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Wondering About IBM WebFacing?

The history, prerequisites and resources you need



 

Packaging and Prerequisites

The IBM WebFacing Tool was originally part of WDSC. In version 7.1, WebFacing became part of HATS, and the IBM i application development portion of WDSC was repackaged into a new product called IBM Rational Developer for i (RDi). Under this new packaging scheme, WebFacing users need to install a supported Rational software development tool such as Rational Application Developer into RDi, and then install HATS. This process of installing multiple products into a single base is called shell-sharing and lets you take advantage of the features of multiple products under one Eclipse-based workbench. Conveniently, IBM provides a bundle named IBM Rational Developer for i with SOA Construction (RDi SOA), which contains the HATS toolkit and includes all of the prerequisites for the IBM WebFacing Tool except WebSphere Portal support. Note that IBM WebFacing Tool is an optionally installable feature of the HATS toolkit.

Under this repackaging, all of the advanced features of the IBM WebFacing Tool once shipped with WDSC AE are now shipped as part of the HATS toolkit. The WebSphere Portal feature is optional and must be manually selected during installation of the HATS toolkit. This feature requires either Rational Application Developer or a flavor of Application Developer such as Rational Software Architect for WebSphere Software with base WebSphere Portal tooling.

One great advantage of having IBM WebFacing Tool as part of the HATS toolkit is that now you can conveniently explore WebFacing and HATS interoperability and experiment with popular HATS features such as Web services, macros, visually designed HATS transformations, default transformations, global variables, screen combinations and business logic.

IBM removed the WebFacing Deployment Tool for WDHT from the market as of April 2008. If you’re an existing WDHT 7.0 customer, you may choose to move from that version to HATS for 5250 Applications 7.1 and your licenses will be automatically migrated to HATS for 5250 Applications. HATS for 5250 Applications licenses are the only option for enabling WebFacing and HATS projects as of HATS 7.5.

Resources to Get Started

Start with the Rational Host Access Transformation Services Web site (www.ibm.com/software/awdtools/hats). You can explore HATS, read testimonials and drill down for more information.

You’ll also want to visit the new HATS HotSpot (www.ibm.com/software/rational/cafe/community/hats) in the Rational CafĂ©. You’ll find blogs from the HATS team and various self-help documents for WebFacing and HATS. Browse the forums and let the IBM team know what you’d like to see in future releases or share your experiences and expertise with other WebFacing and HATS developers. You can even find outside help from an IBM partner.

You can also play with the HATS product on the sandbox for IBM i (www.ibm.com/developerworks/downloads/emsandbox/systemi.html) without installing or configuring anything.

Try It Out

We hope this article has helped you understand the history and current packaging picture of WebFacing as part of HATS. The latest versions of WebFacing offer many great features—styling and performance improvements, the capability to run on the Firefox browser, bug fixes, the application bridge and HATS/WebFacing interoperability, to name just a few. We also encourage you to try out HATS-specific features such as Web services, macros, visually designed HATS transformations, default transformations, global variables, screen combinations and business logic. Play with the tool on the sandbox, read more about new features in “Web-Enable IBM i Applications With New WebFacing Features” and use the HotSpot to send us your thoughts. Let’s keep talking. We look forward to hearing your feedback.

 

Hania Abd-El-Razik started her career at IBM in 2005 when she joined the WebFacing team. She's been the WebFacing test lead since 2006, and most recently worked on implementing Firefox support.

Jiayun Zhu is the technical lead for IBM's WebFacing Tool, which she's worked on since 2000.

Lila Aravopoulos is a staff software engineer at the IBM Toronto Lab, where she's currently the lead developer for WebFacing Tooling. She's also a frequent speaker at COMMON conferences and various education engagements. Lila can be reached at lbehzadi@ca.ibm.com.

Mike Hockings started working for IBM in the 1980s, initially working on communications chip and board design for various machines including adapters for ANR, 5250 and ISDN protocols and a communications subsystem for the Series/1. After moving to software, Mike has worked on DCE, ISDN, RJE and the WebFacing server on the AS/400 as well as CODE/400 and WebFacing on the PC. Currently, Mike is a developer on the HATS/WebFacing development team.


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