This article originally published in the Architects Corner section of our LANSA Review customer magazine Issue 27, 2003.
The Visual LANSA Framework is a design framework that empowers your business focused developers to create highly graphical Windows and Web applications. The learning curve is short, productivity is high and the applications are world class. Until now, many developers have found Windows development complex and hard to deploy. Many of you have told us that you find it difficult to migrate your existing 5250 applications to Windows or the Web successfully.
The framework provides a design environment that makes building Windows and Web applications much easier. You prototype application and user interface design at the same time and use the same design for both Windows and Web deployment.
The framework is designed to answer the question, "How should I design and build Web and Windows applications with LANSA?" The primary purpose of the Visual LANSA framework is to make LANSA developers as productive as possible. It does this by providing a framework for commercial applications.
The framework assists in the prototyping, design and implementation stages of the application development lifecycle. Ongoing maintenance and enhancement of your applications are simplified as well.
The framework uses a familiar work-with paradigm to define applications and is structured around working with common business objects such as customers, products, and orders.
You can insert notes and pictures into your prototype to make it simple to review with users. You can review Web-based prototypes with users by simply emailing them a URL.
You complete your application by replacing the prototype parts with real parts that reflect your actual business logic. You use code assistants to generate the Visual LANSA code for you. There is also an extensive library of reusable components which provide commonly required functionality.
You can see in the diagram below that a framework consists of a number of components. Each application, for example, Human Resources or ERP, appear in the navigation column. On selecting an application, a treeview expands to show business objects such as employees and departments.
The search component allows users to select a subset of information, for example, a list of unpaid invoices, and they appear in the search results.
Selecting an item in the search results shows a business objects details and its allowed actions such update or delete.
You can create Windows and Web applications by reusing your existing 5250 applications within the framework. The framework provides the user interface and the navigation into the 5250 applications. The resulting application has simplified navigation making is easier to use.
Your framework-based application can be deployed as a Windows executable for desktop users, or as a Web application with Windows-like functionality. You can support multilingual environments, too. With native Windows applications, your users can personalize framework applications by rearranging them in many different ways to best fit the way they to work.
In general, native Windows is best for your users that typically require high performance, high functionality, and desktop integration with office products. The benefits of Web-based applications are zero-client deployment and ubiquitous access.
Key benefits of prototypes
Prototypes can be defined in minutes and provide an idea of the applications flow and look and feel that can be evaluated before a line of code is written. If the application is browser-based, developers can convey their design ideas to other developers and users simply by e-mailing them a URL. They can instantly execute a browser-based prototype.
Prototypes minimize risk and maximize success. Prototypes are a simple and effective way of managing expectations and uncovering hidden or new business requirements. The prototype is not thrown away but gradually converted to a real application by using a snap-in architecture.
The Visual LANSA Framework was designed to boost developer productivity by providing an easy-to-use and easy-to-understand generic application framework.
It supports the rapid prototyping, design, implementation and deployment of commercially-focused applications.
It makes it easier to envisage user interface extensions for 5250 applications and encourages the use of the same design for both Windows and Web deployment. The Visual LANSA Framework makes it easier to deploy browser-based applications that have the equivalent functionality as a Windows applications.
Code Assistants generate much of the code required and together with an expanding library of components, developers can more rapidly assemble powerful applications. Components are also shipped for user management, authority management, server management and common code management.
Maintenance is easier because applications follow a consistent coding approach, making it easier to understand and maintain the code.