Screensurfer - General Availability Announced

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With free Web download, developers can give 3270 applications a quick, easy 3270-to-HTML face-lift and enhancement - at

BURLINGTON, Mass. -- April 20, 1998 -- iE, a leading provider of Web development tools and services, today introduced its new Screensurfer 3270-to-Web development tool, the first and only 3270 solution to be made available to developers as a free Web download from . Leveraging the company's proven track record in legacy-to-Web connectivity, iE created Screensurfer to provide developers with a high-performance, secure, low-cost, and easy-to-use Web gateway which leverages non-proprietary HTML and JavaScript to deliver 3270-based applications and information to clients via any standard Web browser.

"We designed Screensurfer to be the easiest product for a developer to obtain and begin using to enhance 3270 screens immediately," said Bill Thorne, Screensurfer Group VP at iE. "It naturally fits 3270 access into normal Web browser functions, such as being able to use the back button, and automatically creates links. In addition, Screensurfer takes advantage of developers' current skill sets by utilizing HTML and JavaScript. No other 3270-to-Web tool out there offers this kind of ease and functionality."

Blue Cross and Blue Shield National Capital Area in Washington, D.C. has been beta testing Screensurfer to webify more than 1000 CICS 3270 screens for its customer service department. "We were able to almost instantly convert more than 700 customer information screens just by plugging them into Screensurfer," says Peter Longden, senior systems advisor for Blue Cross and Blue Shield. "With Web delivery and a user-friendly and intuitive functionality, we anticipate that our customer service department will be able to significantly reduce training time and overall department costs."

The business benefits of converting 3270 screens into Web-based applications are numerous. By using Screensurfer to deliver 3270 information via any standard Web browser, applications and information can be accessed from any client, thus reducing workstation support costs in addition to overall ROI from increased productivity. Blue Cross and Blue Shield's previous 3270 system required customer service representatives to understand and memorize coding, and there was significant redundancy in filling out customer information. According to Longden, the new system addresses these issues with pull-down menus and automated screen enhancements. The new browser pages were simple to build with Screensurfer using HTML and JavaScript, aided by prompts and customizable wizards. "For those 3270 screens requiring enhancements, we can now actually create them in an average of 15 minutes," says Longden.

Screensurfer provides enhanced 3270-to-HTML protocol conversion with both SNA and TN3270 support. The product's HTML templates are easy to learn and intuitive wizards and scripts enable quick screen formatting and standardization. End-users benefit from the standard HTTP Web server port access and can maintain connection and re-connection to a host system at any time from a unique bookmarkable URL generated by Screensurfer. Browser-based administration and customization give systems administrators the ability to view any active session, interact with user screens if necessary, and create password/ID security protection. For developers, Screensurfer offers robust functionality including:

  • A DevCenter on an administration HTTP port
  • Compiled HTML templates for high speed performance
  • Ability to generate, compile and test in one frame
  • Extensible JavaScript wizards

"More and more companies are looking for an easy 3270-to-Web solution to reduce costs," says Tim Sloane, director of messaging application research at Aberdeen Group. "By enhancing user interfaces and delivering 3270 data via the Web, a company can greatly improve its productivity. This approach makes desktop deployment much easier, and also lowers training costs while enabling self-help solutions."

Performance and Security

Screensurfer's goal was to become the fastest 3270-to-web gateway available. With its compiled template technology, Screensurfer avoids costly text merging during user requests, enabling renovation of even the busiest screens without any runtime performance impact. In addition, the server-based solution provides direct management of hundreds to thousands of concurrent 3270 transactions with very small memory requirements. Performing as an NT service, Screensurfer is integrated with Microsoft Windows NT for compatibility with systems management products.

Screensurfer naturally integrates with existing host-based security systems such as RACF. Screensurfer applications can easily implement additional levels of authentication and authorizations, including restricting access by client IP address and blocking access to any but a specific set of identified screens.

"By supporting SNA Server directly through the same API used by Microsoft's TN3270 service, we are as efficient as possible -- enabling those organizations who have not yet developed their host TCP/IP infrastructure to also leverage web browser technology," says Thorne.

Pricing, Platform and Availability

The Screensurfer developer download is available for free via the Web at . Using little more than one megabyte, Screensurfer can be downloaded quickly. Screensurfer runs on Windows/NT 4.0 and supports SNA Server and Internet standard TN3270. Product and support is available via the Web as of April 20, 1998.

About Screensurfer

Screensurfer is a general purpose Web gateway for screen-based host applications that allows developers to quickly and easily re-package 3270-based screens and information as enhanced HTML pages. Using Screensurfer, organizations can easily provide access to 3270-based screens and information from any standard Web browser. A free developer download of Screensurfer is available at .

About iE

iE ( provides solutions that enable our customers to gain advantage from information assets via web technology.

The iE legacy integration software and advanced technology services have enabled clients in financial services, government, telecommunications, utilities, manufacturing, distribution, travel, and retail industries to deploy business critical applications through the power of the Internet, Java, and object technology. From headquarters in Burlington, Mass. and London, UK, the company distributes its products in 20 countries, and has sold over 10,000 licenses worldwide. Founded in 1985, iE is a public company, quoted on the London Stock Exchange (AIM) as IEN.


NOTE TO EDITORS: Screensurfer and iE Integrator are trademarks of iE. All other trademarks and registered trademarks mentioned herein are properties of their respective holders.

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