NetManage speeds up toolkit

Host access company NetManage Inc. on Tuesday unveiled the next generation of its Rumba development tools for building desktop applications that tap into mainframe and Unix programs.

The latest Rumba Developer Edition (RDE) takes aim at accelerating the development process for apps that integrate host system-based data, according to Susan O'Neill, senior product marketing manager for NetManage in Cupertino, Calif. Speed is critical, O'Neill contends, because today's shaky economy dictates that IT departments show fast ROI and leverage existing enterprise assets as much as possible.

"Our customers tell us they want to be able to cherry pick from their systems to increase productivity by streamlining business processes that can be deployed quickly and leverage existing resources," O'Neill said.

RDE also marks the company's switch from software licensing to a subscription-based delivery model. The new toolkit, subsequent updates, and technical support will be made available over a NetManage-run Web site, akin to popular Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) or IBM developerWorks sites, officials said.

"Developers are very used to this model now. They go online with the expectation of instantaneous access," O'Neill said.

The new release of RDE features enhanced automation capabilities and beefed-up security and encryption, as well as built-in support for Java, ActiveX, and industry-specific languages. It also allows access to multiple host sessions, enabling developers to pull data from a variety of sources at once into a single application, officials said.

The toolkit supports standard development environments such as VBScript, JavaScript, C++, and Java, and comes with a superset of NetManage's host access products, including Rumba PC-to-Host, Rumba Web-to-Host, and Rumba ObjectX Development Kit, officials said.

The new capabilities allow a developer to manipulate the terminal emulator object as data streams through it so that a host application's "green screen" GUI can be integrated directly into a custom-built desktop application.

For example, O'Neill said that typical users of a call center application tend to prefer entering order data via their text- and field-based green screen. By using RDE, developers can now combine that old GUI with newly written code so users get the benefits of an updated application while maintaining the interface with which they are familiar.

RDE is available now and priced ranging from US$7,500 to $60,000.

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