I do understand that browser-based applications can be a lot more powerful
than 5250, and that the browser does scale down in simplicity where fat
clients couldn't.  In testing iterations of Lawson's web presentation I had
the creeping feeling that the browser was going to be the source of a lot of
application problems.  I'm not sure how much of the difficulty was inherent
in Lawson's design or standards, but at least some of it pertains to what
Ken and others have mentioned.

A browser is an application.  It has it's own pull-downs, buttons and
functions.  I know that some of it can be pruned through HTML, customizing
the browser window to the application.  Lawson, however, had some issues
with function keys.  The 5250 sessions and their custom GUI client had full
control over which keys were used for which functions.  I wonder how much of
the problem has to do with finding key sequences that are available in both
Netscape and IE.  Since the browser reserves keystrokes for its own browser
functions Lawson had to remap some keys, and it got somewhat annoying.  Many
two-key actions (<shift><F4>) became three-key actions (<alt><shift><V>) (or
something like that).  Some of it is learning curve, but some if it is going
to slow down the average user and reduce the chance that he or she will
remember useful keyboard shortcuts.

Do you think that someday Microsquash will come out with an IE version that
hoses up everyone's web application standards?

Data entry is hampered because every Add function requires the mouse -- to
hit the Add button.  There must be a way to handle it, even within Lawson's
methodology.  Still, I've never personally met a web interface that worked
well with the keyboard.  Is anyone working with a web app for heavy duty,
speed and accuracy motivated data entry users?

Maybe the browser itself is part of the problem, and we need a thin browser
that is more purposefully designed for running applications.  MSIE is
designed to provide a wide range of user functions -- font sizing, window
sizing, favorites, back and forward buttons.  Some of these things can
introduce complications in your applications that are as bad as the
hyperspace key in Asteroids.  But then again, I hated it when the users got
to configure their own colors, and save passwords in keyboard macros on the
first PC terminal emulators.

I'm making a lot of this up as I go along.  What am I missing?

-Jim

-----Original Message-----
From: Sims, Ken [mailto:KSIMS@SOUTHERNWINE.com]
Sent: Thursday, April 26, 2001 2:16 PM
To: MIDRANGE-L@midrange.com
Subject: Re: No 5250-based applications


Hi James -

>1) stopping the user from pressing the browser 'back' button.
>
>I'm no HTML guru, but I have written a couple of pages and know that you
>could spawn a window for the 5250 like panel that does not contain the
>'back' button.
>
>From what I observe about the browser I use, when it first is fired up
>the 'back' button is disabled.  Whatever page you first display is the
>only main page ever processed.  All functions would happen in a window.
>
>I know it's not a perfect solution, but it's the only one that I have
>been able to come up with.

The problem with your method is that even if the back button is not
displayed, in both IE and Netscape you can use Alt and the left-arrow key to
do the back function.  On every page after the first, Alt-left-arrow could
be used to back up to the previous page.  You would have to close the
current window and open a new window for each page to keep the back function
disabled.

Ken
Southern Wine and Spirits of Nevada, Inc.
Opinions expressed are my own and do not necessarily represent the views of
my employer or anyone in their right mind.

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