This article originally published in the Architects Corner section of our LANSA Review customer magazine Issue 35, 2007.
LANSA has long used Microsoft's core technologies to drive advances in its application development and integration tools, so an obvious question to ask is, "What does LANSA do about leveraging .NET?"To fully answer that question, we need to be aware that .NET is a broad and far-reaching technology that is advancing on many fronts. So LANSA is advancing its tools along the .NET 'evolutionary tree' on several fronts as well.
The technology evolutionary tree
LANSA is not in the business of creating the low-level plumbing technologies and languages that drive computers and programmatic interfaces. We are in the business of leveraging and hiding the complexity of core technologies like .NET, XML or Web services.
Inevitably, some core technologies wither and fade and new ones emerge to replace them. In many cases, there are parallel competing technologies that address the same business objectives.
LANSA not only needs to choose which core technologies to support, we also need to be well positioned to change these choices quickly and with the least disruption possible. This is what we call 'technology insurance'.
The three drivers of LANSA's advanced software development
Broadly speaking there are three main factors driving the technology choices behind advances in the LANSA toolset:
- Improved Capabilities — doing new things or old things a better or cheaper way
- Better Interoperability — between operating systems, development languages and hardware
- Higher Productivity — when designing, developing and using LANSA applications
Capability driven advances
Sometimes, a new technology emerges that lets you do things that you could not do before, either because it was not technically possible or it was too expensive to implement.
For many years LANSA has used Microsoft core technologies to drive advanced application development. For example, Visual LANSA uses .NET rich-client interface API's and the Microsoft C++ compiler. LANSA for the Web and the Visual LANSA Framework have always supported Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser interface.
The architecture of .NET lets LANSA provide capabilities that it could not deliver before or deliver them in a more effective manner.
Interoperability driven advances
LANSA and .NET applications need to be able to use (that is, publish or consume) the services provided by each other. While you can do this now, it is sometimes technically complex and time consuming.
LANSA Open for .NET brings the productivity and discipline of the LANSA Repository to .NET application developers. It is a small and standardized .NET class library that allows .NET applications to easily access resources like programs, message queues and spooled files residing on IBM i server.
LANSA developers benefit from enhancements to Visual LANSA that provide better interoperability with .NET applications and Web services.
Visual LANSA supports the consumption of .NET classes directly and allows LANSA objects to be published for direct use in .NET applications. Visual LANSA also allows LANSA objects to be published as Web service interfaces, as well as consuming Web services directly.
Productivity driven advances
The development of .NET applications at the 3GL level is labor intensive and requires above average skills. Designing, implementing, testing and deploying business applications in these environments continues to stretch the capabilities and budgets of the small to medium enterprise (SME) community where LANSA has found most favor.
The application maintenance issues inherent with these technologies adds to the life-cycle cost and there are a number of areas where LANSA adds value. For example, you can embed Visual LANSA Framework and RAMP applications inside .NET applications as a productive way to modernize 5250 applications.
The LANSA Repository has always been LANSA's unique and strongest value proposition. The inclusion in Visual LANSA of a Business Object Builder launches the next generation of the LANSA Repository.
LANSA Business Objects have full class interfaces and are automatically useable in both Windows and Web contexts by LANSA, .NET or Java applications.
LANSA Business Objects:
- Hide internal complexity from developers
- Allow higher levels of reuse
- Contain complex business processes, not just business rules
- Create better IT skills separation
- Reduce the cost of maintenance and enhancement
- Be automatically published using industry standard interfaces and technologies
LANSA's proven track record
For over 20 years, LANSA has been about applying core technologies to deliver new capabilities, increase developer and user productivity and to reduce the costs associated with the ongoing maintenance of applications and developer skills.
Better interoperability between LANSA and .NET applications benefits developers of both LANSA and .NET applications and is another example of how LANSA provides technology insurance.
LANSA is your Microsoft .NET technology insurance policy
Capability Driven Advances: By leveraging the architecture of .NET, LANSA delivers new capabilities or improve the effectiveness of existing features.
Interoperability Driven Advances: The level of interoperability between LANSA and .NET applications will continue to improve and be refined.
Productivity Driven Advances: The LANSA Repository improves the productivity of 3GL level .NET application development.