Surround Technologies - Software at the Speed of Business

Media Giant Mobilizes Sales Force with
Accelerator for Visual LANSA

Entire Sales Application Modernized

The Challenge | The Solution | The Benefits | Conclusion

When a major media giant needed a way to mobilize their sales force by porting their iSeries advertising sales database to a Windows application, they turned to Visual LANSA. And when they realized they needed to make their new Visual LANSA application user-friendly and intuitive with a consistent look and feel across the application, they turned to Surround Technologies’ Accelerator for Visual LANSA.

The Challenge

This media conglomerate – whose worldwide operations include newspapers, broadcasting, the Internet and various other publishing and marketing venues – was not new to LANSA.

They had been writing AS/400 applications in LANSA for about five years.

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Accelerator for Visual LANSA
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But for their order-entry advertising sales system, they wanted a client/server application with synchronized databases. With this type of application, the sales staff could mobilize with laptops, pulling all their advertising pricing information off standalone databases. At the same time, they wanted to modernize their existing system so that both the iSeries and standalone applications used the same user interface, same programs and same database structure.

Visual LANSA provided the multi-platform deployment this company needed, and it integrated well with their existing LANSA repository database.

The developers dug into rewriting their application in Visual LANSA. However, it was not long before they realized they had a problem. Being new to working in a visual environment, the developers had a difficult time designing the Windows-like user interface.

"The big thing was the consistency between the screens and the design of the screens," said the media company’s Project Manager, adding that the project was “slow-going” at first. Visual LANSA provided them with the facilities to easily move from 5250 development to a Windows application development. However, the paradigm shift from a procedural environment to a true event driven environment with a graphical Windows user interface was difficult.

The inconsistently designed screens and clumsy feel of the application confused their users.

The Solution

The company’s project team contacted Surround Technologies, LLC, seeking consulting help to develop a professional Windows user interface. However, instead of receiving just VL developing services, the media company became the first customers of Surround Technologies’ newly-released Accelerator for Visual LANSA.

"Accelerator has a set of base components that form a customizable framework that can be used to develop any Visual LANSA application," according to Surround Technologies Founding Partner Lee Paul. "Accelerator allows developers to quickly generate shell systems with a standard Windows user interface that requires virtually no programming. The code generating wizards can then be used to quickly develop components that can be specific to your business and easily plugged into the system framework."

The Benefits

The media company’s developers were so impressed with Accelerator For Visual LANSA that they decided to take a step back in their project. Despite their tight deadline, they took the time to move all of their programs already developed in Visual LANSA into Accelerator.

“Even though we were on a tight deadline, we knew that would help bring structure that would help us in the future,” said the company’s director of application development involved in this project. “(Accelerator For Visual LANSA) has helped us standardize and deliver a very consistent look and feel to the application. We were relatively new to the GUI development environment, and the Accelerator helped make some decisions for us and make it (the application) clean from a user perspective. It enabled us to conform to a method.”

The company’s director of application development involved in this project estimated Accelerator for Visual LANSA gives them a 10 or 15 percent increase in productivity for each developer using it. “Everyone is more productive on Accelerator because they don’t have to reinvent the wheel,” he said.

When the project team finally rolled out their newly built application, it was simple to use and had the professional look and feel their users were seeking.


The media company’s management team plans to continue having their developers use Accelerator For Visual LANSA for future projects. “Anything that we do in VL, we will continue to use the Accelerator,” the company’s director of application development said. “We had a good experience under very, very tight windows and a stressful environment.”


Visual LANSA Accelerator A powerful development tool that helps the developer to easily and quickly design, implement, and maintain large scale and highly integrated systems with a consistent, standard, and feature-rich Graphical User Interfaces. All with virtually no manual programming.

Contact Management (CM) is designed to help companies manage and reference the information pertaining to the contacts in their organization. This includes phone numbers, mailing addresses, email addresses, web addresses, and much more.

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