Updates Framework for RPG-Centric Web Development on IBM i CHICAGO, IL. CNX announced today the first post-Beta release for version 3.0 of the Valence Web Application Framework for IBM i. Valence 3.0 includes numerous browser component enhancements and adds mobile device support to the package, providing state-of-the-art tools for IBM i programmers to create true Web 2.0-style applications for virtually any device with a browser. “This latest version of Valence is more than just an incremental release,” said Richard Milone, CNX Chief Technical Officer. “For starters, the portal has undergone a beautiful redesign with some great new features to make it easier to use than ever. And with native support for mobile devices now included, this release will be of particular interest to developers who want to address the rapidly growing community of smartphone and tablet users.” Designed explicitly for RPG programmers, Valence 3.0 includes Sencha Ext JS components for the front-end browser that communicate directly with RPG programs on the back-end IBM i server.

Valence runs entirely through IBM i's integrated Apache server – no additional severs or hardware is required. CNX has developed numerous training videos and sample programs available for free download to assist RPG programmers with understanding JavaScript syntax and related Web 2.0 development concepts. While the core Valence framework remains free to all IBM i developers under terms of a “Community Developer License,” Version 3.0 also includes premium “Enterprise” features that can be licensed on a per-machine basis for an unlimited number of developers. Enterprise features include a browser-based source editor for maintaining front-end JavaScript code and an integrated Instance Manager for cloning, updating and managing Valence server instances. Enterprise features are automatically activated on a 90-day trial basis when Valence is downloaded and installed. “Our intent with Valence is to make sure cost is never a barrier to entry for RPGers who want to dip their toes into the Web 2.0 development waters,” explained Milone, “so the free Community Edition of Valence contains everything those programmers need to create world class browser apps. They can play with the framework in this mode for as long as they like at no cost. Then, once they've deployed some apps to their users and feel comfortable with the framework, upgrading to a modestly priced Professional or Enterprise-level license may make sense to ensure they have the best tools and support available for their Valence development going forward.”

As with prior releases, the Valence 3.0 framework includes an intuitive web portal for controlling IBM i library lists and security for all programs, as well as an intuitive navigation tree from which users can launch the browser applications to which they are authorized. When mobile devices such as iPads are being used, the Valence Portal now automatically switches the interface to a native Touch-friendly format. Valence 3.0, the seventh major release of the Valence Framework since it was launched in May 2008, includes the following new features and enhancements:

  • Mobile device support – with Sencha Touch included, Valence now supports a wide range of mobile devices, including iPads, iPhones, and devices running on the Android OS.
  • Updated Ext JS library – The latest release of Valence's front-end framework from Sencha (Ext JS 4.0.1) features faster component rendering, updated grids, new APIs and classes, advanced charting and graphing options, and much more.
  • Valence Portal improvements – The Portal will now recognize when it's being launched on a mobile device and automatically switch to a new touch-friendly format; On the desktop, users can configure the Portal to use a drop-down menu in lieu of the standard navigation tree to launch apps; Users can also now switch between environments without having to log out. Administrative apps have been reformatted to make it easier to see which users have authority to which applications; New configuration settings have been added to make it easier to add new apps to groups and navigation trees
  • Valence Enterprise features – Built right into the Valence Portal, the Valence Nitro Source Editor makes opening and editing JavaScript files of any size a breeze; The new Valence Instance Manager automates the formerly tedious process of cloning Valence server instances (i.e., for test environments) and managing upgrades.
  • Updated examples and applications – Many of the example programs have been updated to showcase use of new Ext JS 4 features, and new examples have been added to demonstrate Touch application development; Administration programs have been rewritten to demonstrate a more modern object-oriented front-end using Ext JS 4.
  • New back-end RPG functions and improvements – Developers can now cache frequently accessed lists for faster rendering in combo boxes between applications; SQL-to-JSON functions have been further optimized to improve response time.

For additional Valence 3.0 details, including a three-minute video demonstrating some of the new features, click here. Or download Valence free.