Esker Provides Corridor to Mainframe Data

Analysts estimate that as much as 75 percent of mission critical corporate data resides on mainframe host systems. With the release of Corridor for Active Server, Esker S.A. ( hopes to provide IT managers with a straightforward way to deliver this host-based data to Windows and Windows NT end users.

According to Esker president Russ Tuebner, the Corridor product is made possible by the development of Internet-ready development tools such as Visual InterDev from Microsoft Corp. "There was a real lack of these tools until the introduction of Visual InterDev, which is a development environment that is extensible and provides an architecture that allows us to add functionality with it."

Corridor for Active Server provides a framework for developing host-based interactive Web applications by leveraging Microsoft SNA Server, Microsoft Internet Information Server and the Visual InterDev development environment. Using Corridor for Active Server, programmers can provide a Web-style interface for data and logic present in legacy 3270 and 5250 green-screen applications.

Corridor for Active Server consists of both a server-based run-time component that processes applications residing on a Web server and a design-time module facility that prepares, or "builds," applications for publishing on the run-time side.

The cornerstone of the Corridor for Active Server environment design-time facility is Corridor Builder, which is a plug-in to Visual InterDev, FrontPage 98 or Sybase Inc.’s ( PowerSite Web authoring tools. Tuebner positions Corridor Builder as a drag-and-drop design-time component that facilitates the inclusion of host-based content in interactive Web applications.

"[In the Corridor Builder component,] developers are presented with a real-time host session, and they’re presented with a couple of other portions on the screen to kind of track and configure what’s happening," Tuebner explains. "They simply walk through the application to the point where they want to extract the data, they then tell Corridor what they want to do with the information, save the data, and their work is done -- and it’s all saved as an Active Server Page."

According to Susan Warren, lead product manager for Visual InterDev at Microsoft, Corridor’s integration with the Visual InterDev environment enables developers to provide relatively straightforward access to mainframe data over the Internet. "Like most of the design-time controls in Visual InterDev 6.0, Esker’s [Corridor] Builder is data-aware and tightly integrated with the Visual database tools," Warren indicates. "Corridor for Active Server lets developers utilize their Visual InterDev or FrontPage skills to rapidly create applications that make mainframe data available over the Web."