MRC Adds 2 New Tools

Michaels, Ross & Cole’s MRC-Productivity Series 97 AS/400 application development suite now incorporates a tool that builds AS/400-centric executive information systems (EIS) and a tool that reduces the development cycle of all MRC-built applications.

MRC’s EIS-Maker uses an object-oriented building block approach to build EIS applications in Visual Basic, Java or RPG.

John Lipsey, communications director of Lombard, Ill.-based MRC, says EIS-Maker is ideal for resource-strapped companies looking to modernize their systems in the face of AS/400 staffing shortages and Year 2000 distractions. “Desktop users increasingly are rejecting their black-and-green screen AS/400 data in favor of graphical EIS systems. But existing staff frequently does not have the Visual Basic or Java programming skills necessary to deliver the types of graphical applications users demand. EIS-Maker solves this problem,” he says.

EIS-Maker automatically generates smaller Visual Basic or Java programs that can be linked together with other programs to create EIS systems. It builds each screen within an EIS as an object, or module, then links the screen to any other logically related program.

“Over time, as MIS creates a repository of these EIS modules, responding to user requests for AS/400 EIS systems will be as simple as linking together modules that have already been created,” Lipsey says.

An MRC-Productivity Series 97 feature called SmartLinks enables developers to easily link together the different program modules once they are created. “SmartLinks acts as the glue. It enables the developer to link the various screens in any combination. And the screens can be used simultaneously in multiple EIS applications,” says Lipsey.

MRC has also added Object Wizard, an object-oriented feature, to Productivity Series. Object Wizard enables developers to integrate any AS/400 program, algorithm or object into their current project, without reprogramming or redundant coding.

“MRC defines the code as an object so you have the code in one place and you can update it in one place,” says Lipsey. “If you have 500 applications that depend on the same process and code, you don’t have to update 500 applications, you just update the object.

“From the maintenance perspective, you can turn 500 jobs into a 30-second task. From the hardware perspective, it saves space, because it eliminates all the redundant coding.”

EIS-Maker and Object Wizard are both incorporated into every MRC-Productivity Series 97 license at no additional charge.