Visual RPG Classic
ASNA Visual RPG® 5.0: an RPG compiler for Microsoft COM
20 years old and still ticking!
ASNA Visual RPG for COM (AVR Classic) was introduced in 1994. In those 20 years, AVR Classic has been used around the world by thousands of RPG programmers to create graphical Windows-based application with real-time read/write connectivity to the IBM i (and the AS/400-i Series-System i generations that preceded IBM i) and Microsoft SQL Server platforms.
With the advent of .NET and the availability of ASNA Visual RPG for .NET in 2003, demand for COM development tools has dropped substantially. For today's new development needs, ASNA Visual RPG for .NET is superior in many ways to AVR Classic. That said, many ASNA customers have an enterprise dependence on legacy AVR Classic applications. For these customers, the continued use of AVR Classic is critical.
The demise of Windows XP
Microsoft discontinued support for Windows XP in the spring of 2014. While this doesn't mean that Windows XP simply quit working then, it does mean that Microsoft has stopped providing hotfixes and updates to Windows XP. This means that Windows XP users run an increased chance of malware and viruses. AVR Classic didn't run on Windows 8 platforms and only had meager Windows 7-bit deployment support, so in advance of the demise of Windows XP, ASNA updated AVR Classic one last time to version 5.0. AVR Classic 5.0 provides full Windows 7 and Windows 8 support. If you're using Windows XP, we strongly recommend upgrading to Windows 7 or Windows 8. And if you're using AVR Classic, upgrade to AVR Classic 5.0 as soon as possible.
A gentle nudge
The image of the watch that leads this article is apt. AVR Classic has been at work around the world for thousands of customers for a long time and just keeps right on ticking. The advent of AVR Classic 5.0 provides AVR Classic a renewed lease on life in the Windows 7/8 world. However, another timepiece-inspired image for AVR Classic is also apt: the hourglass to the left showing time running out.
life won't last forever!
No one really knows how much longer the COM platform will continue to be a viable platform for hosting AVR applications. However, we do know that AVR Classic 5.0 works well with all flavors of Windows 7 and Windows 8, and will very soon for Windows 10.
Other pressing issues for owners of AVR Classic apps is the disappearance of the third-party COM marketplace and the increased challenge of finding qualified COM programmers. Virtually every major vendor that provided ActiveX/OCX custom controls at the height of COM popularity has since gone away (FarPoint, Sheridan, and Mabry to name a few). COM ecosystem erosion is a factor in the long-term considerations for your AVR Classic apps. COM programmers, especially those familiar with AVR Classic, are very hard to find. Without them, maintaining or updating an AVR Classic app is quite a challenge.
The ASNA .NET Upgrade Assistant
In the longer term, it's important for AVR Classic customers to acknowledge that AVR Classic won't persist forever— due to external forces beyond our control. How COM's destiny plays out in the upcoming versions of Windows is unknown. Given this unknown, the demise of the ActiveX/OCX eco system, and COM programming talent being hard to find, we think it's prudent that you craft a plan to ultimately upgrade or replace your AVR Classic apps.
You might want to rewrite the AVR Classic apps as browser based apps with AVR for .NET or you might want to port them as Windows apps to .NET with the ASNA Upgrade Assistant, which is included with AVR Classic 5.0. The Upgrade Assistant prepares an AVR for .NET bootstrap application from which you can start porting your Classic Windows application to Visual RPG for .NET. The .NET platform is very different from the COM platform and programmer input is needed to fully port an AVR Classic app to AVR for .NET. The Upgrade Assistant does provide a jump-start to the porting process.
The ASNA worldwide Services Team has experience in upgrading and replacing AVR Classic apps. Use the "Ask us a question" button to ask us about how we can help you craft a long-term plan for your legacy AVR Classic apps.