Understanding ZIETrans application development

ZIETrans enables you to use an iterative approach to application development. You can start with a simple configuration and add refinements as you are ready. You can test each change as you make it using the test environment of Rational® SDP. Most changes can be seen by a simple refresh of the ZIETrans transformation. You can make modifications if needed and save your work before you proceed to the next change. This section describes one possible sequence of steps that you can use to design and develop your ZIETrans application. You can go as far down this path as you like and stop at any point along the way.

  1. Begin by creating a ZIETrans application that uses all of the defaults and instantly see all of your host screens rendered in a GUI. Default rendering can render your host screens in a way that preserves the original layout of the screen and automatically adds GUI controls, such as links, buttons, and tables, to improve user productivity.
  2. Create a template that matches your company's Web pages, or other company applications, and see all of your host screens rendered with your company appearance. You can start with, and modify, one of the templates supplied with ZIETrans, or for ZIETrans Web applications you can import your company's web site as a template. See Using templates for more information. Now your ZIETrans application matches the style and colors of your company's Web pages or other corporate applications.
  3. Configure project-level (application-wide) settings and see how much of your host application can be handled without configuring specific screens. You can change project-level characteristics under the various tabs of the Project Settings editor. See Modifying a ZIETrans project for more information. For example, try making a few changes such as:
    • Change default rendering to render a selection list as a drop-down list. This will change all selection lists to drop-down lists.
    • Create one or more global rules to configure the way ZIETrans transforms the input fields on your host screens. For example, change date fields to calendar widgets or location fields to drop-down lists.
    • Use text replacement to change one or more strings that appear on your host screens. For example, you might change the word signon to logon.
    • Look at the way your host screens are transformed. Are there elements that appear on most screens that you want to see transformed differently? Those might be candidates for modifying the settings of some components (to change how host components are recognized) or widgets (to change how the GUI controls are rendered on the transformation). You can change these settings at the project level to establish defaults to be used on your host screens. You can also change the settings for individual instances of components and widgets when you add them to transformations. For more information see Rendering.
  4. Create screen-level events to recognize specific host screens and trigger a set of actions to be performed.
    • If you use BMS maps, you can start by importing your BMS map sets to create screen captures for your host screens. Otherwise, use the ZIETrans host terminal function to connect to the host application and create screen captures for the specific screens you want to recognize and act upon. Then from each screen capture, create a screen event.
    • Use the Create a Screen Customization wizard to customize some of the host screens to simplify them, remove unused items, and automatically extract and populate data to simplify user input. Provide screen-specific GUI controls for a higher degree of productivity for the user. For more information see Working with screen events.
    • It is a common requirement to be able to gather data from multiple host screens and present it in a single output page, or to provide a single input page, which then supplies multiple host screens with data. ZIETrans provides several methods for performing these operations. The different methods include the use of screen combinations, screen customizations, transformations, macros, global variables, and Integration Objects. Which method you use depends upon the operation to be performed and the location of the data. For starters, try using the Create a Screen Combination wizard to combine data that does not all fit on a single host screen and display it in a single output page. For more information, see Combining screens and Working with screen events.
  5. Create simple macros to aid the user in navigating the host application. Macros can be used to perform skip-screen functions, to prompt users for input data, or to extract data from one or more host screens. For more information, see Macros and host terminal.
  6. For Web applications, create Integration Objects, which are built from macros and are Java™ beans that encapsulate interactions with a host application. Then use the Integration Objects to create Model 1, Struts, or JavaServer Faces (JSF) Web pages to drive interactions with your host application. You can also run Integration Objects from your own Java business logic or extend them to provide Enterprise JavaBeans (EJB) or Web services interfaces to your host application. For more information, see Using Integration Objects.