Visual LANSA Framework
The Visual LANSA Framework minimizes the effort required for designers and developers to create graphical and robust Windows and Web applications or a combination of both.
The application framework allows developers to assemble commercial grade software rapidly with minimal coding, generating high quality Windows and Web applications with a consistent appearance and behavior. The application and user interface design are prototyped at the same time and use the same design for both Windows and Web. The learning curve is extremely short, productivity is high and the applications are world class – it’s like having an experienced mentor sitting next to your developers.
Why use an application framework?
The Visual LANSA Framework architecture provides a proven best practice model for commercial applications and answers the question, “What’s the way to design and build Windows and Web applications with LANSA?”. Developers build applications by adding components to the framework and are productive because they do not need to construct the whole application from the ground up.
The application framework uses a familiar “work-with” or MVC paradigm to define applications and is structured around business objects, such as customers, products and orders.
The application framework facilitates software prototyping, design, test and implementation phases of the software development life cycle. The prototype and design phases describe the user interface and the application components. Code Assistants generate much of the code and reusable “Fast Part” components allow developers to rapidly assemble applications. LANSA supplies components with the application framework including, user management, authority management, server management and common code management. Complete the application by replacing the prototype parts with real parts that reflect real business logic. The component structure of the applications simplifies ongoing maintenance and enhancement.
How the application framework operates
Visual LANSA Framework applications consist of components for business object navigation, search tools (or filters), search results and business object details. Business object details include properties and actions displayed in one or more tabs.
Each application, for example, Human Resources or ERP, has its own icon in the navigation pane. Selecting an application icon opens its business objects. In a Human Resources application the employee is an example of a business object.
A business object filter is the tool for users to select a subset of information for a business object – using filters to search for employees in a department or a list of unpaid invoices. The search results pane presents a list of the business object instances that match the search criteria.
Command handlers, such as show product details or delete a product, are used to perform specific actions against the selected instance of the business object. Typically, a command handler will appear in the user interface as a tab.
Advantages of software prototyping
Software prototyping minimizes risk and maximizes success. Prototypes are a simple and effective way to manage expectations and uncover hidden or new business requirements. The prototype is not thrown away but converts into a real application. The snap-in architecture of the Visual LANSA Framework facilitates the gradual conversion of the prototype into the final application.
Prototypes can be defined in minutes. The prototype shows how the completed application will appear and behave. The users can see the application before a single line of code is written. If the application is browser-based, designers can email a URL so that users can run the prototype.
Use the framework for:
Building business applications
The application framework is most suitable for developing line-of-business applications (ERP, insurance, financial, CRM). The resulting applications are ideal for expert users who require fast response time, frequent task switching and high volume processing.
Modernizing legacy applications
Create graphical Windows and Web applications by reusing programs from existing 5250 applications. We have combined our experience with refacing and redevelopment tools, to create RAMP (Rapid Application Modernization Process), a blended approach to building applications. RAMP delivers immediate results while providing the foundation for incremental enhancements and extensions to the original application.
The RAMP tools are used within the application framework to quickly enable IBM i applications for Windows and Web. Absolutely no changes to the 5250 applications are required. RAMP offers advanced navigation, search and organization capabilities that go well beyond other modernization tools.
Increased developer and user productivity
The framework is designed to boost developer productivity by providing an easy-to-use and easy-to-understand generic application framework. The framework provides a working base developers build upon to create business applications.
Using the frameworks software prototyping techniques, developers can assemble applications far more quickly than using traditional development methods.
Snap-in components facilitate rapid creation of new applications – developers reuse existing components and do not duplicate code thus providing ongoing productivity gains.
Maintenance is easier because the applications follow a consistent coding approach – making it easier for developers to understand the code and know where to make changes.
The framework enforces a standard user interface design loosely based on Microsoft Outlook and familiar to most users, whether at work or at home. This model provides a cockpit or dashboard style design where everything that users need to do is just a few clicks away.
With Windows rich-client applications built using the framework, users can personalize screen panels by rearranging them in different ways to best fit the way they work.
Flexible security options
The framework has a convenient, optional security system supporting user profiles, passwords, and authorities to objects within the framework. This offers a moderate level of security that can interface with your own security system if needed.
