• Subject: Re: Newbie question
  • From: "Jason M. Felice" <jasonf@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 29 Sep 1999 11:35:16 -0400

On Wed, Sep 29, 1999 at 10:07:43AM -0400, Eric Strovink wrote:
> Although 5250 emulation for Linux is certainly interesting/useful, has anyone 
> this list investigated building a web client?  

I've got a little bit of an html-to-5250 gateway hacked, basically just to see
what it would take.  This is not in Java, but a CGI program based around the
5250 emulation library that we've built.

I did enough to realize that 1) I don't know enough about HTML to make things
formatted correctly 2) it is certainly feasible with our library, although
will require a little bit of a hack job.

I think this would be cool, but the old caveat applies (for me anyway): too
much code, too little time.

> There is a commercial product that
> attempts to do so, but it tries to use HTML 3.0, runs into browser
> incompatibilities, and therefore has a list of caveats about 10 miles long.  
> pretty far from perfect emulation, except for vanilla stuff.  Not that this is
> surprising, given how sucky browsers are in general, and how weak HTML is.  
> actually surprised they got as far as they did.

It is rather limited, and targeting multiple browsers is a pain.

> I wonder if there isn't an opportunity to build a Java client that would 
> the reach of this project to any Java-enabled browser, and would enable us to
> reach both the Linux and Windoze platforms.  Isn't it true that with Java we
> would have enough screen control to handle this?  I'm imagining, for example,
> floating function-key bars and so on that would eliminate the keyboard-mapping
> issues.  I guess I'm energized by the recent release of some decent Java tools
> for Linux.

Java is finally getting workable on Linux, and I hope that brings some fun.
With regards to the emulator, however, a Java client would be a complete
rewrite, and a separate project.  I also think there are still just as
many Java-browser compatibility issues as there are HTML-browser
compatibility issues .. a little while back I wrote a Java-based calendar
applet for a friend's business and had to modify it to work under IE, then
under IE3, then under IE3.02, then under Netscape 3.1, then under netscape
3.0... etc., what a pain.  Then I got an email from some guy saying the
calendar applet doesn't run under Netscape 3.1 on Solaris on a Sparc.  I
replied saying I'd be willing to fix the problem if he could send me a 
Sparc ;)

As for Windows client, GTK+ (the widget set used by Gnome) has been ported
to Windows, and I plan to make a plain GTK+ interface (not everybody has
Gnome).  Which would mean that, as opposed to prior attempts at a Windows
port, we'd be running identical code on both platforms.

As for floating function-key bars and so on, I'd forgotten about them (the
x3270 has them, too) ... I think we should put them in the Gnome/GTK+

> Thanks for your attention.

Thanks for your input!

-Jay 'Eraserhead' Felice
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