We needed to migrate an old PC application to the iSeries and required a modern web front-end for it. Having seen some examples of what Valence can do, we selected it and engaged CNX to develop our app since we have no Ext JS expertise in-house. Having the backend code in RPG/LE allows our IT team to manage the core business logic.
The development team was very knowledgeable and easy to collaborate with. We were very impressed with how quickly they could develop apps using Valence.
The other big advantage to Valence for us is the Nitro Query. It allows us to develop full featured apps without any coding. As long as you know the schema, you can create apps. Nitro Query has been getting more powerful with every release.
We have created not only dashboards but also stand-alone apps to manage other business needs. We found by giving users Nitro Query apps to explore their data using all the available filtering options, they do their analysis and export the results reducing the need for IT to create new reports.
The guidance and support we received from CNX went beyond my expectations. It is rare to work with someone who quickly understands your needs as well as their product. We estimate the ROI for the pilot project was realized within the first 6 months of use.
As an RPG programmer, I am amazed how quickly I can develop a browser application with little or no programming. Since the pilot project, we have developed many other applications using Nitro AutoCode and more recently Nitro Query. I simply cannot say enough good things about Valence or the professionals at CNX.
I’ve been a developer on the IBM i5 platform since 1988, back when it was the AS400. Every since the days of GUI interfaces, I’ve explored many different technologies to create applications using the i5 as the database and the browser as the client. All were flawed in some respect, from poor performance to lack of programming control to overly expensive. Nothing truly complemented what the i5 does best with way of creating the client interface like Valence. The combination of the i5 based APIs created by CNX talking to Sencha Extjs over the i5’s integrated Apache server is unparalleled in it’s approach. It performs incredibly and allows such detailed control when creating the user interfaces in Extjs. Unlike many other approaches (yes Java, I’m talking to you) the productivity when creating code is amazing, especially once you get some applications written to use as a template for the next one. I don’t even use Sencha Architect, prefer writing the applications by hand.
When you combine that with CNX’s incredible portal, which handles all the session control security you will ever need, with their tools like Nitro Query, this approach has no weaknesses whatsoever. I’m currently on multi year project to replace our 5250 custom ERP system with a Valence based version running entirely in browser. When I’m done my company will have an i5 based ERP with a modern interface with absolutely no licensing cost. And no lost sleep if my system is going to be hacked or ransomed, why we all use IBM i5 in the first place.
I’ve also used Valence to write an iPad based warehouse inventory application using bar code scanning. Their portal runs on both Apple and Android for mobile Touch applications. I had never that type of application before. Their support guys were terrific helping me get up to speed on that type development. I’ve also used their Nitro Query tool to create an application using Google Maps to plot all of our customers all around the world, complete with a filter to choose which region you’d like to narrow in on. And it literally took minutes to do. Nitro Query has tremendous potential. Historically, I’ve used ODBC and Excel to open up data to my users for certain types of reporting. But ODBC opens up a another security vector you have to manage. Nitro Query has the potential to replace that type of application model. Especially in their new Valence 5.1 version, Nitro Query can now call an i5 program to run before it collects the data for presentation, something you really could not do with Excel unless you used Stored Procedures. With Nitro Query, you can call a RPG program to refresh a work file before it retrieves the data for presentation, giving you a real time application.
CNX has certainly delivered when it comes to enabling RPG developers to build modern web-based applications. Our users have no idea that the fresh-looking Valence portal and the many powerful apps within are actually running entirely on an IBM i.
As good as those Valence tools are for our developers the real game changer for one of our larger clients has been Nitro Query App Builder. Now, not only can we build modern apps but we can build them fast !
Nitro Query App Builder falls under that very rare “best of both worlds” software category. You can build an app very quickly and easily but when the times comes to add some complex business rules you can do that too because CNX have provided places to “plug-in” some RPG code.
