How time flies! We're well into September now, which means we're just over a month away from the next major release of Valence, version 4.2. While there are a number of goodies being incorporated into this newest release, the biggest items for Valence 4.2 are:
- PHP support
- JSON-based web service functionality
- A new solution for running 5250 programs in the Valence Portal
Here's a quick breakdown of the details behind these features...
PHP Back End Support
Of all the feature requests we receive at CNX for the Valence Framework, support for additional back-end language options (beyond RPG) ranks among the top. So we're happy to announce that effective with this 4.2 release Valence will begin supporting alternative server-side languages to work with the framework, with PHP being the first in what we expect to be a number of different language technologies.
The integration of PHP with Valence will make it possible for newbies to learn by some very practical examples, as Valence 4.2 will include several PHP-based demonstration apps. So, much as developers have used the Valence example apps to learn how to create RPG-based programs serving data to web pages, the new PHP-based example apps serve as practical examples of achieving the same end with PHP. Moreover, PHP programs running within the Valence Portal leverage special Valence procedures that make database connectivity much more intuitive for developers coming from the RPG world, with support for concepts such as library lists automatically integrated with the Valence PHP-based APIs.
Support for JSON-Based Web Services
An "eXciting" New Solution to handle 5250 Programs
While the Valence Framework provides developers with fantastic tools and functionality for creating new IBM i-based web and mobile apps from scratch, to date we've never had a solution for legacy shops faced with converting hundreds or thousands of 5250 programs to work in the browser. Of course, using IBM i Access for Web within the Valence Portal has been an option since Valence 4.0 was released, but browser-based emulators are generally not as appealing as native emulators, and of course users still must contend with 5250-specific nuances. In discussions with Valence customers -- both current and prospective -- it has become clear that a better tool was needed to facilitate companies supporting a sizable portfolio of green screen programs who need an elegant way to simultaneously support new Valence apps alongside their legacy 5250 programs, at least until those programs can be redesigned to be true web applications. Accordingly, CNX has teamed up with Ravensburg, Germany-based PKS Software GmbH to offer an exciting new option for legacy IBM i shops to retrofit their green screen programs to work within the Valence Portal. The eXcite suite works by inspecting existing display file DDS and RPG source for each 5250 program, and then creating new compiled objects that are designed to work in a batch environment with the browser. No manual code changes are required, and you can continue to make changes to the green screen programs as needed. This eXcite integration with Valence finally provides developers a convenient stepping-stone solution for quickly retrofitting their vast collections of legacy 5250 programs to work in the browser through the Valence Portal. The resulting apps can be easily adjusted to look and behave more like conventional web apps and less like the original green screens. The CNX and PKS development teams have been working together to integrate Valence and eXcite together, sharing the same security model to provide a seamless solution for IBM i users. The eXcite package, sold separately by PKS, will be available for free 90 trial to all Valence installations.
We hope you find these new additions to the Valence Framework useful. Other planned features for Valence 4.2 include:
- The latest stable builds of Ext JS 5 and Sencha Touch 2, along with support for Ext JS 6
- An upgrade to the vvOut spreadsheet options, allowing your Valence programs to output Excel spreadsheets conforming to the latest .XLSX standards.
- Minor improvements to the Nitro Enterprise apps
Valence 4.2 is tentatively scheduled to be available for download on Oct. 20, 2015.
Get a Valence 4.2 preview in person!