What's New in Rational HATS 7.5.1?

Now that the latest is out in the wild, I'd like to show off some of the new features. This release includes a few new very high priority features that customers and business partners have been asking for. There are more features in the works (which I am well aware of but cannot disclose due to our NDA), that will come out in the next version (named either HATS 7.6 or HATS 8.0).

Upgrading to 7.5.1

This release is available via Passport Advantage, or if you already have 7.5.0.x installed, you can upgrade directly using Installation Manager. Keep in mind that the first time you load up your workspace after performing the upgrade, it WILL upgrade all your projects in your workspace automatically without prompting. 

New features

The first new feature is the inclusion of some new templates to make the UI look more like 2010 than 2001. This was a complaint many of us partners had - that although the tool could port a green screen to the internet with relative ease, it still looked dated for the web. The two new templates are 'Finance', and 'Industry'. The later is shown here below.

HATS has for some time supported mobile applications. These were specifically for the Windows Mobile IE, and not very pretty on other mobile platforms such as iPhone or Blackberry. The new iPhone support produces a slick UI. Most companies that want to have this functionality are also only going to want to surface applications behind their corporate firewall. This will require an AT&T service with a dedicated drop behind the firewall, or at least a VPN client for the iPhone so the iPhone users will be browsing from within the firewall. Those with Blackberry Enterprise Servers already have this functionality without any special VPN or dedicated lines. Creating an app targeted at the iPhone is as simple as selecting the "Optimize Options for Mobile Devices" on the project creation wizard.

Also new is client side AJAX support for pulling screen refreshes dynamically. Previously this was done using the "Asynchronous Applet", which is now deprecated. The applet was a signed Java applet that ran in the browser and refreshed the HTML automatically upon host screen refresh. This was useful in cases where a timer would update the green screen without user input, and those changes needed to be refreshed on the web browser. The caveat was that Java applet usage is widely disabled in browsers,  and the applet ran on random TCP/IP ports, giving network administrators headaches trying to track down the source of what they thought might be port scanning tool, or network hack. Now all this can be handled over common HTTP (port 80/443) traffic, with only minor additional traffic headaches. Many sites use Ajax now, and corporate fire walled sites increasingly so. This AJAX feature also handles that troublesome issue of when the user closed the browser, the host connection would stay alive. Now it kills the back end connection (which is configurable).

For those using macros to combine heterogeneous screen data, you can now pull non-text plane data such as information from the color, field, or DBCS planes. In otherwords, you can pull in a global variable such as "CYAN" from the color plane rather than just the text array. Field attributes can also be pulled in as extracts or global variables.

WebSphere Portal users now can have single sign on with JSR 168 HATS portlets. This was a nagging issue that forced many customers to stick with the IBM API portlets so they could manage SSO.

A new inline calendar widget provides a much improved feature that often was lost when popup dialog boxes were blocked in the browser. This inline widget uses CSS and DIV elements to dynamically open and close the calendar picker, even with popups disabled.
The Web Services signature is also much improved. No more extraneous properties - only the ones you need - mainly the prompts, extracts, and chaining properties (if any). This will make web services creation much simpler.

If you are interested in seeing more, I'll be two not one, but TWO presentations at IBM Innovate this year. The conference starts June 6th. App Developers get $100 discount w promo code MACT http://bit.ly/b5wHVn. This is a great conference for developers, testers, and IT architects. Hope to see you there!

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