HUD uses WinBatch launcher to connect to mainframe apps

The Housing and Urban Development Department has found a software launcher that
simplifies connecting to mainframe applications and improves desktop PC productivity.

WinBatch from Wilson WindowWare Inc. of Seattle can perform pre- and post-actions when
calling an executable file, said Douglas R. Reese, a HUD computer specialist.

Reese said WinBatch starts up internally developed applications as well as commercial
apps for computer-aided design, online research and travel management. It also launches
Sybase PowerBuilder and Microsoft SQL Server database applications, he said.

WinBatch checks PCs running Microsoft Windows 95 for the components each is supposed to
have, Reese said. It can install missing components and preload .exe files required by a
targeted application. WinBatch also checks to make sure a user is not double-loading the
same program.

It can determine whether a user has rights to run software from a remote file server.
If so, it attaches and runs the software and then detaches the user from the remote

HUD software developers can set implementation standards through WinBatch by using
templates, Reese said. Coolgen, a HUD-developed program, has a template that launches the
client manager, checks the user’s mainframe identification, launches the app and
closes the client manager.

The WinBatch compiler and interpreter reside on a 133-MHz Dell Computer Corp. file
server with 64M of RAM running Novell NetWare 3.2. The code in WinBatch scripts is
compiled into .exe files on a development server and installed on the users’ file
servers. HUD users launch the script executable through shortcuts associated with their
applications in the Win95 Start menu, Reese said.

HUD does not allow icons for each application on the desktop PC because “it would
get too jumbled,” Reese said, although users can set their own desktop designs. The
Windows Start menu instead groups apps by local, office and program categories.

The department purchased an unlimited WinBatch license for $1,000; it would cost $2,400
to $4,000 today, Reese said.

HUD started using WinBatch for Windows 3.1 about five years ago. After a migration to
Win95 in 1997, the department’s software developers had to tweak and recompile much
of the code because some of the commands did not work well, Reese said.

Contact Wilson WindowWare at 206-938-2734.  


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