Monday, April 30, 2012

6530 on your iPad; with control, I can work at my speed!

Part two of a two part series in support of the growth in tablet usage where, even with rapid access to what we need, ensuring there is only authorized access mission-critical applications is just as important for the NonStop community.

In part, the incredible growth taking place with smartphones and tablet PCs has come about because increasingly it’s become a mobile world. In my previous post I wrote of how technology, rather than simply ebbing and flowing like the tide, continues to circle back to revisit tried and true methods for accessing current business logic. But this time, as we leverage terminal interface protocols familiar to us all we are facing the reality that speed has become a factor – we want to work right now, and we cannot wait for minutes, perhaps to come back at a more convenient time, just to finish a task that is urgently requiring our attention.

Apple’s iPad certainly introduced the world to a new genre of device, but the lead Apple has today and its dominance in this market segment may only be short lived as traditional smartphone providers catch up. And of course, neither Microsoft or Google are sitting idly by – the new MS Windows 8 is coming to market with which many analysts expect to see some swing away from Apple among corporate users. No matter how this turns out, for IT management, controlling it all and ensuring authorized users have the secure access they need will prove challenging.

“When it comes to supporting the NonStop community,” comForte’s Thomas Burg cautioned, “and where applications still support the 6530 terminal interface protocol, we are very cognizant that any product from comForte must support all the popular tablets. The iPad is the force driving change in this marketplace but there is a growing list of viable alternatives already grabbing market share that we simply cannot ignore.” Business users may want very quick access to their applications but it will become increasingly difficult to predict which smartphone or tablet they may be using. In the past we have seen CEO’s elect to use one device, their fellow executives follow suite but then, once outside the executive corridors, a whole plethora of devices in widespread use.

“There are still thousands and thousands of users connecting to mission-critical applications on NonStop servers daily,” Burg confirmed. “The IT department is spending resources on pushing out terminal emulations to the end users – even with ‘zero-deployment’ options such as comForte’s well-established J6530 product, the desktop team needs to ensure that there is a decent version of Java installed.” Control will be as important as simply ensuring timely access to relevant information, and perhaps there’s now a way to do this.

As Burg observed, “enter HTML5, and the new version of J6530, ‘J6530 Touch’; the vision of zero footprint at the end-users’ desk has finally become a reality!” He then qualified it further, explaining how “the beauty of HTML5 is that it is a real standard approved by all major vendors and – more importantly – supported on all platforms I can think of; yes, there will be the odd Windows PC out there not supporting it yet, but any modern browser (IE 7+, Google Chrome, Firefox, Opera) as well as Apple’s iPad all support HTML5.”

Burg has given me a link that, from my iPad, brings me to a demonstration page on the comForte web site where I have just begun to take my first baby steps at playing with the options available. The stability has greatly improved and sitting outside my favorite Starbucks, while sipping a latte, I can select ViewSys and look at resource usage, and at SpoolCom, as well as at a demo Pathway application – all where the interface looks very familiar to anyone used to interacting with mission-critical applications on the NonStop server. All from an implementation that is relying on just a single codebase, supports all the terminal emulation models required of modern end-user devices, including smartphones and tablets!
If you reading this post from your own iPad, then just click on this link: http://demo.comforte.com  - if you have access to your tablet later in the day, then yes, bring up this post and check the link. Either way, let me know how it goes and what you think and from my own early observations, this is definitely a little removed from being a finished product (the limitations are listed, in detail, on the entry screen and Pathway block more is in its infancy) but well worth taking a few minutes to check it out.

In my last post I referred to my former colleague, Bruce Williamson, and of his enthusiasm for the “NEW” iPad. What I left out was how he also reminded me of an incident when together with his boss, Chuck, we went and checked out a potential new manufacturing location. “I can still remember Chuck’s expression as we went to Sydney harbor’s north head in your SAAB 9000and, returning to La Kiosk restaurant on the beach, past Fairy Bower,” Bruce wrote, “and how you four-wheel drifted the SAAB past (the former Rugby great, Rex) Mossop’s home!” Perhaps something I did care to forget but even back then together with speed, and a little knowledge of the road’s twists and turns, I had enough elementary car control to keep the SAAB headed where I wanted it to go.

As every mobile client user will acknowledge, speed is important. Being able to get at mission-critical applications in a timely manner will always be of paramount importance to the user. However, as IT managers readily confess, control is equally as important and being able to rely on the one solution in support for almost every smartphone and tablet on a company’s network is a must. From my perspective, it simply is cool to be able to know that even over coffee I have all that I need to stay informed about my NonStop server in the very same iPad I use to follow F1 races, check the cricket scores, and to check my email.

As Bruce was quick to highlight, as I wrote in the previous post, smartphones and tablets in general, and of course more specifically the iPad, have become the next corporate terminal. And yes, comForte is all over it!

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