ABL Brings Native Web App Server to AS/400

As Java begins to mature in the AS/400 market, the challenge issued to all of this platform's e-business developers becomes finding the best way to make use of the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) capabilities introduced with V4R2 of OS/400.

For Advanced BusinessLink Corp., making full use of Java on the AS/400 means running a native Web Application Server solution. The Kirkland, Wash.-based company plans to ship a native AS/400 Web Application Server as part of Version 1.3.0 of its Strategi e-business platform. Since this Web Application Server has not been ported from another platform, AS/400 programmers can develop applications using skills in RPG, C, Java or a variety of other host languages.

"A remarkable trend we're seeing is that traditional AS/400 shops with no prior Web experience are rolling out mainstream e-business applications after just a couple of days training," says Chris Lategan, CEO and founder of Advanced BusinessLink. "The huge base of AS/400 sites out there with traditional skills can be productive immediately."

The Web Application Server solution moves away from traditional notions of tying basic legacy investments to the Web. Instead, the solution calls upon high-speed messaging technology to bridge the legacy world with Java.

"We took years of solid experience with our High Speed Messaging architecture (HSM), renowned for its performance and ease of Web development and rewrote it as a Web Application Server from the ground up," Lategan says. "Existing Strategi users are assured 100 percent compatibility with prior HSM Web applications."

Previously code-named "Javalin," Strategi is comprised of both server and client components. The server portion runs directly on the AS/400, while the client applet runs within a standard Web browser, as well as other Java-compatible environments. Strategi Client is designed to be small in size at about 80K, but still features 5250/3270 emulation with an on-the-fly GUI, printing and file transfer using a built-in push technology engine, and data queue APIs for client/server application development. Another of Strategi’s prominent features is its security, which includes 128-bit Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) cryptographic support, digital certificate authentication and applet provider authentication.

"Everyone out there already has the skills to implement Strategi," says Tim Martin, Advanced BusinessLink's strategic relations specialist. "It is a leap in technology, not in investment or skill set."

Advanced BusinessLink also announced that IBM has certified Strategi as an official value-add in the Web Application Server space.