LANSA (development environment)

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LANSA is a development environment that requires a single skill set to build applications that can run on multiple platforms, namely IBMi, Windows and Linux. LANSA consists of a family of integrated software development tools (see below) and Business Solutions. The main feature of the LANSA environment is the 'RDML / RDMLX' language. This high-level language is classified as a 4GL (4th generation computing language). In its first release in 1987, the product was called lambda. At that time solutions developed with RDML could be deployed to IBM S/38 and from 1988 onwards to the IBM AS/400 (iSeries, System i, now IBM i). Since 1992 LANSA has been deployed to multiple server platforms, including IBM i, Windows, Linux and also OS2 and Unix.

LANSA is used as a development environment by thousands of companies worldwide to build multilingual / multi-platform applications. LANSA was enabled for Double Byte Character Set (DBCS) in early 1990, opening up the markets in Japan, China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.


RDML is an abbreviation for Rapid Development and Maintenance Language. RDML closely follows the syntax of IBM CL, or Control Language. CL is the "scripting language" equivalent of the OS/400 operating system. In recent years RDML has been extended to become RDMLX. This new version of the language has extra features, commands, types, and functions that are used in component development. RDML, on MS windows, integrates with ActiveX. (references Geodis Wilson Australia, Museum of Modern Art New York, NACCO Materials Handling, Principality of Andorra and others. Google for ActiveX site:

RDMLX is a highly productive language using a centralized data dictionary called the LANSA Repository. It uses an easy-to-understand command / program structure and is notable for its generation of I/O modules for each File/Table defined from the LANSA Repository. Every program that needs to reference a file therefore is guided through to this I/O module (OAM) for that file. This I/O Module can also contain business-level validation logic and rules that implement referential integrity on that file. In the past, data integrity was handled only by the repository, so external changes made by other non-LANSA programs could not be validated. Now, LANSA enables its repository validation to be available to non-LANSA programs too. (16 case study examples in this article

Other LANSA tools[edit]

LANSA Composer is a design and execution platform for integrating business activities involving transport and transformation of data and custom business processing. It handles the four key requirements of a Business Process Integration solution: 1. Transport – moving data between source and target. 2. Transformation – mapping data between many different formats. 3. Process Orchestration – sequential and conditional execution of process flow. 4. Administration – auditing, error-handling, logging, security and system operations.[1]

LANSA Integrator (also known as JSM or Java Services Manager): This product allows developers to exchange data between applications and transfer files and documents between businesses. For example, the SQLService API allows for execution of SQL statements on many different database systems. The PDFDocumentService API service helps to create [PDF] documents with bar codes, images, and text from [XML] data. Supported data formats include XML, JSON, Text files (CSV, TSV, TXT), EDI (EDI_INT,AS1, SAS2, AS3), MS Excel, PDF document service or spool file service, HTML and ZIP. Supported transport mechanisms include Internet (HTTP, HTTPS), File Transfer (FTP, SFTP), email (SMTP & POP) and messaging JMS (such as ActiveMQ, Rendevous, SonicMQ, WebLogic and WebSphere MQ). LANSA Integrator can also publish and consume Web services, use Remote Procedure Calls, SQL Data Services, SMS, PKI and Custom Java Services.[2]

LANSA for the Web (also known as L4Web): This web development environment lets web developers create isolated, small web components (XHTML and Javascript) with inline server side RDML constructs that are evaluated at runtime to generate dynamic web pages.

LANSA Client: A reporting tool to query business data and create graphs. It is a query tool that works as a user interface to access and update data, and integrates Crystal Reports to enhance its reporting capabilities.

Visual LANSA: The primary LANSA Integrated Development Environment (IDE), runs on the Windows OS. The VL IDE can be used for building, modernizing and integrating Business applications. The VL IDE generates Application Source that will compile on many platforms including MS Windows, IBM i, Linux and Wireless devices. Developers use the VL IDE to build Forms, Reusable Parts, Processes, Functions in RDML / RDMLX that constitute a Client-Server (Rich Client) or Web Application, all build from a single code base (RDML / RDMLX) for both client and server programs.

Visual LANSA Framework: The Visual LANSA Framework (VLF) is a visual application framework that minimizes the effort required for designers and developers to create highly graphical Windows and Web applications or a combination of both. The VLF allows developers to assemble commercial grade applications rapidly without coding, by generating Windows and Web applications with a consistent appearance and behavior. The learning curve is short, productivity is high and the resulting applications are of high quality. It’s like having an experienced mentor sitting next to your developers. The VLF is part of the Visual LANSA development tool.[3]

LANSA's Meta Data Repository is both the custodian of the data and business rule definitions and the enforcer of the rules. When rule definition and enforcement is the responsibility of one entity it ensures the integrity of the data is easier and maintenance is reduced.[4]

LANSA RAMP: A reengineering tool that lets you consolidate your IBM 5250 / legacy applications into a rich-client graphical application framework to create composite applications and incrementally replace legacy programs. The framework allows you to assemble new applications through the meta data repository from components built with IBM RPG, Visual LANSA, Visual C# .NET, HTML pages and AJAX framework.[1] LANSA RAMP was named 2009 IBM Beacon Award Finalist in the Outstanding Enterprise Application Solution by an ISV Category.[5]

LANSA Portlet Generator: A Web interface that generates JSR168 Portlets. It provides drag and drop portlet layout for new and existing LANSA Web Application Modules (WAMS). It also provides theme management, portlet to portlet communication, external communication with portlets using web services and most programming languages including JAVA, LANSA, etc. Developed by LANSA partner Rippe & Kingston [6]

LANSA Open for .Net: allows Microsoft .NET Framework developers easy access to data and information on remote Servers via the LANSA Repository. With LANSA Open for .NET, LANSA brings the productivity, discipline, security and performance of its Repository to the .NET world. By storing enterprise business rules centrally in the LANSA Repository.[7]


  1. ^ a b LANSA Composer
  2. ^ LANSA Integrator
  3. ^ Visual LANSA Framework
  4. ^ Meta Data Repository
  5. ^ IBM Beacon Awards
  6. ^ Rippe & Kingston
  7. ^ LANSA Open for .NET

External links[edit]