Wall Data Rumbas onto the Internet

John Enck previews one of the first NT products with fully functional ActiveX controls in Wall Data's Rumba 95 workstation emulation and data access products.

John Enck

May 31, 1996

3 Min Read
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ActiveX has the steps to access corporate data

Wall Data is one of the first companies to offer fully functional ActiveXcontrols to the Windows NT market. Specifically, ActiveX controls are part ofthe latest release of Rumba workstation-emulation and data-access products:Rumba 95/NT for the AS/400, Rumba 95/NT for the Mainframe, Rumba Access/40095/NT, Rumba 95/NT for UNIX, and Rumba Office 95/NT. The core modules of theseproducts use Wall Data's ActiveX controls to deliver display and printeremulation, print queue control, and several data access and presentationfunctions. You can use these ActiveX controls in ActiveX-enabled browsers (suchas version 3 of Microsoft's Internet Explorer), in development languages such asVisual Basic and Visual C++, and in other development environments that supportActiveX controls.

Integrated Functionality
The Wall Data design lets you incorporate most product functions, such asdisplay emulation, printer management, and data access, into your programs, Webpage, or integrated desktop environment. For example, you can develop a Web pagethat incorporates ActiveX controls for workstation emulation to let Web browserusers sign on to one or more of your corporate systems (AS/400, mainframe, VAX,or UNIX) and access host-based applications. Screen 1 shows the InternetExplorer view of a Web page containing an AS/400 workstation session andsession-related information generated by Wall Data's ActiveX controls. Listing 1shows the underlying Web page description that references those controls.

You can also use Wall Data's ActiveX controls as a friendlier, fasteralternative to the Emulator High-Level Language API (EHLLAPI) in IBM AS/400 andmainframe environments. EHLLAPI facilitates "screen scraping"--usingEHLLAPI, one program sends and receives screen-based information through asecond workstation emulation program. Wall Data's ActiveX controls provide thesame functionality; however, they operate more efficiently and are easier toincorporate into high-level language programs.

A New Data Organization
The latest series of Rumba products also introduces a new data organizationmetaphor to the desktop. All 32-bit Rumba products support a notebookorganization that lets you group host- and desktop-based applications as oneunit. For example, you can create an accounts payable notebook. In it, you caninclude a page containing a workstation session that automatically opens on ahost-based accounting program, a page containing a work-in-progress spreadsheet,and another page containing a form letter. The notebook is a portable objectthat you can move from one system to another.

ActiveX and Beyond
Although workstation emulation is a key feature in the Wall Data productline and ActiveX control set, it is not the only feature. Wall Data provideshost-oriented ActiveX controls, including:

AS/400 workstation (5250) emulation
AS/400 printer emulation
AS/400 print queue control
AS/400 dataqueue access
AS/400 submit remote command
Mainframe workstation (3270)emulation
Mainframe printer emulation
Mainframe file transfer (IND$FILE)
Advanced Program-to-Program Communications (APPC)
UNIX terminal (VT) emulation

The Wall Data ActiveX control set also has controls for PC (workstation)print queues, coloring, menu functions, status bar functions, toolbar functions,tracing, and other general controls. Note that only Rumba Office 95/NT containsthe full set of ActiveX controls. The host-specific Rumba products (e.g., Rumba95/NT for the AS/400, Rumba 95/NT for the Mainframe, and Rumba 95/NT for UNIX)include only those ActiveX controls that are relevant to the host type.

Although ActiveX controls provide much of the core technology that thefunctions in the Rumba products use, some functions do not yet have ActiveXcontrols. For example, AS/400 Rumba supports file transfer capabilities thathave no ActiveX control counterparts. So for now, you can't judge what ActiveXcontrols are available by looking at the end-user applications. On the flipside, you can't judge the breadth of end-user capabilities based solely on theActiveX controls.

Information Access
By incorporating ActiveX controls in the Rumba series, Wall Data has takenone more step in its broad strategy to facilitate access to corporateinformation residing on minicomputers, midrange systems, or mainframes, from thedesktop environment or over the Internet. In a related development, Wall Data isreleasing new Web server-based capabilities for its ActiveX controls, includingon-the-fly conversion from ActiveX to Hypertext Markup Language (HTML). Withthis technology in place, any browser can access data that ActiveX controlsdeliver, even if the browser does not support ActiveX.

Wall Data

(206) 814-9255Web site:http://www.walldata.comPrices: Rumba Office 95/NT: $500, Rumba 95/NT for the Mainframe: $400, Rumba Access/400 95/NT: $400, Rumba 95/NT for the AS/400: $200, Rumba 95/NT for UNIX: $300

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