I manage several development teams, and we have a couple of large applications utilizing Natural. One of the challenges we face (like everyone else) is providing a better interface (versus 3270) for our customers. We have some experience with EntireX, and have looked at utilizing that as a mechanism to leverage our existing skill sets while being able to put a ‘modern’ (browser-based) inteface on the front-end. We are also looking at the other end of the spectrum like moving towards a BPMS solution.
One suggestion was to do something like the following. Inject a call to COBOL/CICS in between Natural and a Java-based front-end. This solution seems similarly (but less advanced than EntireX). If I understand the proposed solution, it is something like:
Natural calls a COBOL/CICS object. To ‘kill’ the map, one has to use SET CONTROL ‘QO’ and possibly do some type of DUMMY input (i.e. this will cause the map to not be displayed, but allow an INPUT to occur so that data could be transferred in the process). I think it looks something like this:
Java Web Page <-----> CICS <-------> COBOL <----------> Natural
Forgive my lack of understanding, as I don’t really understand what is being proposed. I was provided something like the following:
NATURAL provides a mechanism to allow a CICS connection. This is a “DUMMY INPUT” that will replace the existing INPUT and allows a call to CICS directly. For example:
CALL ‘COBOL-SEND’ USING MAPDATA SET CONTROL ‘QO’ INPUT ‘DUMMY’ CALL ‘COBOL-RECEIVE’ USING MAPDATA
Is anybody really doing this, or have you tried?