Symtrax’s Bravo Express Distribution of AS/400 Objects

Symtrax (Los Angeles) officially launched the first of three planned software products for distributing AS/400 objects and software with its recent release of Bravo Express. Based on the technology Symtrax uses to install its PC to AS/400 products, Bravo Express facilitates the distribution of AS/400 objects via PC networks and the Internet.

According to David A. Morgenstern, VP of Symtrax Corp., Bravo Express’ main area of focus is software developers. It will target three specific areas: software distributing, delivery of updates and PTF’s via the Internet, and technical support fixes posted on a Web site.

Bravo Express eliminates the traditional way of software distribution. “Our clients were amazed how easy it was to download and install our products over the Web and run them on the AS/400,” says Morgenstern. “We looked around and saw that there was no easy way to package AS/400 software over a PC network.”

Instead of delivering products through AS/400 cartridges and CDs, software companies can use Bravo to package and compress AS/400 objects to a PC file, for posting on an FTP server, e-mailing, or burning to an inexpensive PC CD-ROM. In a technical support setting, companies can post fixes, patches, add-ons, etc. to a technical support Web site for easier download and installation. Upon receiving a Bravo file, the user can install it to the AS/400 using the free Bravo Reader, which can be downloaded from the Web site.

“For us, the biggest initiative is to target software companies,” says Morgenstern. “We enable them to distribute their software over the Internet, saving them a lot of money on media and postage. Plus, Bravo Reader is free so their customers don’t have to buy anything to download the software over the Internet. We think software companies will adapt to this very quickly and we had a great reaction from them [at the COMMON 2000 expo].”

The other main target for Bravo Express is companies with multiple AS/400s with a need to share information between the servers. In the past, those companies usually spent a lot of time manually FTPing objects from development AS/400s to production AS/400s, then typing save and restore and other commands. To communicate with the remote, non-connected sites, they were forced to save the objects to cartridge or CD and mail them to remote sites.

By using Bravo Express, a user can view all types of AS/400 objects through a PC interface and then drag and drop objects from one AS/400 to another, saving both time and money. “We’re simplifying the process of transferring AS/400 files from 14 steps to two steps,” says Eric Burger, director of technical services at Symtrax.

Bravo Express also improves the ability for AS/400 companies to communicate with the non-connected sites, as programmers can save AS/400 objects to a compressed, PC-formatted Bravo file, and let the users from the remote sites download it from an FTP server or e-mail, size permitting.

In all, Bravo Express can compress objects up to 80 percent, thereby making distribution over the Internet or by other means a faster process. A special “streaming” function, available for OS/400 V4R3 and up, will allow installation to be cancelled during restore operations.

Pricing for software companies that want to license Bravo Express will be determined on a per-company basis. For AS/400 companies, the base license for one user is $550. It is $470 for additional users up to five, $410 for users up to 10 and $370 for users over 10.

Looking ahead, Morgenstern says, “The future products will provide added functionality. For example, companies will be able to package AS/400 objects into PC executables, call CL commands and customize their install programs.”

Related Information:

  • Symtrax (new window)
  • Download Trial Version of Bravo Express (new window)
  • Must Read Articles