>       "I believe that HTML, etc. will offer a better user
interface than 5250 in the long term."

I'm torn between whether a web-based user interface is a worthwhile goal for
all applications.  Client-server was initially developed to serve business
needs that a terminal could not address.  If an application needed the
ability to distribute and process data on the client, or a graphic
presentation that was beyond the 80x25 characters of the terminal it could
be a big win to develop a client-server application.  Pointy-haired managers
then dumbed it down to all applications.  Data entry and flat inquiry
screens were converted to PC client apps.  Developers put effort into
replacing functions that could not reap the benefits of client-server
architecture.  Complexity was introduced to simple applications without any
true improvement to justify the effort and additional infrastructure.

I like to say that web-based applications are an apology for client-server.
Part of the mess of client-server was the fat client presence on dozens of
PC's.  The web centralizes the presentation software again.  Web apps
support much  of the business needs and benefits of client-server, plus a
few big benefits exclusive to the web.  But for simple inquiries, text-based
business functions, or data entry programs the browser doesn't provide any
benefit over the terminal presentation.  It's really just a different type
of terminal.

There are some who said that client-server was the way and the light and
that folks who left their apps on the green screen were going to be left
behind.  Year later client-server apps are being gutted and rebuilt for the
web, as are those green screen apps that were "left behind."  Do you think
that technology has reached a degree of maturity that will allow web apps to
EVOLVE into something better over the next few years?  Or are green screen
apps, lingering client-server apps, and web apps going to be trashed the
next time the technology shifts.

>       "The challenge is in getting there."

The challenge is getting there before something better takes its place.


I'm holding out for the empathic user interface myself...



-----Original Message-----
From: Nathan M. Andelin [mailto:nathanma@haaga.com]
Sent: Wednesday, April 25, 2001 5:44 PM
To: MIDRANGE-L@midrange.com
Subject: Re: No 5250-based applications


While I somewhat agree with James and Scott (see their comments below), I
believe it's possible to reach a point where a reliable and full-featured
Web application can be deployed under OS/400 in the same amount of time as a
5250 application.  Actually, this has been a personal goal of mine.

When I reach that point, I want the HTML user interface to offer performance
and productivity comparable to it's 5250 counterpart.  I think that's
possible, but depends partly on IBM.  It takes more CPU, memory, and
bandwidth to generate an HTML data stream.

This may be the heart of the Interactive vs. Batch debate.  If I develop a
Web application that offers functionality comparable to it's 5250
counterpart, but requires hardware that's 20 times more expensive to support
the same number of users, then people will stick with the 5250 application.

Or will they?  Developers and end-users may simply migrate to hardware that
offers better price vs. performance for Web applications.  How many iSeries
shops that have favored Windows over OS/400 for Web development?  Would that
explain the reliability concerns and higher development cost?

If IBM drops the price of iSeries hardware to better support OS/400 based
Web applications, is IBM abandoning its traditional customer base?  In my
case, the answer is no!  I believe that HTML, etc. will offer a better user
interface than 5250 in the long term.  In my opinion, it's not just for
e-business.

The challenge is in getting there.

Nathan.


> From: "James W. Kilgore" <eMail@James-W-Kilgore.com>
>

> We have a small number of clients (45) and we are a small company.  We
> write what we can afford to write (5250) and our clients (also small
> $1M->$3M/mo) use it.
>
> Why? It's the lowest cost to produce and the lowest cost to purchase and
> IT WORKS!

> Date: Tue, 24 Apr 2001 01:52:23 -0500 (CDT)
> From: Scott Klement <klemscot@klements.com>
> Subject: Re: No 5250-based applications
>

> It's also a whole lot quicker and cheaper to develop a 5250 app.  And
> they tend to be significantly more stable.  (Especially if the 5250 is
> running on a terminal and not a MS-Windows-hunk-of-garbage-PC)
>
> Running 5250 saves us tens of thousands of dollars each year -- and we're
> a small company.
>


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