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Project Summary: Magnatron


Knoxville-based software distribution company, Magnatron, Inc., is the best in the business. But, until 2000, they had been using the same data management application since 1988. In an effort to upgrade their then-current system, and to satisfy the needs of their customers and their customers’ customers, they decided to go online.

For this project, SDI co-founder Wallace McClure worked closely with the Magnatron senior systems analyst. Using ASNA Visual RPG (AVR), they moved Magnatron’s green-screen software distribution application to the Web to allow for online purchasing, and directly linked the Web application to the existing AS/400 data system that had served Magnatron for years.

What did we do?

The first step for Magnatron was making some key decisions. If fact, they initially hired McClure to investigate the possibility of using Visual Basic (VB) as their Web development tool. Though VB was a possibility, the Magnatron team ultimately decided against it, concluding that it would not connect well with the AS/400. The team also looked at Java, but dismissed the idea on grounds that it would be timely and cost-inefficient.

In the end, the team chose AVR. But in order to see the production of an online shopping cart through, Magnatron needed help utilizing certain Web technologies. Focusing on the Web based elements of the Magnatron upgrade, McClure offered support in HTML, JavaScript, VB Script, Microsoft’s Active Server Pages, and general security features for the application. While he worked on this aspect of the upgrade, the Magnatron senior systems analyst focused on using AVR to transmit data between the AS/400 system and the Web. As the job progressed, McClure and the systems analyst worked together to combine all elements of upgrade development in each stage.

About the Application

In less than five months the senior systems analyst, with McClure’s help, had the new Magnatron site up and running. The new application provides access to all previously stored data and, in addition to that, houses capabilities for generating freight charges, performing credit card validation, and sending email order confirmations. To view this new and improved application, visit www.magnatron.com and click on “E-Commerce.”