> Can you tell me what a BDE is?

German for "Betriebsdatenerfassung". That means data aquisition terminals.

They might be portable PDA like devices or built in into machines to count 
or measure things in the production hall.

> If you modified TN5250 to do this, you'd have an application that would
> only work with a customized version of one emulator. That would both
> prevent you from updating TN5250 to get bug fixes, and from ever
> switching to a different emulator.

Except the modifications are well made.

For example, there could be a configuration file where you define how the 
AS/400 data entry screen looks like and which external program to call to 
get the data. Then you could automatically add things to screens, 
something like this:

AS/400  Mumpf Data Entry System

Count  ___
Item   _______________________________
Ok?    _

print "42"
print "Mumpf item"
print "Y"

In this case, whenever the screen looks like defined, then the external 
program would be called. The output of this program would, line by line, 
entered into the fields and the screen would be sent.

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