Rocket Software, which recently acquired the UniData and UniVerse Servers and Tools assets from IBM, has announced the availability of SystemBuilder Extensible Architecture (SB/XA) 6.0.1, designed to maximize its customers' investments in U2 technology. SB/XA is a Rapid Application Development (RAD) and deployment environment that delivers up-to-the-minute interface design and portable reporting capabilities. Existing SB+ applications can automatically convert without requiring changes to the underlying code.
"Our customers have long enjoyed the powerful data management capabilities inherent in our data servers, and are invested in applications that use them," says Susie Siegesmund, vice president and general manager, U2 Brand. "At the same time they have to stay current with modern interface and reporting standards-without breaking the bank. SB/XA gives them the tools they need to quickly and cost-effectively bring their SB+ applications into the 21st century."
"Many of our customers have devoted years of development effort to creating robust, feature-rich SB+ applications, but until now they've lacked a way to update their visual interface," adds Vinnie Smith, tools product requirements manager. "Some applications have as many as 3,000 or more screens to update and the cost and effort required to re-code each and every one would be prohibitive. Worse, it would probably destabilize the underlying logic. We decided to create a new user interface using XAML (Extensible Application Markup Language) to present existing SB+ application in a fresh, new, visually compelling UI without requiring changes to the underlying business application logic."
Using Microsoft .NET Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF), the U2 development team created new XAML clients that could deploy existing SB+ applications securely inside a browser or rich client without changing the existing application logic. SB/XA applications can be animated, scaled, and resized without loss of screen resolution, interfaces can be branded or updated to improve usability, and data can be displayed in customized formats which change dynamically based on application data or events.
Leveraging Microsoft .NET Windows Communication Foundation (WCF), Rocket created a new middle-tier communication server that provided connection resilience so dropped connections are reconnected without administrator intervention. Automatic transport security ensures that every connection from the new clients to the middle tier is encrypted to the highest standard of internet security. ClickOnce capabilities allow the new clients to be deployed automatically without the need for users to install any client software. ClickOnce also allows client updates to be automatically detected and deployed immediately without additional administration effort. SB/XA takes advantage of the new middle tier to automate security connections and remove the need for multiple User IDs and passwords after initial configuration of a users system. This simplifies the need for additional password administration, and users avoid the frustration of having to supply different IDs and passwords.
XML Paper Specifications (XPS) provides support for SB+ ReportWriter and Query reports. These are converted automatically and can be viewed with a new XPS viewer that further extends existing report capabilities with options to save, publish and share reports as XPS portable format. Rocket understands that any change to an established application can be cause for concern, so it continues to provide support for all existing SB+ applications in character and GUI. Customers can upgrade to SB/XA and take advantage of the new packaging and bundled pricing without immediately converting their existing application. This provides the peace of mind to try out the new clients in SB/XA before committing to a major change. SB/XA V6.0.1 will allow users to build on the established strengths of SB+ in the business-based applications space by delivering the visual capabilities they need to compete with any other applications in the marketplace. For more information, go here.