CoStar Terminal Emulator FAQ

What is CoSTAR?

CoSTAR is powerful Terminal Emulator development tool that provides you with a 3-step rejuvenation process for your legacy application, including Auto-GUI, Client/Server, and Web-to-Host integration. With CoSTAR, the rejuvenation takes place without requiring any modifications to the existing code-base. The CoSTAR interface interacts directly with your host application, providing innovative rejuvenation capabilities while protecting the investment in your application.

How is CoSTAR different from tools like Visual Basic and Delphi?

Other development environments (products) are designed to completely re-create your application in a Windows® client/server format. This path is usually chosen to provide a Windows/NT or Windows/UNIX specific version of the application with a client/server oriented database product. Typically, the only piece of the legacy application salvaged in the re-write is the database information. And even that is only accessible through a gateway or warehouse product which can also add considerable costs.
This approach includes the following risks:

  • Typically, there is no support for a mixed-terminal-equipment and PC workstation environment.
  • New programming skills may be required.
  • These other products do not use the existing base of stable, de-bugged, and functionally robust code.
  • Long development cycles may be incurred.
  • Two sets of code (i.e., legacy and client/server) may need to be supported for many years.
  • End users may require more time to purchase new workstations, servers, etc., and introducing Windows literacy into the workforce may, in turn, push out revenue returns on your development efforts.

Why choose CoSTAR?

Your clients may be demanding Windows features, or your text-based applications may not be as robust as they could be without having access to Windows features. Or, you might want to add Windows client/server enhancements, Windows program data transfer, and other features that will add value to your text-based application products.

To meet any of these needs, you will undoubtedly have to explore Windows enhancement products. CoSTAR is an excellent choice to rejuvenate your application for the following reasons:

  • CoSTAR makes your application competitive with other Windows client/server products without totally re-developing your product.
  • CoSTAR is the lowest risk method for providing Windows features and adding client/server features to your existing application.
  • CoSTAR is the most cost-effective way to add client/server functionality to your existing application.
  • CoSTAR lets you preserve your existing stable code base.
  • CoSTAR lets your organization define a competitive enhancement path for your products without re-tooling your developer teams.
  • CoSTAR enhancements are transportable across all language and operating system environments.
  • CoSTAR lets you introduction client/server, event-driven tools, and expertise into your organization at your own controlled pace.
  • CoSTAR lets your application run in mixed Windows workstation and terminal environments.

How does CoSTAR enhance my application?

Using a 3-level rejuvenation process, the Co?STAR product family transforms your application from the traditional character-based, green-on-black screen to a new, intuitive graphical user interface (GUI) that leverages your investment in your organization, its people, and its software applications.
The first level of rejuvenation, Auto-GUI, is ready to go right out-of-the-box. Start creating a Windows look-and-feel for your legacy application, by allowing developers and end-users to use autosizable Fonts and colors, create recessed/raised 3D Effects, and sculptured graphical linedrawing. Other Auto-GUI features include user-defined Buttonbars to perform keyboard macros, Toolbars to activate functions within your application or launch other Windows applications, and Hotspots to mouse-enable your legacy screens.

The second level of rejuvenation introduces Client/Server functionality. Our Application Programming Interface (API) and Script Language dramatically enhance the legacy application’s look-and-feel, and provide added functionality to your application. Some examples of API commands include displaying images, pushbuttons and message boxes, playing audio and video files, and creating listboxes and pulldown menus. The script language is a robust C-based language that enables the creation of client-side routines that are accessible to the legacy application. Through the script language, you can create dialog boxes and graphical controls. Additionally, you can perform DDE conversations with other Windows applications and access the native Windows SDK API calls.

The second level also provides an ActiveX custom control for integration with other GUI development languages. You can use this OCX with languages such as Visual Basic, Visual C++, and Delphi to create custom GUI applications that front-end the legacy application. This also opens the door to utilize other available third-party custom controls.

The third level of rejuvenation provides Web-to-Host integration. Co?STAR For The Web (CSFTW) provides persistent, high-performance, browser-based access to mission-critical applications from a standard web browser such as Microsoft Internet Explorer® or Netscape Navigator®. Additionally, with its API and Scripting capabilities CSFTW is well suited for different host screen appearances, without requiring host-side modifications. Whether your users prefer the traditional green-on-black or a GUI-ized screen, the Co?STAR product family has the customization tools necessary to provide a newly rejuvenated interface among a variety of host applications.

Don’t the tools from my language, database, and 4GL vendors provide the same Windows access features?

Many of these products provide some of the enhancements that CoSTAR provides. But most of them lack the dynamic aspects of CoSTAR’s 3-level rejuvenation process. Enhancing the look-and-feel of your application is simply not competitive with the client-side functionality that you get with CoSTAR. Once the visual enhancements are complete, you have, in effect, only face-lifted your application with these other products. Over the long run, will your clients be satisfied with a face-lift or will they also demand new and competitive application features? From green-screen to web-enabled GUI, CoSTAR provides all the up-to-date application features you will need.

How is the 3-Level Rejuvenation achieved without extensive re-writing of my code?

The added Windows functionality is accomplished with a Windows development product such as Visual Basic, Visual C++, or Delphi (or PowerBuilder, etc., if new database integration is desired). Microsoft, and other vendors require developers to completely re-write the application with their products. With CoSTAR, however, you can use these products to write new pieces for the existing host application. CoSTAR manages the interaction between the Windows program and the host application. With CoSTAR, you take advantage of the strengths of the client/server development products without incurring the risk of completely abandoning your existing code base, alienating non-Windows users, or supporting two completely different products.

This means that my developers may have to learn a new tool?

Learning a new tool is a possibility. However, Clearview believes that your organization will eventually need these skills. CoSTAR introduces these development skills in a controlled manner, without overwhelming you. This is significantly less risky and less expensive than making the transition all at once. While your staff learns these skills, you continually add functionality and value to your products. Plus, Clearview offers training that quickly gets your development staff up to speed while building on their existing skills.

Which platforms does CoSTAR support, and how is it distributed to our clients?

CoSTAR runs completely in Windows, so there are no host requirements. Developers can use CoSTAR to rejuvenate their application in the following ways:

Screen Watch — Resides on the Windows PC and monitors the data stream for pre-designated character strings before activating the CoSTAR rejuvenation process.

Coded APIs — The APIs in CoSTAR are embedded in print statements (i.e., PRINT, PUT, etc.), and are activated on the Windows PC where CoSTAR is running.

CoSTAR is only installed where you desire Windows access or enhancements. If your client requires three Windows workstations and seventeen terminals, you only need to provide your client with three CoSTAR licenses.

Can I share copies of CoSTAR?

Yes. A server version of the CoSTAR product allows client PCs to access shared copies of the CoSTAR runtime files as well as your custom button bars, toolbars, color schemes, etc.

What about security?

Everyone should be concerned with security, particularly when accessing information over insecure channels such as the Internet. Clearview's products are enhanced with Secure Shell (SSH) communications to safeguard your passwords, data, and other sensitive information. We license portions of this technology from RSA Securities LTD, the leader in security systems, and have been granted an export license to distribute our military strength encryption software outside of the U.S.