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All,

Thank you for your insight.

As to the questions.
1. There is not specific budget. The owner is not afraid to spend $ with the proper justification.
2. I am very experienced with RPG with some basic JS and web service. I would love to learn more!
There is a jr developer. Bringing her into learning something new as well will be good as well.
3. Like all other shops we have critical systems on both the IBM I and network side.
One of the goals is to have a dashboard displaying customer info, AR info (both on the IBM i) and the network side showing statuses of WIP.
It would also be nice to build a customer portal where they can update contacts and such.
4. Lots, of course. Thing is that we have Mapics so would need to just screen scrape those until we can build a better interface.

-----Original Message-----
From: MIDRANGE-L <midrange-l-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> On Behalf Of Duane Scott
Sent: Friday, May 27, 2022 8:56 AM
To: Midrange Systems Technical Discussion <midrange-l@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Subject: External RE: Modernization Packages

CAUTION: This email originated from outside of the organization. Do not click links or open attachments unless you recognize the sender and know the content is safe.

Jon,

The OP also stated that a screen scraper could be used during transition, so those solutions apparently COULD be what they need.

My questions to Jerry are:
1) What IS your budget?
2) What are your skills or skill level?
3) What is your long term goal?
4) How many screens are you talking about?

I've worked with both LookSoftware (Pre-Presto) and with ProfoundLogic (Genie and Atrium) and find them worthy products. But I didn't pay for them.

A "screen scraper" from any organization may be a temporary solution, but if that's all it is, then it might be money wasted in the long term unless you plan on utilizing the products that go along with it. For that point, I'm talking about LookSoftware and ProfoundLogic. I'm not too familiar with the others.

Are you planning in the long term to rewrite the screens and programs in another choice of product and get out of the RPG world? (I would consider that a bad choice, but I'm partial to the IBM i / RPG world.)

There is much that you are probably considering as part of your "modernization" that is other than just a GUI interface, and what may be a simple question such as you posed, has a LOT of other factors to consider which may spread out the high cost of whatever product you decide on. The product you choose could take considerable time and money off of the conversion by being able to do so much more than "screen scrape". Products like Looksoftware and ProfoundLogic, while they may be out of your price range for a "screenscraper", may not be for the other things they can offer as savings benefactors.

But that may also depend on the skill level of your shop.

I could say more, but I'm curious as to how much more that you know that you haven't told us.

Duane



-----Original Message-----
From: MIDRANGE-L <midrange-l-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> On Behalf Of Jon Paris
Sent: Thursday, May 26, 2022 1:29 PM
To: Midrange Systems Technical Discussion <midrange-l@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Subject: Re: Modernization Packages

The OP noted that they were not looking for "just a screen scraper" which - unless I've missed something - is what the listed solutions are. Presto supposedly offers some Open Access enabled extension but that may be just a way of introducing NewLook.

ProfoundUI, NewLook, Asna Wings, and Icebreak are the four options I know of.

CNX's Valence and Nitro App builder are nice tools that facilitate building modern interfaces while staying with RPG. Great support and reasonable pricing - good free demo too. I use Nitro for ad-hoc apps that I need in a hurry.

These days the focus is on API enabling existing code and building new front ends using node, python or php. There are a number of tools in that area including Profound, Rocket, Midrange Dynamics and Eradani to name a few.


Jon P.

On May 26, 2022, at 1:01 PM, Bobby Adams <bobby_adams@xxxxxxx> wrote:

Hi Jerry,

We just went through a process of trialing three solutions. A colleague did most of the work and I am enclosing his response below because he isn't on this list.

Regards,

Bobby

We did a trial of Genie by Profound Logic, aXes by Lansa, and Presto
by Fresche Solutions. (We ultimately went with Presto.)

Genie is normally sold as part of the very expensive Profound UI, but they will give you a quote for Genie in standalone if you ask. Genie and aXes were comparable in price, while Presto is potentially cheaper depending on the number of seats you want (only Presto is seat-based; the other two are priced by your IBM i processor); also ask Fresche about adding on individual seats if you're somewhere between the seat counts they offer. Also, you'll find Presto's annual maintenance is cheaper because they price it off a fraction of the initial purchase not counting the training package, whereas the other two base their maintenance fees on a percentage of the entire purchase (including training).

In terms of features and ease of use, Genie was the simplest and most straightforward, but I felt it was a bit too simple, and its out-of-the-box page transformations were the least impressive of the three. But it's probably the easiest to learn, and you could still do a lot in it by adding in custom CSS and JavaScript. You may also find that when Profound Logic gives you a demo of Genie, they may mention downsides of Genie to try to push you toward Profound UI, so take that as you will.

aXes seemed okay overall, but I didn't love some aspects of the editor (your mileage may vary). Their sales and support people seemed plenty helpful, but their tutorials could use some work. I had difficulty trying to get a FileMaker Pro web viewer to make use of aXes's JavaScript functions, but that probably wouldn't be a dealbreaker for most customers, and there was a workaround if I felt like putting the development time in. I also thought aXes put a bit too much emphasis on global substitutions (AutoGUI), but overall it seems like a competent product that I wouldn't discourage anyone from trying. Oh, they also had a nice spool file manager.