Multiple deployment options
Deploy the applications as Windows rich-client on the desktop for expert users or browser-based with advanced Windows-like functionality. Create AJAX Web applications using the framework to achieve optimal Web performance with functionality close to that of a Windows rich-client application.
The Web applications are zero-client deployment and provide ubiquitous access from devices running Chrome, Firefox, Safari or Internet Explorer including netbooks, laptops and mobile devices such as iPads and Android tablets.
- The Visual LANSA Framework minimizes the learning curve and maximizes productivity in the requirements, design, build, test and deployment phases of the development life cycle.
- Build commercially focused, medium to large integrated applications faster and with less effort than conventional development methods.
- Enable significant user involvement during design to rapidly deliver an approved solution with user buy-in.
- The framework uses a single application model deployable to Windows or Web thereby reducing the development effort and providing multiple deployment options.
- A huge "jump start" for new Visual LANSA developers – The framework environment helps developers to get started with application development and guides them towards a standard implementation. The framework provides a working base developers build upon to create business applications.
- Modular structure of the snap-in filters and command handlers standardizes development practices, simplifying maintenance as developers will understand how the existing application code operates.
- Gradual introduction to OO concepts means that developers with no previous experience in this area will learn how to program with OO tools and be productive during the learning phase – reducing non productive time.
- Fast Parts library of reusable components means more time assembling the application and less time writing new code – developers build applications faster and can be more responsive to changing business needs.
- The Program Coding Assistant creates filters, command handlers and snap-in instance lists. It does so by generating code for complete Visual LANSA components making developers more productive for faster implementation.
- Software prototyping encourages user participation in the development processes.
- Build Windows and Web applications from a single application model – The framework provides a single and consistent application model for both Windows and Web applications.
- Standard and familiar user interface design loosely based on Microsoft Outlook – Outlook is very popular around the world and almost all users are familiar with it, whether at work or at home. This model provides a familiar cockpit or dashboard style design where everything that a user might need to do is just a few clicks away.
- Software prototyping – Applications, business objects and commands can be defined in a few minutes and used in emulation mode. The prototype shows how the completed application will appear and behave before writing a single line of code. This process also acts as a way of rapidly uncovering new or hidden business requirements.
- Prototype becomes the application – No need to discard any part of the prototype. When ready to turn the prototype into a real application, simply snap the custom-made parts into the framework. Prototyping means you keep the basic structure of the application – its business objects, commands, menus and images.
- Rapid modernization – Use the optional RAMP tools within the framework to quickly enable IBM i applications for Windows and Web. Absolutely no changes to the 5250 applications are required. RAMP offers advanced navigation, search and organization capabilities that go well beyond other modernization tools.
- Load-on-demand architecture – The framework dynamically loads application components as they are used. This prevents having to load your entire application during start up.
- Standards for development and user interfaces – The modular structure of the snap-in filters and command handlers encourages standardized development practices. The user interface is to a large extent controlled by the framework thereby enforcing consistency.
- Productivity improvements – The framework handles all the basic functions of the application, such as multi-form interactions and referencing.
- XML-based external design schema – Because of the modular design, many developers can work on different parts of the application at the same time.
- Gradual introduction to OO concepts – The framework is based on OO concepts such as inheritance. The benefits of the underlying structure become more obvious to developers as they progress in developing the application.
- Multilingual – The framework supports both a multilingual development environment and multilingual applications.
Development and deployment
- Independent or team development environment
- Framework development can be structured and managed to support one designer/multiple developers or multiple designers/multiple developers
- Use the Administrator interface in a deployed Web application to create users and groups, set authorities and custom property values
- Deploy application to Web browser or Windows 7 Pro, Windows 8 Pro or Windows 8.1 Pro rich-client
- Deploy to single- or multi-tier IBM i, Windows and Linux servers
- Detailed checklists for planning a deployment, packaging the material and installing the package
- Supports Chrome, Firefox, Safari or Internet Explorer 9 or later
- Use a single application model for Windows and Web
- Modular structure of the snap-in filters and command handlers encourages standardized development practices
- The Program Coding Assistant automatically generates most of the code
- Create AJAX Web applications for optimal performance with Windows rich-client-like functionality
- Developers learn OO concepts gradually
- Fast Parts library of reusable components