Users can click their way through hosted screens as if they were on the Web – clicking on different lists and buttons – through a new HTML client interface released by ResQNet.com Inc., based in New York City.
The new offering, ResQPortal, enhances the functionality of host applications, according to the company. An extension of the company’s ResQNet product, the new release is Java-based and allows users to navigate hosted screens without having to install or download anything, and is accessed through a browser.
Jim Shapiro, the executive vice-president of ResQNet.com, said ResQPortal is basically ResQNet running on the server.
“ResQNet acts as a direct terminal emulation product, so there’s a one-to-one correlation between ResQNet users and sessions on the host, which means in effect you’re letting the customer through your firewall,” Shapiro explained.
The server, which can sit behind the firewall, communicates to the host, and then ResQPortal communicates to the client in HTML.
Shapiro said while ResQNet allows IS managers to hide fields from the user, the fields still come down in the data stream — they’re just not accessible to the user. ResQPortal enables managers to actually construct the HTML page on the server, and to send down only the information they want instead of the entire data stream.
ResQPortal runs on any server according to the company, and uses the open HTTP ports. And, for security, it uses Secure Socket Layer (SSL) security with server authentication and data encryption.
Anura Guruge is an independent analyst in Gilford, N.H. He said ResQPortal has a lot of features that make it stand out.
“I actually refer to it as third generation host publishing in that it…is written in Java. That means it can be installed and run on any platform including IBM mainframes and AS/400s. That way it can be extremely scalable and you can also have very simple two-tier solutions that can support a lot of people,” Guruge said.
Some users are playing the waiting game. Greg Steible is the manager of computer services at Dallas, Tex.-based CSI, a car insurance company. CSI is a fairly new ResQNet customer – it is currently doing development in ResQNet — and Steible said it is very interested in using the ResQPortal product when it becomes available for mainframes, at which time the company may convert over from the ResQNet product.
The company sells insurance through its agents in various offices. When an insurance policy is sold, it is immediately set up in the company’s primary database, he explained.
“The agents are all teleconnected, with…terminals over lease lines directly into our mainframe,” he said. The plan is to set up all the independent agents throughout the state to this system as well.
“The obvious choice was to let them connect throughout the Internet to do the same thing…and have it set up directly in our database,” Steibel explained.
The next version of the product, which is scheduled for release in September, will allow full-function key support on the keyboard, according to Shapiro.
He added that another version of the product is also on its way – ResQPalm – which will allow users to access their mainframe from a Palm Pilot. Eventually the version will be available for all kinds of PDAs. It is expected to be available in June.
Pricing for the ResQPortal works out to be US$30,000 which includes all that is required: the server component; the customization studio, which allows users to customize the screens; installation; training; and a number of concurrent user licences to get started. While all of this is available to Canadians, the “only addition to the US$30,000 is travel and expenses” for training, according to Shapiro.
ResQNet can be reached at www.resqnet.com.