Inpro Utility Web-enables AS/400 Apps

A new utility from Inpro International Inc. (Austin, Texas) lets you put your AS/400 Java applications on the Web without having to wrestle with CGI. Called inPROcgi/400 Version 1.1.0, the application development tool for the Java environment automatically passes Java Post Actions through to the AS/400, where it calls the Java-script specified program and passes the parameters. The key advantage, according to the company, is that programmers can use their basic RPG or COBOL development background to Web-enable applications through standard AS/400 dataqueues.

"We're trying to preserve our clients' existing skills by taking the CGI BIN programming out of their hands," says Craig Van Horn, president of Inpro International. "The programmer can just call the AS/400 programs and talk to them using standard dataqueues. Users can look like a CGI genius without ever seeing BIN."

The utility provides complete historical logging on the server, whether requests come over the Internet or originate locally. Van Horn stresses that the product offers stateless programming by allowing developers to point to a port within inPROcgi/400's main processing program, which directly calls standard RPG programs with parameters. The software handles all ASCII/EBCDIC conversions and spawning of tasks for multiple requests coming in over the network, so no jobs run on the AS/400, freeing up the CPU for other tasks.

The notion of easily making AS/400 applications accessible with a Web browser should appeal to users, says Tom Bacon, director of administrative applications at Champlain College (Burlington, Vt.). "We were looking for a product that would allow us to put information on the Web easily without investing a lot of time and without getting too deep into the hooks of the server side. This is a nice, easy way to do that in very little time. I had a working model of my application after having the product for just a few days, and I have full control of what I'm running. I just call an RPG or CL program, passing the parameters back and forth through the dataqueue."

Bacon adds that the utility produces a fast, thin-client application that can run anywhere there is a browser.

InPROcgi/400 is currently available and is priced at $995 per CPU.