire applications (including map) can now be merged from another repository during application creation.

Speedware also has made major enhancements to the Autobahn syntax assistant in its code editors, to enable automatic upshifting of variable references.


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