Where to Start?

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gwilburn
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Aug 23, 2019 10:21 pm

Where to Start?

Post by gwilburn » Wed Dec 11, 2019 8:34 am

I'm an RPG programming that purchased Lansa VLF (ONE) and RAMP to modernize our company's 5250 ERP application. Some time ago I started the V14 SP1a Lansa Fundamentals online training curriculum. We've had some work done by "consultants", without going into details I may need to complete the unfinished project.

So I stepped back into the training... reviewed what I had already went through, and tried to apply this to our DEV envornment. I feel completely overwhelmed by this IDE. Almost nothing makes sense to me.

Is this the right place to start? It seems like the tutorial is for writing new applications from scratch. I'm simply trying to create a framework over our existing customer service database (navigation, lists, and panels) to eventually land on our existing 5250 applications for adding/editing customers and orders.

Are these tools really this difficult to understand and use?

jyoung
Posts: 660
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2016 6:43 am
Location: Oklahoma City, OK USA

Re: Where to Start?

Post by jyoung » Wed Dec 11, 2019 9:19 am

I think it all depends on your frame of reference and what you "grew up" on.

I came from the .NET world of web development and thought wow, this is much easier then all the HTML, CSS, Javascript, C#, Application Frameworks and Libraries you have to know.

I've seen RPG programmers coming into LANSA get completely lost in all the moving parts it takes to build a web app.

You mention purchasing VLF-ONE and RAMP.

My suggestion would be to start with plain VLWeb (not VLF-ONE or RAMP). Once you get an idea of what is going on and where code goes i.e. reusable parts and server modules, you can start to see the benefits VLF-ONE brings.

As with everything, it gets easier with practice, do the tutorials about creating new apps from scratch. That will give you an idea on how to navigate around and use the IDE. Then take a SIMPLE table in your environment and create a SIMPLE maintenance VLWEB app for it (even if you throw it away). Basically re-do the tutorials but with YOUR data.

After that start exploring VLF.

Regarding RAMP, We have it, but we don't use it so I can't speak much about it. I know RAMP is supposed to make modernization easier/faster, but frankly I don't get it. I've tried read the docs on it but it never clicked as to why I would I do then instead of just building in VLF-ONE from the start.

Hope this helps,
Joe

bark
Posts: 28
Joined: Thu Jan 05, 2017 9:56 am

Re: Where to Start?

Post by bark » Wed Dec 11, 2019 2:57 pm

I endorse JYoungs approach. There's no getting away from the fact that if you are new to LANSA, you will have to do some learning and the tutorials would be the best way of gaining understanding and confidence. Get on the latest version of VL and go straight to vl web, which is what VLF-One piggy backs on. Doing this will also help you with navigating around the IDE.
Don't forget there is also some RAMP tutorials
https://docs.lansa.com/14/en/lansa050/i ... 050FP_0290
There is an initial concepts video and explainer to get you started.
Good luck!

gwilburn
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Aug 23, 2019 10:21 pm

Re: Where to Start?

Post by gwilburn » Thu Dec 12, 2019 1:04 am

Thanks for the detailed replies... I'm not sure what you mean by VL Web versus VLF-ONE? The tutorials I started a year ago were for VLF-ONE... maybe I started in the wrong place?

I will explore the link on the RAMP tutorials as well... I just wasn't sure where to begin. Since I have some "work" that was already started, I think that is part of the confusion. When I look at the repository objects, it looks like a complete and total mess to me. In fact, I'm not even sure I'm looking at the latest work that has been "done for me".

Can I ask if you all are software developers or end users (like me).

atostaine
Posts: 460
Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2016 7:38 am

Re: Where to Start?

Post by atostaine » Thu Dec 12, 2019 4:03 am

gwilburn wrote:
Thu Dec 12, 2019 1:04 am
Can I ask if you all are software developers or end users (like me).
You're an end user? Ramp has a learning curve for experienced developers.
Art Tostaine

gwilburn
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Aug 23, 2019 10:21 pm

Re: Where to Start?

Post by gwilburn » Thu Dec 12, 2019 5:22 am

atostaine wrote:
Thu Dec 12, 2019 4:03 am
gwilburn wrote:
Thu Dec 12, 2019 1:04 am
Can I ask if you all are software developers or end users (like me).
You're an end user? Ramp has a learning curve for experienced developers.
I've been developing in RPG for 20+ years... When I said "end-user" I meant that I'm only developing applications specific to my company. I'm not developing software for resale.

atostaine
Posts: 460
Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2016 7:38 am

Re: Where to Start?

Post by atostaine » Thu Dec 12, 2019 5:44 am

gwilburn wrote:
Thu Dec 12, 2019 1:04 am
Thanks for the detailed replies... I'm not sure what you mean by VL Web versus VLF-ONE? The tutorials I started a year ago were for VLF-ONE... maybe I started in the wrong place?
VL-Web is easy to write a "hello world" type of app before you start with VLF-One that adds a whole framework of other events, methods, etc.

Write a VL-web program that asks for a customer# (or something) and shows the details, then add an update button to save the changes. Then do a field visualization for a field (state for instance). See how the combo box list fires events when entries are added, when it's clicked. Then I'd try as many of the controls that you can. Button sets, all of the list types, panels, etc.

Art
Art Tostaine

Tim McEntee
Posts: 12
Joined: Thu May 26, 2016 8:46 am

Re: Where to Start?

Post by Tim McEntee » Mon Dec 16, 2019 2:00 pm

Hi

You say you purchased VLF-ONE and RAMP to use over your existing database. RAMP is the tool that is used to help show the important RPG screens to the end user within the VLF, while hiding (and automatically navigating past) the unnecessary menu and work with screens.

VLF-One is the framework that allows you to quickly build a navigation model, menus, business objects and command tabs. This last one is where your 5250 screens would reside. It is not a programming tool. Things that you program elsewhere are snapped in here.

VL/Web is the LANSA programming language. You can do lots with this. It is very sophisticated and also easy to use. You will need at a minimum to be able to build a simple program called a filter, which has some input fields and a button which talks to the server to get your data, and it then needs to talks to the VLF via apis to build up your result list.

Lastly there is aXes. This is the 5250 emulator. You will need to learn how to identify screens and fields within screens. You can take this further and paint your 5250 screens to use drop downs, radio buttons, switches etc.

A RAMP project will overwhelm people if not tackled in steps.

Look at aXes, get familiar with identifying a few screens in a navigation path, menus, work with and the final destination screen(s). You could try something that does not require a filter to be written, so you can look at the VL/Web component after you have successfully got a 5250 screen showing in the VLF

The next step would be to Build your business object in the VLF and add the command tabs that you would expect for that object.

Then use RAMP to classify the aXes screens that you identified earlier as hidden junctions or displayed destinations.

Next use RAMP to choreograph the robot to enable the automatic navigation.

The RAMP tutorial covers all of this.

Best of luck. If you require any more advice don't hesitate to ask.

Tim

gwilburn
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Aug 23, 2019 10:21 pm

Re: Where to Start?

Post by gwilburn » Tue Dec 17, 2019 1:33 am

Thanks for the reply Tim... that helps a lot.

All of my 5250 destinations are "callable" from the command line (I would rather not deal with menu navigation at all). I experimented with Axes two years ago before the purchase.

My problem is that we had someone do the initial development... so it's very confusing looking at an unfinished, broken application (especially from the perspective a new-to-Lansa developer).

I have to finish another project first. But after that I'll be following the advice from the replies here in an attempt to salvage this project.

Thanks.

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