> From: Howald, Glenn
>
> Is there a relatively easy way to make the lines of a subfile into
> pushbuttons using Webfacing?
> I was hoping for a magic bullet, but in my opinion, this tool is not it.

Unfortunately, there's no "easy" way to move 5250 applications to a web-like
appearance.  It takes work.  A lot of it depends on two things:

1. How much your applications rely on 5250 capabilities
2. How consistent your applications are

The first one is important because it determines how well your applications
will map to the new UI.  For example, CLRL(*NO) tends to not map very well,
because it relies very much on 24x80 fixed font placement.  Overlaying
fields using indicators is another example of a very 5250-centric concept.
There are other issues like this, but you get the idea.

Second, the more consistent your applications are the better chance you have
of creating common routines that you can apply during the conversion
process.  For example, if you regularly use a field named "OPTION" on a
subfile line and entering an "X" in that field and pressing ENTER selects
that line, you may be able to create a simple JavaScript function that you
can include in all your programs.

function SelectLine(line)
{
  elem = document.getElementByName('OPTION' + line);
  elem.value = 'X';
  f0.click();
}

Now, this assumes a lot of things.  But if you had it set up this way, let's
see what we would do in a typical generated JSP.  A *GOOD* JSP would set up
a table something like this:

<table>
<% while (proxy.next()) { %>

<td><%= proxy.getFormattedField("OPTION") %></td>
<td><%= proxy.getFormattedField("DESC") %></td>

<% } %>

You should be able to change this to something like this:

<td><INPUT type=button value='<%= proxy.getString("DESC") %>'
onclick='SelectLine(<%= proxy.getLineNumber() %>);'></td>


This creates a button whose text is the contents of the field "DESC", which
when pressed puts the value "X" into the field "OPTION" and presses the
Enter key.  It is crucial that your JSP be simple and editable.  But if it
is, you can make these kinds of changes.

You can change input fields to dropdowns, use rollovers instead of buttons,
anything your HTML designers can come up with.  Their job is simply to load
the buffer with data based on user input.

The final piece to the puzzle is automating something like this so that A)
it's relatively easy to accomplish the first time and B) once you do it, the
changes are persistent when you make minor modifications to the screen.

PSC/400 (http://www.plutabrothers.com/p1.html) does a lot of this already.
We generate very easy to modify JSPs, and only one JSP per display file.
You can easily add the features I showed above manually, and we're currently
working on the automation part.

You get what you pay for.  PSC/400 is not cheap, but the amount of time and
money it will save you in the long run (especially since our converted
programs run in batch) will more than pay for the cost of the tool.


Joe Pluta



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