California Software Welcomes Newborn to Migration Family

California Software Corporation (Santa Ana, Calif.) has given its midrange migration product line a millennial facelift with the recent unveiling of Baby AS/2000. Baby AS/2000 is a completely re-engineered offering, which replaces Baby/400 and is intended to allow software developers and end-users to rehost AS/400, RPG-based applications in a Windows NT environment.

Combining the stability, reliability and functionality of AS/400 with the user-friendliness of NT, Baby AS/2000 creates an expanded user base for traditional RPG applications. This expansion is facilitated by Baby GUI—California Software's screen-customization toolkit prepackaged with Baby AS/2000—which collaborates with Baby AS/2000 to create graphical user interfaces for availing RPG applications to NT.

"Suppose a 24-hour operation wants to maintain backups on a continual basis," says Carol Conway, VP of California Software. "They could use Baby to duplicate data sets onto NT from AS/400 at timed intervals. Then when AS/400 goes into backup mode, the user can use NT to access data." As described, the creation of a pseudo high-availability environment is one of several examples Conway cites as potential uses for Baby AS/2000.

Touting Baby AS/2000 as a true client/server tool, Conway emphasizes the importance of using it in conjunction with Baby GUI. She explains that by giving RPG applications a Windows look and feel with point-and-click capability, users unfamiliar with the RPG environment will be able to easily access and input AS/400-based data.

Moreover, as the e-business boom has created a need for Web-accessible data, GUI versions of AS/400 applications have become commonplace on the Web. In response to this ever-growing demand, Conway says California Software is aiming for an end-of-summer release of Baby.com. Baby.com will Web-enable the Baby AS/2000 interfaces created with Baby GUI, permitting mobile users and customers to ramp RPG applications via the Internet.

For sales people, Conway says Baby AS/2000 can streamline the process of taking orders and checking inventory. She paints the picture of an outside sales representative using an RPG ordering/inventory application, which has been compiled on their laptop, to check the availability of products and input orders instantaneously. Conway explains, however, that while ordering and inventory checks can be done in real-time on site, any new information will need to be uploaded to the AS/400. With the release of Baby.com, it will be possible to input and access information directly to and from the server.

Darcy Fowkes, Senior Analyst with the Aberdeen Group, cites Baby AS/2000's expense-reduction potential as its most intriguing feature. Her endorsement is in response to Conway's claim that Baby AS/2000 represents a valuable resource for small development firms. "In an ideal world, a company has an AS/400 for its business operations and another for development and testing," says Conway. "Most smaller shops can't afford to do this, so they test and run their business operations on the same machine. This is not a good thing."

With Baby AS/2000, Conway explains, such a company can advantage NT for development and testing. Thus, a firm with minimal resources can ensure the stability of its business operations without incurring the expense of an additional AS/400.

Fowkes agrees, adding, "You don't have to face the huge costs associated with buying another AS/400." And while she admits "there's always a trade-off" when developing RPG in an NT environment, Fowkes says, "Developing on NT is academically a lot cheaper, which far outweighs any obstacles it could present."

Baby AS/2000 costs $2,995 with a one-time license on a sliding scale, averaging $200-$250 per user.

Related Information:

  • California Software (new window)
  • Baby AS/2000 Overview (new window)