MINNEAPOLIS, MN. CNX announced today at COMMON the first Beta release for version 3.0 of the Valence Web Application Framework for IBM i. This release includes numerous browser component enhancements and adds mobile device support to the Valence package, further empowering IBM i programmers to create true “Web 2.0” style applications for just about any computing device, all served through standard ILE RPG. “We’re excited to give the Valence community a sneak peak to the upcoming Valence 3.0 features through this first Beta release,” said Richard Milone, CNX Chief Technical Officer. “With native support for mobile devices, Valence 3.0 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 JavaScript components from Sencha on the front!end that communicate directly with RPG programs on the back-end. 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.

As with prior releases, the Valence 3.0 framework includes a user-friendly 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. “Seasoned Valence developers who have been anxiously awaiting the latest release of Ext JS 4 will be pleased to see it has already been incorporated into this Beta,” said Milone, noting that Ext JS 4.0.0 was formally released by Sencha on April 26. For backward compatibility, Valence 3.0 still includes the Ext JS 3 libraries. This means Valence 2.2 applications can be migrated into Valence 3.0 and function in the new portal without requiring modifications to the code. This Beta version of Valence 3.0, a preview to the seventh major release of the 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 (Ext JS 4.0.0) 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 now configure the Portal to use a drop-down menu in lieu of the standard navigation tree to launch options; Users can now switch between environments without having to log out. Administrative options 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
  • 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.

This is the first of several planned Beta releases for Valence 3.0. As such, some elements of the release – including documentation and multilingual literal translations – may not yet be complete. CNX expects the final release of Valence 3.0 to be available by June 2011.

See additional details on Valence 3.0 or download the latest Beta.