Visual LANSA for Web Development
Visual LANSA includes Web development tools to rapidly build Web applications for use on desktop, laptop or mobile devices. It insulates developers from the technical complexities of Web development, allowing them to focus on building database driven Web applications that satisfy business requirements.
With LANSA's tools, developers can create Web applications by generating them using a wizard, building on a visual application framework or writing all of the source code from scratch. Developers use a high-level business-focused language to build industry standard Web applications by creating and/or reusing application components supplied with Visual LANSA.
Prototyping tools in the visual application framework provide a kick-start to building Web applications. The framework is a working Web application that developers can extend by creating and plugging in components.
Why use Visual LANSA to build Web applications?
There are many Web development tools available on the market today, so why would you choose LANSA? Visual LANSA is not only a tool for laying out pages it is a complete development methodology and tool set. The primary reasons for choosing LANSA are:
- LANSA's tools are designed for building Web applications for business
- They automate many of the development tasks
- They reduce the ongoing application maintenance workload
- The tools insulate developers from the complexity of underlying Web technologies
Being able to develop or change Web applications quickly is essential for companies who need a fast response to changing business conditions. LANSA's development tools focus on business needs and are designed to build database driven Web applications quickly.
Visual LANSA automates much of the development work by abstracting data definitions and business rules out of programs, and generating much of the code needed to build the application. The tools relieve developers from the monotonous and recurring parts of software development, reducing the likelihood of mistakes, and improving the quality of the software. Developers can spend more time on the business aspects of the application and/or build new applications.
Ongoing maintenance of applications is reduced as data definitions, business rules and algorithms are centralized in a metadata repository. This reduces development effort for both new applications and ongoing maintenance because the meta data is defined outside the program code. If any of the definitions or rules need to be changed, you only have to make that change in one place and it applies to all of your applications.
Web applications are complex, consisting of multiple parts, and using many technologies. Moreover, the technologies are subject to constant evolution or replacement. Keeping up with technological change can be a distraction for developers, diverting them away from projects that contribute to business outcomes such as more sales and/or reduced costs. LANSA insulates developers from the underlying Web technologies. Developers do not need know about these technologies as they are automatically implemented by LANSA.
These features of LANSA's Web development tools contribute to the agility of companies when building Web applications.
Take existing applications to the Web
LANSA's Web development tools can extend the useful life of existing line-of-business applications by incorporating them as components of composite Web applications. From a composite application, you can call existing LANSA, RPG, or COBOL programs and/or integrate existing databases.
Easy to use Web development tools
Designing and building database driven Web applications is different from 5250 and Windows applications but LANSA's short learning curve means that developers are productively building dynamic Web applications quickly.
The Visual LANSA Integrated Development Environment (IDE) is our developer workbench. It includes tools for source code editing, version tracking, compiling, debugging, testing and deployment. The IDE includes over 200 built-in functions that save developer effort in writing commonly used functions for converting dates, manipulating strings, sending email messages, encryption, and mathematical algorithms.
Visual Web application framework
Visual LANSA includes a design framework that minimizes the effort required to develop business focused Web applications. Using the framework you can prototype commercial applications rapidly with minimal coding. The framework reduces the learning curve, improves productivity and delivers world class Web applications.
The framework allows developers to inherit Web design skills without the need for expensive training. It’s like having an experienced mentor sitting next to your developers.
Build Web applications for mobile devices
LANSA developers can build web applications for mobile devices using Visual LANSA and jQuery Mobile. Visual LANSA provides tools for business logic and database access, and jQuery Mobile provides tools for the application's user interface.
jQuery Mobile is a user interface framework for mobile devices based on HTML5. It provides controls that developers use to assemble the screens of an application. Controls include toolbars (page header, footer and navigation), buttons (button and text links), content placeholders (maps, headings, images, grids and list views), and form controls (form, text input, search, toggle switch, slider, menu, radio button, checkbox, submit button). The theme feature of jQuery Mobile simplifies user interface design by implementing a consistent color scheme and appearance across the application. Applying a theme to an application removes the need for developers to manipulate property settings for all the controls in the user interface.
Visual LANSA simplifies mobile Web application development by hiding the underlying complexity of Web applications and automating common Web development activities. Developers can build Web applications starting from a blank page or use a wizard to guide them through the development stages.
How do LANSA's Web development tools work?
Using LANSA's high-level business-focused development language, RDML (Rapid Development and Maintenance Language), developers build Web applications to perform functions such as transactions, searches, database updates, and displaying information. These functions use business rules defined in LANSA's Meta Data Repository. From the RDML, Visual LANSA generates application pages and stores them in the repository. Designers and/or developers can edit the application pages to apply themes, images, and graphical controls such as drop down lists, combination boxes, radio buttons, check boxes, and tables. Developers can also use LANSA's WYSIWYG form painter to modify page layouts.
