Congratulations on your choice of Net Express, the most productive tool for developing distributed applications. Net Express is a complete, integrated development environment for Internet applications. You can create Web forms, and generate a complete working program to handle them. Then you simply add your business logic to the program. You can also generate a complete Web application from an existing application.
Net Express has all the tools and facilities to create, develop, build and test Web applications. It even includes a personal Web server.
You can also use Net Express for developing distributed applications that have a Windows user interface.
Net Express also enables you to use new component-based technologies like Microsoft's COM/DCOM and ActiveX, OMG's CORBA-based technologies, and Sun Microsystems' Java Beans to build enterprise components.
In this book, we will generally simply say "Windows" as an abbreviation for Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows 2000, and/or Windows NT 4.0.
Apart from this Getting Started book, all the documentation is online only. You get to it from the Windows Start menu, or from Net Express's Help menu. This Getting Started book is both online and in printed book form. All necessary instructions for installing Net Express are displayed by the installation utility, Setup.
Let's start with a brief description of the major parts of Net Express. Once you're familiar with these you will be ready to start using Net Express. The chapters Using Net Express onward are a tutorial that takes you through all the major parts:
The main window, with pulldown menus, in which you edit, compile and debug your code, and via which you access most of the Net Express tools. This is often referred to as the IDE, for Integrated Development Environment.
A file detailing all the files in your application, and how they should be compiled and linked. A project is very easy to create, and enables you to compile and link the entire application with a single mouse-click. You should create a project for every application, even the simplest.
A set of tools that enable you to convert, browse, edit and create data files used by an application. You can examine data files to see how an application has updated them, or create and edit a file to provide test data for an application. Files can be in any COBOL format and you can view them at both the record and field levels.
The tool you use for creating the user interfaces for your Web applications. You specify your Web forms, and it generates the necessary files.
The tool you use to create Web applications. It does virtually all the writing of HTML pages and coding of COBOL to handle these pages for you. You can create an application in three ways:
A WYSIWYG form editor, which you use to design forms for your Web-based applications.
Web server software to run on your own computer. You use it for testing your Web applications.
The tool you use to create Windows-based applications. You use this to create a screenset, in which details of windows and dialog boxes are stored, and to generate a COBOL program to handle them.
The tool you use to design windows and dialog boxes for your Windows-based applications. You can also write procedures for handling events.
A popular Source Code Control System (SCCS). It gives multiple users controlled access to source code stored centrally on a server. It stores changes in the form of deltas so that it can re-create successive versions of a file. Net Express includes most of the commonly used functionality of PVCS.
The tool you use to deploy Net Express applications to a UNIX server. It also provides tools to allow the complete development of UNIX applications using Net Express.
SQL Option enables you to include a DB2 application in a Net Express project. You can also maintain a DB2 database using an interactive tool, the SQL Wizard. You can compile your DB2 application, edit it, and debug it in a DB2 environment on your PC. You can also compile, edit and debug your DB2 application against the mainframe itself.
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