Product review: WebTerm aptly serves apps

Organisations that need to deploy host-application access to a large number of users will find White Pine Software's WebTerm 1.5 worthy of consideration. Because it can be deployed to either Web-based or Windows clients, WebTerm can fit neatly into existing environments with minimal changes.

Unlike some rivals that deliver host-access services via Java applets, WebTerm supplies a completely native software implementation. The result for your end-users is stable, reliable, and responsive host-access services. WebTerm offers emulation support for major host systems and enterprise server platforms, including IBM mainframes, VMS systems, AS/400 and Unix servers. Web-based clients will find WebTerm easily accessible via Netscape Navigator or Microsoft Internet Explorer -- Versions 4.0 and later.

With this release, WebTerm turns up the heat on its rivals. White Pine's product is definitely up to the challenge when compared to worthy opponents, such as OpenConnect Systems' OC://WebConnect 4.2. Although WebTerm does not have as many connectivity options as the OpenConnect Systems solution, it does provide support for the Macintosh platform.

This WebTerm release comes replete with a bevy of new features. In particular, I found something called ThinTerm quite compelling. This feature provides end-users with terminal emulation that is hosted inside an ActiveX container. Although ThinTerm will support only Windows users, it does provide a richer client.

Another feature is Java Archive (JAR) file support, which allows WebTerm to be installed via Netscape's SmartUpdate facility for Netscape browsers. I also found WebTerms' capability of using the same configuration file for multiple-session support to be a big plus.

WebTerm requires the use of a Netscape plug-in or a Microsoft ActiveX control to support Web-to-host connectivity. But I found that, by placing the associated JAR and Cabinet files in a directory on my Web server, user rollouts and updates could be done in a cost-effective and timely manner.

I definitely recommend looking at White Pine's WebTerm. Its low cost, ease of use, and reduced administration requirements may make its host-access rivals sweat.

Tim Fielden (tifielden@uswest.net) is a system architect and free-lance writer based in Minnesota.

THE BOTTOM LINE: VERY GOOD

White Pine's WebTerm 1.5

Summary: Companies that want to roll out a low-cost, full-featured host-access solution should definitely look at WebTerm. Its support for all of the major emulation families and centralised administration is a boon for managers and end-users.

Business Case: WebTerm sports more connectivity options than many of its rivals, centralised management, and the option to deploy to Web-based or Windows clients. Managers factoring in host-access costs vs. functionality will find that WebTerm stacks up well against its competitors.

Pros:

+ Easy administration

+ Installable via Netscape's SmartUpdate+ Cost-effective compared to rivals+ Supports Web and Windows clients+ Supports 3270, 5250, and VT emulationCons:

- Limited platform support

- Manual installation process

Cost: $US229 per seat; volume and discount pricing is availablePlatform(s): Windows 95/98; Windows NT 4.0; Mac OS 8.1 and laterWhite Pine Software; Nashua, New Hampshire; +1-800-241-7463; http://www.wpine.com

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