FORT WORTH, TX. CNX announced at the Spring RPG/DB2 Summit today the release of version 3.1 of the Valence Web Application Framework for IBM i. Valence 3.1 includes numerous browser component enhancements plus an exclusive new set of tools to help IBM i developers create desktop and mobile web apps with little or no programming. “The big news with this release is the Valence Nitro App Builder, which brings to Valence a whole new array of features supporting rapid web application development on IBM i,” said Richard Milone, CNX Chief Technical Officer. “This is not some sort of web designer imported from another platform and shoe-horned into working on IBM i. This was designed from scratch explicitly for IBM i and it performs incredibly fast.”

The Valence Nitro App Builder facilitates the rapid creation of browser-based dashboards and queries from IBM i data. Multiple types of charts, graphs and tables can be created as web apps in minutes without the need to write a single line of code, though programmers are free to add their own customizations to the apps once they’re built. The Valence Nitro App Builder is just one part of the Valence 3.1 framework, a set of tools for developing state-of-the-art web and mobile apps on IBM i. Designed explicitly for RPG programmers, Valence includes Sencha Ext JS and Sencha Touch components for the front-end user interface, which 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. “With the new Valence Nitro App Builder, plus dozens of example programs complete with source code, Valence delivers a straightforward way for RPG programmers to get their feet wet in Web 2.0 development without having to already be fluent JavaScript, HTML, CSS, and so on,” added Milone. “More importantly, Valence offers the IBM i community access to the same technology used on all the feature-rich web sites you see today residing on other platforms. This is an exciting time for IBM i shops to be jumping into this kind of development, because the technology has come so far so fast in recent years. It’s truly amazing what kind of apps you can develop for browsers these days, and once you get fluent in how it all works there’s practically no limit to what you can create.”

The core Valence framework remains free to all IBM i developers under terms of a “Community Developer” License. Premium features, including the Nitro tools, are activated on a per-machine basis for an unlimited number of developers under the terms of an “Enterprise” License. Beyond the Valence Nitro App Builder, other Nitro features include a browser-based file editor for viewing/editing/ downloading data in any IBM i database file, a lightweight source editor for maintaining front-end JavaScript code, and an integrated instance manager for cloning, updating and managing multiple Valence server instances. These Enterprise-level features are automatically activated on a free 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 bring Web 2.0 technology to their companies,” 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. 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 web development going forward.” As with prior releases, the Valence 3.1 framework includes a web portal for securely logging on to the IBM i, 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 iPhones and iPads are being used, the Valence Portal automatically switches the interface to a native Touch-friendly format. Valence 3.1 is the eighth major release of the Valence Framework since it was launched in May 2008.

For additional Valence 3.1 details, including videos demonstrating some of the new features, and to download the software, click here.