Visual LANSA comes with ready-to-use components (called Weblets) that are the visual building blocks or user interface elements of Web pages. Weblets provide hyperlinks, push buttons and clickable images, and also visualize fields and working lists. They are designed to be reusable components that provide a consistent look-and-feel to Web application pages. Developers can use the included Weblets and/or create their own.
Visual LANSA incorporates a feature called Web Application Modules (WAM) that use an open, multi-layered application architecture. This architecture uses standard Web technologies (such as CSS, HTML, XML and XSL), and also separates data, business rules and algorithms, and the user interface into independent layers in Web applications. Applications built with independent layers are more adaptable to technology change, ready for new computing devices and presentation formats, and also easier to maintain.
Visual LANSA manages the complexity of designing Web applications, including: state management, business rule validation, data conversion and integration with different Web servers and other applications.
Developers can focus on meeting business requirements while the tools handle the technical complexities. There's no faster way to build Web applications.
Supports multilingual Web applications
To reach global markets, Web applications must be useable by people from many countries, and therefore Web applications need to support multiple languages. Visual LANSA makes this easy by providing multilingual support for both developers and application users.
The IDE can be configured for English, French, or Japanese which simplifies work for developers as they can use their native language.
Visual LANSA includes support for multiple languages from the one set of source code. Developers build Web applications for one language and then add translations for the language specific artifacts, such as field labels, menus, and tool tips for the other languages they wish to offer.
Flexible deployment options
Web applications built with Visual LANSA can be deployed on multiple platforms with one or more tiers and behind a proxy server. A single tier deployment on a server includes all application layers (presentation, business logic, and data access). Multi-tiered deployments offer more options for separating the application layers across the deployment tiers. Two examples are:
- Deploy a Windows Web server (IIS) to manage the presentation layer, with an IBM i server for both business logic and data access layers.
- Deploy a Linux server with the Apache HTTP Server to manage the presentation layer, a Windows application server (IIS) for the business logic layer, with another Windows server (SQL Server) for the data access layer.
- Technology insulation improves developer productivity – LANSA's database driven Web development tools insulate developers from the underlying Web technologies. Developers can use the technologies without having to spend time learning them, leaving more time for productive work building Web applications. With improved productivity, developers are better equipped to meet changing business requirements quickly.
- Automated development reduces costs and speeds up delivery – Developers using a wizard or the visual application framework can build applications faster as there is less code to write, resulting in reduced development costs and a faster delivery time.
- Using the same set of tools for all types of Web applications reduces training costs – Developers only need to learn to use one development tool, and then they can build different types of Web applications for deployment to desktop, laptop, or mobile devices. Using one development tool reduces training costs, as developers don't need to learn multiple development tools.
- One development tool for Web, rich-client, 5250 and server-based applications – Visual LANSA provides a comprehensive Windows-based IDE, a meta data repository, and productive high-level programming language, to develop Web, Windows rich-client, 5250 and server-based applications. All these applications can be built using one easy-to-learn skill set in the same IDE.
- More flexible use of developer skills and knowledge – LANSA's development methodology applies to all software development, not only Web development. You do not need multiple development teams, each dedicated to an aspect of software development, such as Web applications. CIO's can allocate any project to developers skilled with LANSA's development tools. As a result, they need fewer developers, and reduce silos of knowledge because developers have a wide understanding of all the applications. Developers broaden their skills and do not feel locked into building specific types of applications.
User Interface Options
- Cascading style sheets (CSS)
- jQuery UI and jQuery Mobile
- Java Applet integration
- Web application layout wizard
- Graphical controls including date, time, auto-complete, dynamic drop-down, Google charts, rich text editor, menu bar and treeview
- WYSIWYG form painter for simplified Web page layout
- Themed layouts supplied
- Customize included themed layouts
- Create new themed layouts
- AJAX and JSON support
- Centrally define business rules
- Productively define logic using RDML and a meta data repository
- Separate business logic from the user interface using Web Application Modules
Integrated Transaction Manager
- Commit control
Web Server Communications Options
- Java Servlets
- Microsoft IIS Plug-in
- IPv6 (all supported platforms)
- TLS/SSL (all supported platforms)
- Single, multiple and mixed platforms
- Web server platforms: IBM i (System i, iSeries, AS/400), Windows and Linux
- Data server platforms: IBM i (System i, iSeries, AS/400), Windows and Linux
Supported Web Servers
- Microsoft IIS
- IBM DB2 on IBM i (System i, iSeries, AS/400) servers
- Microsoft SQL Server
- Oracle on Windows, Linux and UNIX
- Sybase SQL Anywhere
- MySQL database
- Unicode support for files
LANSA for the Web Edge Server
- Facilitates communications between an HTTP server in front of a firewall to applications behind a firewall
- Operating systems supported: IBM i, Microsoft Windows, or Linux on Intel
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