Chicago, IL. CNX announces today the general availability of version 2.1 of the Valence Web Application Framework for System i. This release adds new functionality and programming APIs to the Valence package, further empowering System i programmers to create true "Web 2.0" style browser applications served through standard ILE RPG. "This is our most sweeping Valence announcement yet," said Richard Milone, CNX Chief Technical Officer. "Most of the enhancements for this release came directly as a result of customer suggestions and requests, running the gamut from the handling of double­‐byte character sets to the way we license the software."

Designed from the ground-up explicitly for RPG programmers, Valence employs ExtJS JavaScript components on the front‐end and communicates directly with RPG business logic on the back-­end. Valence runs entirely on the System 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 2.1 framework includes a user-friendly web portal to control System i library lists and security for all programs, as well as an intuitive navigation tree from which users can launch authorized browser applications. Existing green screen programs can be re-engineered with Valence one program at a time to work in this Web 2.0 paradigm, each application added to the appropriate user navigation tree(s) when ready. This approach offers System i programmers a path for gradually moving their critical business applications into the Web 2.0 world, providing a vastly superior browser interface for end users when compared to 5250 "screen-scraping" alternatives. This latest version of Valence, the fifth major release since the product was launched in May 2008, includes the following new features and enhancements:

  • Full international character set support – Valence now works in Unicode and can support multiple languages in the same instance, or even in the same field! The Valence portal come pre-supplied with translations in English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, Russian and Japanese. Additional languages can be added.
  • Expanded AutoCode functionality – Introduced in Valence 2.0, this widely popular development tool that automatically writes front-end and back-end source code now includes full add/edit/delete functionality. Developers can now create basic master file maintenance programs in a matter of seconds, then enhance the highly readable code to suit their needs.
  • New back-end RPG functions – New Valence procedures allow programmers to plug multiple browser fields straight into an RPG data structure or array, route the results of an SQL statement straight into an Excel-style spreadsheet, work with graphic-type fields and much more.
  • Improved back-end performance – Reengineered back-end JSON formatting procedures mean even speedier response times to the front-end for this release.
  • Robust error and exception management – Valence now logs all back-end RPG program errors and exceptions in a special incident file, providing programmers valuable information for their development and debugging efforts. Valence can also be configured to send out emails when specific back-end error conditions are encountered.
  • Valence Portal improvements – New features include an application for maintaining server instance settings (formerly stored as environment variables), exit program support to coincide with users logging in/logging out/launching applications, translations maintenance and added filtering capabilities in the administration programs.
  • Updated front-end ExtJS framework – Advanced from v3.0.0 to v3.1.1, adding numerous front-end component features and performance improvements to the Valence 2.1 package.

In addition to all the new features, Valence 2.1 introduces a completely new developer-centric licensing model, replacing the "one size fits all" approach for prior releases. There are now three levels of licensing available for Valence:

  • Valence Community Developer License — This license is no-cost, and includes the full source code for the base release. Developers are free to download the software and experiment in a test or trial mode without restriction. Under a "quid pro quo" rule, the source code for any applications developed and deployed to production under this free license must be shared with the Valence "community" (meaning the source must be submitted to the Valence forum). In providing this license option, CNX is no longer limiting Valence trial periods to 90 days – in essence, the Community Developer License can serve as an unlimited trial option for anyone that wants to experiment with Valence Web 2.0 development on their own System i.
  • Valence Professional Developer License — This license is charged on a straight per-developer basis at a rate of $595, with multi-developer discounts available. This license does not include support from CNX, but support packs can be purchased separately for developers that want them. Valence applications developed under this license can remain private (no need to submit the source to the Valence forum), but they cannot be made part of a commercial software package or hosting service. This license is most appropriate for developers within companies that are creating software for their own users and don't want to be required to publish their source.
  • Valence OEM Developer License — This license includes the same terms as the Professional Developer License, with an added allowance for using the Valence framework in commercial software applications for resale or as part of a hosted software solution. This license is negotiated at the company-level and not by individual developer, such that any number of developers could be covered under one license.

"With the introduction of the free Community Developer License, we've made it super easy for RPGers to take the Valence Web 2.0 design methodology for a thorough, unrestricted test drive on their system i," said Milone, adding, "Once users see the powerful and intuitive browser apps their development staff can produce so quickly with Valence, it tends to open doors to all sorts of new IT initiatives for their companies. It's a great way to show off the true scalability and performance of their RPG-based systems." For additional Valence release 2.1 details and to download the software, please visit www.cnxcorp.com/valence.

To see demonstration videos and download a free trial of Valence, visit www.cnxcorp.com/valence.
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