CST Expands Jacada Family

Talk about regenerating green-screen RPG programs with a graphical Java interface and the S-word usually comes to mind – screen scraping.

But Atlanta-based Client/Server Technology (CST) claims to have left screen scraping behind with its new Jacada Innovator product. Jacada Innovator does what CST’s original Jacada product does – enables applications written in RPG or COBOL to be deployed with Java or Visual Basic graphical interfaces. However, Jacada Innovator eliminates the green-screen back end by adding a messaging server that facilitates communications between the generated Java or VB client and RPG and COBOL server code without relying on the 5250 [or 3270, for mainframe users] data streams.

“There’s no remote procedure calls, no implementation of CORBA,” says David Holmes, CST’s VP of marketing. “You continue to write RPG and COBOL. You’re not changing anything fundamentally about your applications, you’re just changing the architecture and the way they’re delivered. Instead of going over to an IBM utility to design the green screen, you go to Innovator to design the GUI. Your server code continues to be RPG.”

Jacada Innovator includes a thin-client GUI builder that builds the Java or VB client from the RPG or COBOL code. Developers need no knowledge of Java or VB. It also includes a patent-pending direct messaging server to enable the RPG and COBOL programs to talk directly to the CST JacadaServer, and COBOL and RPG translators that automate the conversion of traditional 5250 and 3270 program statements to Jacada Innovator message statements. Customers can move their existing DDS, BMS or MFS screen definitions to Java or VB GUIs, and translate the existing RPG and COBOL code to communicate directly with these new graphical thin clients.

Tom Jarosh, IBM’s AS/400 Brand general manager and a vocal proponent of moving the AS/400 away from the green-screen world, said in a statement that IBM is “excited” about what Jacada Innovator means to RPG and COBOL programmers.

“With Jacada Innovator, CST is providing a means for enterprise application developers to gradually move their skills and applications to a thin client, Java-based solution,” said Jarosh. “It allows the AS/400 community to combine the power, security and reliability of the AS/400e platform with the enterprise strength of RPG and COBOL and the e-commerce promise of Java.”

“As long as the AS/400 is green-screen, it’s not going to be seen as a cool box,” says Holmes. “Jacada Innovator makes it easy to move away from green screens and to distributed processing. And you don’t have to take your RPG programmers and try to turn them into Java programmers.”

CST has teamed up with IBM to offer the Jacada Innovator Test Drive Center, which opens today [Nov. 9] in Atlanta. Developers will be invited to bring their RPG or COBOL code to the Test Drive Center, where they will work with CST and IBM staffers to learn how they can extend their applications using Jacada Innovator. There is no charge for the one-week program, which will also be offered the weeks of Nov. 16, Nov. 30 and Dec. 7. Customers can register for the Test Drive Center online at www.cst.com/TestDrive or contact CST at (800) 773-9574.

CST has also released Jacada ComponentServer, a specialized application server written in Java that integrates existing applications with new application development technologies, such as Web and thin-client applications.

These applications will be able to access business logic and data from AS/400 [and mainframe] applications via an open, Java API. This technology should appeal to the Lotus Domino developer and business partner community, according to David Marshak, VP and senior consultant at the Boston-based Patricia Seybold Group.

“Using Java as a scripting language, Domino applications can now, for the first time, completely leverage existing RPG and COBOL applications to power Domino and Lotus Notes applications. The benefits will drive sales of Domino as a platform for integrated solutions,” he says.