Oklahoma City-based SofTouch Systems Inc is pinning its future hopes on Crossplex, its back end agent that enables users to web- enable legacy, 3270 applications, and has duly announced the latest version. CrossPlex version 1.2 for OS/390 provides automatic conversion of host-based 3270 application formats to the HyperText Markup Language, enabling legacy users to Web enable their systems without program development or modifications. CrossPlex uses IBM Corp’s Front End Processing Interface to create a virtual environment in which users can execute existing legacy applications.
A middleware processing agent enables execution of legacy transactions in VTAM applications and also reformats 3270 datastreams into usable messages. The processor can then retrieve the relevant information from legacy transactions, presenting them in a single request as an integrated application on the web, exploiting the web browser’s graphic user interface. CrossPlex runs on MVS, CICS/ESA version 3.3 or greater. Formed in 1983, SofTouch’s early products covered areas such as session management and data compression; its first software on the market included two session management programmes for 3270 devices. CICS Juggler and CICS Windows (no relation to the ubiquitous Microsoft product) were designed to let users access a 3270 database via a dumb terminal. Today SofTouch provides a range of products for OS/2 and CICS including UniMaint; an OS/2 Uninstaller and FileStar/2; an object orientated file manager for OS/2. However, the company regards CrossPlex as its main hope for the future due to the large scale investment in legacy systems which has taken place over the last 20 years and the need to web enable these systems. SofTouch is in ongoing ‘consultative collaboration’ with IBM and hopes its new product will fill an important gap in the company’s OS/390 and Network Station market. Lyle Henry, SofTouch’s vice-president of sales and marketing, says the company is looking toward further developing Crossplex for use with other tools like MS FrontPage and WordPerfect for web page design. The company is also hoping to partner up with several firms to do front-end work, including Java-specialists Blue Lobster Software Inc and web server makers Beyond Software Inc.