• Subject: What can be done to enhance the green screen applications?
  • From: boothm@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 25 Oct 1999 01:23:04 -0400

Too many times I hear and see RPG programmers talking about efficiency, speed, and effectivness but Windows and GUI is teaching us that we are using the wrong values for today's users and managers.   People may talk about stability and speed but when it's time to spend  company's money they go for glamour and looks.  

I have no desire to compromise integrity but it has crossed my mind that today's  AS/400 has capacities we haven't really explored.  What got me thinking about it is a project where we offered dropdown boxes with valid entries instead of flashing error messages.  It seems a lot friendlier and is certainly faster, especially when the user need only to mouse click, or move his cursor to the line and press enter to fill in a blank or incorrect field.

Then a few posts ago a person asked about something besides  "*More" and I mentioned a scroll bar.  When I mention "scroll bar" most programmers just sort of ignore the comment as if I am losing my marbles but when they see the scroll bar on a green screen they usually giggle.  I consider giggling to be a good thing.

In any event, my whole point is... what is available now that wasn't a few years ago that we can use dependably to bring green screens out of the 1970s?   Can we have attractive windows?  Yes.  Can we use colors? Yes.  Scroll bars and pushbuttons? Yes.  Subsecond response times? Yes.  Subfiles that load fast and page rapidly with search capacitys? Yes.   Why don't we talk about these features and how to make green screen look like a viable text-based system instead of a decrepit old-fashioned system?  

 I'd like to see, for example, the ability on a system to shut off column indicators so we can have more than 3 lousy colors.  I'd like to see a timer part so we can set time-outs, etc. on green screen sign ons with out jumping through hoops.  I'd like to be able to open another session under program control and communicate to and from the sub-session.  I'd like color themes for green-screen sessions.

What else could we reasonably expect for an attractive green screen environment?  What ideas and conclusions have we reached and accept as Great Truths, but are in fact no longer valid because of new ideas and new hardware?

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