NetManage Goes Code-Free with OnWeb 5.2

Bring legacy applications and data to the Web without writing code.

Host-access and host-management provider NetManage released the 5.2 version of its OnWeb offering with several enhancements it says make it easier to bring legacy applications and data to the Web without writing any code.

With the new release, OnWeb now comes equipped with a plug-in for Microsoft's FrontPage HTML editor, code-free VB scripting features and new screen-filtering capabilities. OnWeb 5.2 also gives developers the ability to both publish and integrate host-based solutions.

"OnWeb provides a single product for doing host publishing and host integration," says David Burton, director of product marketing for OnWeb. This marks a somewhat different approach than most other Web-to-host solutions currently on the market, which typically split publishing and integration among two or three different products.

OnWeb, the server-side equivalent of NetManage's popular RUMBA desktop-emulation offering, was added to the Cupertino, Calif.-based company's solution set in November of 1999, when NetManage acquired Wall Data, another Web-to-host firm. Burton says OnWeb—which has been in existence under several different brand names for about five years—is now better positioned to deploy legacy solutions to the Web without coding. "With previous versions, there was some code that needed to be written," says Burton.

According to Burton, developers can use a plug-in and bring any captured host screens into FrontPage and render them as HTML, XML, WML, COM, or JavaBeans. Furthermore, he says OnWeb can also automatically generate VB scripting through its Navigator set of tools.

Michel Lefebvre, senior product manager for OnWeb, says 5.2 also works with other leading Web editors, such as DreamWeaver. However, he says FrontPage is the only editor developers can use to render every host screen without writing code.

Code-free emulation is an important achievement in the Web-to-host market, as technologies in this area are evaluated by customers based primarily on ease of use. A recent report by IT analyst firm Gartner Inc., "Application Development in Transition," says the market for legacy-emulation solutions has grown to be powerful because the offerings in this space provide companies a "quick and dirty" way to bring their legacy investments to the Web. And while Gartner doesn't believe such offerings should be part of a long-term Web strategy, it feels legacy-emulation technologies will continue to be a prominent part of a developer's toolkit because of the convenience they offer.

With 5.2, NetManage has also given OnWeb features for filtering screens. Developers can thus pick and choose elements from multiple host screens and combine them into a single Web interface—or they can skip screens if they choose. Filtering gives developers more flexibility to build Web interfaces that are easy to navigate.

OnWeb 5.2 supports any 3270 or 5250 legacy system, and can connect to any ODBC-compliant data source.