Test Drive of Javelin
Shawn M. Gordon
What it can do?
Have you ever wanted to open up a terminal to your HP 3000 out of a web browser? Maybe you tried telnet and noticed that while you can connect and do some basic things, you can’t get any good emulation. Javelin from MiniSoft allows you to do exactly that. Javelin is a java applet that is a full featured terminal emulator in just 100k of space.
This connection get’s you pretty much everything you need for working on the HP 3000. It includes full terminal emulation for character and block mode as well as local printing capability. The only thing it doesn’t support that the standard MiniSoft emulator doesn’t seems to be the ability to do file transfers, and a scripting language. For most applications this shouldn’t be an issue.
How does it work?
By either setting up a web site that contains a link to the Javelin start up HTML, or by dragging the HTML and dropping it into Internet Explorer you can start up Javelin. It will make the connection to your HP based on whatever configuration information you have defined in the HTML file. After a few moments of starting up, you will be presented with your emulator window, see figure 1 for an example of Javelin running Glance on the HP 3000.
The details of how this all works eludes me, but I was pretty impressed by the ability to get an HP terminal emulator running with just 100k of Java code.
As already mentioned, Javelin can make either Telnet or NSVT connections to your HP. All that is required is for you to use the appropriate HTML file so that the correct portion of the applet is used. In both cases you can modify the sample HTML files that are provided however you wish, but all you should need to do is add the IP address that you are concerned with. Here is what the NSVT example looks like with my IP address in it.
As you can see, this is pretty straight forward, there isn’t a lot of data here. You can configure color as well in the HTML file, but everything else needs to be configured in the Javelin configuration file.
The Javelin configuration file let’s you configure about 20 other parameters such as a default logon so the user is immediatly logged on, display rows, load the user function keys, default printer information, etc. This is actually a good point, the Javelin emulator allows for local printing. This might seem trivial, but it’s a huge issue. The neat thing about the LOGIN verb is that you you can send up to 6 commands. The limit of 6 seems rather odd and arbitrary, but it would allow you to do something like log on, stream a job, and log off without the user ever having to get involved.
The developers of Javelin hold an Encrypted Digital Software Publishing Certificate issued by Verisign. This certificate is attached to the Javelin cabinet file using Microsoft’s Authenticode technology. This protects the file from unauthorized modifycation by a third party. The point is that Javelin is fully SSL compliant and is extremely secure.
When the browser runs Javelin, it notifies the user and gives the user the optioni to run or not to run the applet. This technology enables Javelin to bypass the restirction in Java that would otherwise prevent it from accessing hosts other than the one that downloaded Javelin.
There is a fascinating development in process at MiniSoft called the Javelin Designer. The idea behind this product is to allow you to surround your conventional applications written in COBOL/VIEW, Powerhouse, Speedware, etc., with graphics and sound and make them available via the web inside of Javelin. The designer would create HTML code that would support all of these functions and features and basically hide the application that is really running behind the scenes.
I did not have an opportunity to look at the Javelin Designer in time to get this review out, but the product will be available by the end of the year.
Installation and Documentation
You can either download the demo from the web, have MiniSoft email it to you, or have them send you an actual diskette. The installation can be confusing, but all you have to do is put their sample HTML file on your web site with the appropriate link, and you are done. The applet is only about 100k in size.
The documentation is very clear, concise and well organized. You should have no trouble installing, configuring and using the applet.
I had the software emailed to me and it took me just a couple of minutes to install it, edit the config file for my ip address, bring up IE and then drop the sample HTML file into IE. My emulator came up and I logged on. What I was most interested in was faithful emulation and scroll speed. The scroll speed isn’t bad, but it’s not amazing. The typical use for this type of app would be someone that is running applications on the HP so the scrolling shouldn’t be an issue.
To test emulation support I first ran Glance to see how Javelin handled it’s rather odd interface. I was able to bounce around all through the application without a problem. Next I ran some programs that use my pseudo-windowing driver for a window. This driver makes use of just about every display escape sequence you can possibly name, so it’s always a good exercise. Again, I had no problems at all, all the cursor control stuff was sensed as well as the FCONTROL calls to perform various functions on the terminal.
Finally I tried running NMMGR as an example of funky block mode. This worked just fine as well. The thing you have to keep in mind with block mode however is that Javelin will let you define the two enter keys on a PC keyboard to be either “Enter” or “Return”, but you can’t split their meaning so that the numeric keypad one means one thing and the alphanumeric one means something else. This is true as long as I understood the doc correctly.
I’ve got to say that I was impressed. This thing really worked well and I can see environments where it could definitly solve a variety of connectivity issues. This opens up a lot of possibilities for creating web based applications that don’t need to be web based applications, you just have to fire off Javelin and connect and run your app.
This is exactly the idea that is behind the proposed Javelin Designer that I spoke about. This has the ability to create nice looking web based front ends to legacy systems without changing anything about the way the legacy application works. It’s a very thin client because all you have to do is paint the screen and pass very minimal amounts of data.
Javelin does what it advertises to do, and it does it well. I’ll be looking at ReflectionEnterView from WRQ next month, which is their java based emulator, so watch for the comparisons.
Javelin version 2.0E
1024 First St.
Snohomish, WA 98290
The Javelin applet is downloaded from your web server, so only one copy is required on your web server. Javelin will require that telnet be running on your HP 3000 to make telnet connections, otherwise NSVT is all that is required.
The pricing is based on a standard emulator model and breaks down as, 1 copy $169.00, 10 concurrent user license $1,590.00, 25 concurrent user license $3,875.00, 50 concurrent user license $7,450.00, 100 concurrent user license $12,900.00, Unlimited use license $30,000.00. The Javelin Designer will be a one time cost of $3,000.00 to $7,000.00 per servlet. Most sites will only need the one servlet. Support is 20% of the purchase price per year and includes phone in, electronic support and new releases of the software. All prices are in US dollars.