Why Valence?

As an IBM i developer looking to start building IBM i-based web and mobile apps for your users, there are many possible paths to take. But which direction is best for you and your company?

On your quest to deliver applications with a modern GUI, you could simply “screen scrape” your way there, retaining those tried-and-true green screen underpinnings with a browser overlay. Results tend to be clunky, but it’s relatively quick and easy.

Or you could take the CGIDEV2 API approach and hammer your way through an “old school” method for serving up web pages loaded with lots of HTML from the back-end.

Or you could pick one of many third party solutions that let you “wizard” your way to building an IBM i-based web or mobile app.

These are all indeed options (in fact, we’ve tried them ourselves). But at CNX we advocate taking a more platform-agnostic, conventional approach for web and mobile app development: Learn the inner workings of JavaScript and the modern browser. Learn how to create true Web 2.0-style asynchronous apps in a platform-agnostic fashion. Learn how to use components that are applied in world-class apps throughout the Internet. Learn Valence!

The Valence Framework brings to the IBM i platform the same modern development principles used to create millions of web and mobile apps around the world. It provides tools to elegantly pair the robust business logic of RPG with top-of-the-line JavaScript frameworks from Sencha, resulting in applications that will impress your users beyond compare. Your green screen users may never believe these new apps are actually running on your good ol’ IBM i! And in the process of developing these phenomenal apps, you will have learned skills that vastly increase your personal worth in the IT market.

So to break it all down, here are the top five reasons why Valence is your best solution for developing web and mobile apps on IBM i:

  1. State-of-the-art HTML5-based user interface

    Valence uses the robust Ext JS framework for desktop web apps and the Sencha Touch framework for mobile apps. These tools give Valence apps a state-of-the-art, “rich” user interface, on par with the very best websites you can find on the Internet. When users see Valence apps running in their browsers they quickly come to love the modern look and feel. The rich interface isn’t just for show either. The ability to dynamically sort columns, drag and drop elements, perform advanced search, show charts and graphs, etc., are highly useful and intuitive functions for your users. And as web technology continues to advance, these types of features are coming to be expected in any competitive company’s internal and external websites.

  2. Valence uses a true “Web 2.0” architecture

    Many of our competitor systems encourage IBM i developers to create web pages built over a 5250 data stream, or take a conceptually similar direction using RPG OA. Does this approach represent a modern architecture for web development? At CNX we answer that question with an emphatic “No!” With Valence you apply a modern Web 2.0 paradigm that operates on the same underlying design structure as top applications from Google, Facebook, Salesforce.com, etc. Advanced web applications like these use an asynchronous structure, calling the backend programs (in our case RPG) in chunks only when necessary, thereby optimizing application performance for the users. With Valence, multiple RPG programs can be running at once for the same user session, all performing simultaneous actions.

  3. You can still program your business logic in RPG—there is no Voodoo!

    Everything with Valence is understandable and in your control, and layers are minimized. When you’re running a Valence app in your browser, that app is communicating with your RPG programs directly through the built-in Apache server on IBM i. There are no external servers and no “emulation” layers. It’s just the browser with an advanced interface talking with RPG. Forget about the Voodoo—it doesn’t get more native than this! Some competitor products generate “junk” RPG output that you can’t maintain. With Valence you can utilize tools that generate clean, readable RPG output, or you can simply write it yourself. In either case you still have full access and control of all the code behind your programs.

  4. Valence knowledge is a tremendous value in the IT marketplace

    So when you’ve learned a competitor product that is proprietary to the IBM i, how much value has that gained you on your resume? In our opinion not much. But put JavaScript development using Ext JS and Sencha Touch on your resume and the value proposition is a whole different story. Experience with the user interface side of Valence is directly transferable to other platforms, and demand for such skills is huge. There is no wasted knowledge on proprietary design environments. Simply put, learning Valence sets you up for a career with much more security and many more opportunities for advancement.

  5. Valence is the best value for web frameworks on IBM i

    Valence comes with everything you need to develop elegant and highly functional web and mobile apps, including:

    • Valence RPG Toolkit
    • Ext JS
    • Sencha Touch
    • Desktop Portal
    • Touch Portal
    • RPG-Centric Examples
    • Nitro Tools and Utilities (Enterprise only)

    Valence is completely IBM i-centric, and includes browser-based functionality that covers all the unique IBM i features we take for granted in green screen apps, including a mechanism for logging in, a menuing system for apps, library list control, authentication, security and much more.

    Also adding to the value of Valence is its unique licensing mechanism. Use the community edition for free to experiment and trial the functionality for as long as you like (with up to 5 concurrent users). When you are ready to deploy a production app, you can buy a license for unlimited usage. The pricing is very straightforward and listed right on our website – one simple price no matter how powerful your machine. There are no hidden costs or complex licensing schemes designed to extract the most from each customer.

Finally, to get your web and mobile initiatives rolling quickly with Valence, CNX offers IBM i-centric training for RPG programmers and a staff of seasoned developers providing custom app development on an hourly basis. Let us help you get started with creating the very best apps you and your users can dream up!

Valence. Envision it. Build it.