A recent example was a project to build a new electronic product catalog for use both by employees and customers. The catalog itself was built with Valence using Ext JS 6 so that it looks great but to maintain the underlying database we used Nitro Query App Builder reducing the development time by half compared to having to write the Ext JS code and … you can mix and match !
The “app” was actually a combination of Nitro Query App Builder maintaining multiple grids, click events to external apps to trigger workflows and launch web pages to validate URLs and all tied together seamlessly for the user, just a click away. Those clicks could also have been launching charts, maps or pivot grids.
It is a narrow path that CNX have managed to tread successfully. Keep the user interface simple enough to ensure you can build new apps quickly but also provide the ability to add sophistication.
Nitro Query App Builder has developed to the stage now of being our “go to” tool for most requests we receive from the business. For some requests we don’t even need to wait for a developer to become available because anyone with a good understanding of the database can build an app with Nitro Query App Builder.
Well done to CNX for helping keep the IBM i alive and relevant today and in to the future.
Our company needed to implement a Business to Business solution for enabling our customers to order directly through our back end ERP application in a simple to use, web portal. With limited time to implement and inconvenient timing on all fronts, the core application was built as a joint effort at the CNX offices over a three week period and went live a month later. This would not have been possible without the deep knowledge, commitment and willingness to meet challenges by the dedicated staff at CNX. The input provided by the talented staff at CNX and the excellent functionality of the EXT JS framework were invaluable in making a complicated process appear simple and intuitive to the end users, a requirement absolutely critical to the success of the solution. I would thoroughly recommend CNX for the development of EXT JS based solutions.
In 2014 Frontier started the process of modernizing our user GUI from a green screen application into a modern HTML 5 application. After analyzing multiple options we decided that the best company and application framework for that effort was CNX’s Valence framework, which included ExtJs and a program to facilitate creating JSON API’s that ExtJs could consume. Working with CNX during the proof of concept was leaps and bounds better than working with any other vendor I’ve had the opportunity to work with.
The resources they make available to learn and use ExtJs, such as videos, documentation and developers, were second to none and they even took the time to help with any questions and improve the POC application. Whenever I had questions they were always just a phone call away and that was even before we had purchased the framework. After the proof of concept Frontier decided to contract CNX to help create several applications over our back office systems. Working on these applications with CNX has been amazing. Their development staff are rare gems that have nothing but their customers best interests in mind. The speed at which they accomplish tasks is way beyond expectations. They are so skilled and efficient that we often find that the Frontier resources fall behind the CNX staff. If anyone is looking for ExtJs expertise I would highly recommend CNX and their team of amazing staff.
TransWorks hired CNX in October 2014 and we have been very pleased with our experience – CNX has been extremely professional and easy to work with, and has really helped to elevate the UX design at our company. If it weren’t for their abilities, we would not be where we are today in delivering a superior UX to our customer base. I would recommend CNX to any company looking for a great partner in UX design and development!
We contracted CNX to develop a kanban dashboard app to visually track kanban signals and replenishments both intra and interplant. The project was a huge success and has since been rolled out to several of our plants. Users continually comment on the timesaving this allows. It is one of the most useful modules we have implemented to enhance our manufacturing performance and inventory goals. CNX’s innovation and understanding of our needs was a major contributor to it’s success.
The CNX development team consistently demonstrates an ability to provide the highest quality of service. Their knowledge of ExtJS and expertise in web design and development has played an integral role in modernization of our member centric systems. The ExtJS framework is incredibly robust with new features appearing on a regular basis. Their ability to stay current with new ExtJS innovations is an asset any development shop will appreciate!! Placing the presentation layer in the hands of our ExtJS experts at CNX while we remain focused on core component innovations has proven to be a winning combination for Symmetrical Solutions and its clients.
The CNX team assisted us in launching our pilot project for redeveloping a major application utilizing the Ext JS framework. Their knowledge and expertise was a key factor in getting the overall project established with a strong design and foundation. We anticipate putting our pilot project into production within the next several weeks. It will be on time and on budget. This would not have been possible without their excellent work.