• Subject: RE: No 5250-based applications
  • From: "Joe Pluta" <joepluta@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 26 Apr 2001 21:50:10 -0500
  • Importance: Normal

> Yup, it's my opinion, and it's based on some experience. All users aren't
> idiots, but many are. I have one guy who's terminal & profile need to be
> reset every couple of weeks because he keeps messing up his password. He's
> been with the company, using the same terminal and application, for five
> years.

I've designed user interfaces, both green screen and GUI, for over 20
years - I spent a good chunk of that at the largest AS/400 software company
in the world.  I'm an architect, and I've seen the gamut - from users who
took the diskette out of "the little black envelope, but it sure was sealed
tight!", to users who designed their own screen-scraping front ends to
circumvent some of the weaknesses of the package.  And I sympathize for the
user who basically shouldn't be using a computer.  At the same time, I will
not code an architecture to pander to those who can't or won't learn the
requirements of their job.  For example, I won't remove security to help the
guy who forgets his password.  Instead, he will have to wait until someone
has the time to fix his password, or he'll eventually get it right.

Hardball?  No.  It's just that there's a difference between coding to try
and remove culture shock and coding to the lowest common denominator.  I
have far too many good users to penalize them because of one who refuses to

> I don't code for it because it's extremely rare. The same can
> hardly be said
> for hitting a back button.

Exactly the same can be said if you remove the back button, especially if
you Javascript around ALT-leftarrow, which I'm pretty sure you can do.  But
even if you can't, ALT-leftarrow is NOT an accidental keystroke.  Provide a
default, non-destructive action and move on.  You really need to lighten up
on this issue.

> I'm not one of those people who insist the browser won't work. I'm one of
> those people who's scratching my head, trying to figure out if the
> advantages outweigh the disadvantages.

Lemme know when you're done scratching.  I long ago decided the advantages
of a completely platform-independent interface that required absolutely no
additional workstation code and could access my systems from anywhere there
was an Internet connection FAR outweighed any personal quirks I might have
about not wanting to code around the back button.

> But all of my applications have an F12=Previous. It's easy to
> provide with a
> stateful connection. From what I've read, and I certainly could be wrong
> (I'm no HTML expert),  the only way to emulate this would be to turn off
> caching at the browser. That has disadvantages of it's own.
> If you know of a better way, please share it, or provide a URL where I can
> get a headstart on doing my own homework.

What the heck does F12=Previous have to do with any of the previous
discussions?  F12 is NOT a back button, unless you also have F13=Forward,
wherein you go to whatever panel you just came from, with all your data
filled in.  And I am absolutely positive you don't have that.

On the other hand, every one of MY revitalized applications enables every
command key of the original applications with a simple button, so in effect
I have a "Back" button (or more correctly, a "Previous" button), if the
original application had a "Previous" command key.

Caching at the browser?  Stateful connections?  Huh?  At one client, I am
currently using the browser as a complete green-screen replacement - it
supports subfiles and field attributes, just like on your 5250 screen.  At
another client, I am using a completely stateless interface to transaction
servers, but again taking advantage of HTML to emulate attributes such as
field protection and error notification.

The browser can be used for either stateful or stateless connections - it
just requires a good UI architecture.  Not only that, with my architecture,
I can just as easily replace the browser with a Swing thick client to
provide a more "solid" integrated feel, as opposed to the browser.  And in
THAT environment, I don't have to worry about somebody hitting


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