Presto was really the winner for us when it came to the balance of advanced features and ease of use. The out-of-the-box transformations are pleasant without any customization on your part, but you can also use their drag-and-drop Visual Editor (Windows only) for making plenty of transformations, or you can add custom JavaScript to control even more complex transformations (not necessary in many cases, but nice that it's there). And their support team has been outstanding in terms of responsiveness and helpfulness regarding troubleshooting or just brainstorming ways to do something new you're trying to implement.

The biggest downside to Presto in my opinion is their documentation,
which comes in the form of a nearly 600-page PDF (though they seemed
interested in my critiques/suggestions regarding the documentation).
The PDF has a lot of content (and some fluff), and it covers a lot of
what I was interested in learning regarding custom JavaScript add-ons,
but there are some functions that you'd only learn about digging
through Knowledge Base articles (they'll give you a
https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__MyFrescheSolutions
.com&d=DwICAg&c=euGZstcaTDllvimEN8b7jXrwqOf-v5A_CdpgnVfiiMM&r=LifWsbmX
Tz4aXbMMEwOi1aJ3sWD5nsP_QI4reJ8MbDM&m=Ch-dKcFYV6QSqn6CBO4ixM4SR74L_Hwe
WBrPYvI2p7A&s=g4likFB9YdUjuQD6yPKwC_psKwPwaiKOqpsRs4RoMUo&e=
<https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__MyFrescheSolution
s.com&d=DwICAg&c=euGZstcaTDllvimEN8b7jXrwqOf-v5A_CdpgnVfiiMM&r=LifWsbm
XTz4aXbMMEwOi1aJ3sWD5nsP_QI4reJ8MbDM&m=Ch-dKcFYV6QSqn6CBO4ixM4SR74L_Hw
eWBrPYvI2p7A&s=g4likFB9YdUjuQD6yPKwC_psKwPwaiKOqps
Rs4RoMUo&e=> account to access these during your trial), or from speaking with support. (You could also try your hand at dissecting presto.js, which comes minified but not obfuscated.) But because support is so helpful, if you tell them something you're trying to do and it involves a function you don't know about, you will definitely know all about it by the time you're done with them.

A few other points of comparison: Genie and aXes use web-based editors, while Presto's editor is a Windows-only program. Also, in both Genie and aXes, you can define separate customization projects ("skins" or "themes") and switch between them to your liking. In Presto, you'd need two different Presto installs with their own libraries and IFS folders, which makes it seem kind of cumbersome to promote between a development and production environment (we haven't tried to set this up yet). I don't love that, but we went with Presto because of its many other benefits.

Overall, I'd say try a trial of aXes and Presto and see if either one clicks with you better, and make sure to ask some questions of their support teams to see what kinds of responses you get. If you have time for a third trial or if the other two seem way too complicated, then try Genie.

There's also a much, much cheaper option called
https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__greenscreens.io&d=
DwICAg&c=euGZstcaTDllvimEN8b7jXrwqOf-v5A_CdpgnVfiiMM&r=LifWsbmXTz4aXbM
MEwOi1aJ3sWD5nsP_QI4reJ8MbDM&m=Ch-dKcFYV6QSqn6CBO4ixM4SR74L_HweWBrPYvI
2p7A&s=iKGnB1aFYWdAHh-2Q8HUrH4fIi2XC3dgISzlSBZ3G28&e=
<https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__greenscreens.io&d
=DwICAg&c=euGZstcaTDllvimEN8b7jXrwqOf-v5A_CdpgnVfiiMM&r=LifWsbmXTz4aXb
MMEwOi1aJ3sWD5nsP_QI4reJ8MbDM&m=Ch-dKcFYV6QSqn6CBO4ixM4SR74L_HweWBrPYv
I2p7A&s=iKGnB1aFYWdAHh-2Q8HUrH4fIi2XC3dgISzlSBZ3G28&e=>, but you're
going to be doing pretty much everything yourself in JavaScript with
that option. Here's a link to their API docs:
https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__www.greenscreens.
io_doc_api_&d=DwICAg&c=euGZstcaTDllvimEN8b7jXrwqOf-v5A_CdpgnVfiiMM&r=L
ifWsbmXTz4aXbMMEwOi1aJ3sWD5nsP_QI4reJ8MbDM&m=Ch-dKcFYV6QSqn6CBO4ixM4SR
74L_HweWBrPYvI2p7A&s=H-N__ZEMsuKD6-L99BVOJDuy97zF-H4BoXyKjnQGwAQ&e=



On 5/24/2022 14:08, (WalzCraft) Jerry Forss wrote:
Hi All,

I am looking for recommendations on packages we can use to modernize from Green Screen to GUI.
I am not looking for just a screen scraper although it could be used during the conversion.

We got a price from Profound and it is WAY too expensive for a 1-2 developer shop.
I know it is wonderful product but there is no way I am even going to present it to the owner, just not cost effective for 1-2 developers.

Looking for what are all the options and why you like them.
Want as little current RPG code changes as possible but will do what is needed to move forward.

Vendor opinions are welcome.





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