Another look in the i at an alternative
October 18, 2006
Some online news resources are just discovering that IBM has taken down HP 3000s in some places. Search400.com, which sometimes writes original articles instead of just pointing at news from other sources, ran an article today about the news that Flax Art shifted from HP 3000 to the IBM System i servers.
As news, it's a bit stale. Flax made its move in the winter of 2003-4, mostly because the IT director there was fed up with HP's departure from the 3000 marketplace. We took note of the Flax story in this blog last summer, and the 2005 news even ran in a special "iSeries Update" issue the NewsWire printed in the summer of 2004.
But "new to me" is one reason for writing a story, so we'll use it to update our migrating readers about IBM's alternative to the 3000. The server had a smaller third quarter in 2006 than in 2005, with sales down 22 percent from the prior year's quarter. HP has often told customers who consider the System i (known as the AS400, iSeries and i5 over the past five years) that IBM couldn't hold together the market or community around this server and its applications.
IBM has other things to say. It's helping a new "i Society" social network take off, one that smacks of the connectivity of MySpace, according to the System i press. Last week IBM released a special entry-level version of its System i 520 with SAP installed, ready to compete on price and performance with Windows server solutions running SAP. This is not a community declining at anything close to the rate of HP's withdrawal from the 3000 community. Several HP 3000 mainstay ISVs do business in the System i market, too.
Among those mainstays, Minisoft recently announced that its version 6.7 of eFormz added support for color printing, and runs on any Java platform. Yes, that's the HP 3000 and MPE/iX; but it's also the System i, and Windows, Unix, Linux, HP/UX, AIX and Solaris
Much like AttachmateWRQ embraced the AS400 community, Minisoft is supporting applications popular at places like Flax (Commercialware) as well as those at HP 3000 sites (Ecometry, still supporting many MPE/iX shops).
To nobody's surprise, computer choices are usually about the applications. Unless an IT manager feels abandoned by his vendor, and another integrated system offers a competitive application. That's Flax Art's story.
As for eFORMz, which eliminates the need for pre-printed forms and merges with output from any software application, the new version adds
- Forms fill-in feature allowing data entry into eFORMz.
- Populate forms directly from a database with instant data retrieval.
- Internal SORT feature allowing you to choose between:
- ascending or descending order
- sort individual forms and/or selected text within a print file
- sort key option resulting in very little overhead
- Ability to read PDF formatted files as text files.
- Support for PCL, PDF, XML, and EFD (eFORMz Document Files) output.
- Edit Unix script files directly from the eFORMz Composer.
- Drag and Drop features allowing text and barcode images to be positioned precisely on a page.
- eDirect, the email, faxing, and archiving module included with eFORMz.