Macs aren’t easily accepted in large enterprises, especially when they must be able to access legacy applications on IBM’s midrange and mainframe systems. It doesn’t help that existing mainframe terminal-emulation tools, such as White Pine’s WebTerm, lack the SNA (Systems Network Architecture) gateway capabilitiesas well as printer-emulation and file-transfer functionsnecessary to play well with Big Blue. Cel’s new CelView 1.3 gives Macs a leg up in such environments, offering not only these missing features but superior terminal emulation, sophisticated keyboard mapping, and macro programming as well.
CelView, which installs easily from CD-ROM or over a network, actually consists of two programsone for display emulation and the other for printer emulation, FTP, and mainframe file-transfer emulation. It was originally released as Wall Data’s MacRumba; this new incarnation sports simplified setup procedures and a feature that lets you connect to mainframes via existing SNA gateways. Three control panels let you get at connectivity tools that allow you to access mainframes on virtually any kind of network. Connecting to a host system requires that you first define the connection type, using one of these control panels; you can then create as many CelView session documents as you like, each specifying the particular remote host to which you’re connecting.
CelView’s keyboard-mapping tool lets you drag and drop a terminal-emulation function to any Mac keyboard combination. You can also create tear-off keyboard palettes containing functions you use frequently. CelView automatically displays hot-spot buttons for on-screen function keys, so you can invoke these keys by clicking directly on the terminal screen. A macro language lets you automate multistep sequences as simple scripts, and you can invoke scripts by using on-screen buttons, keyboard palettes, or hot-key combinations.
Besides lacking printed (or printable online) documentation, CelView has two shortcomings: the printer-emulation function isn’t accessible via TCP/IP connections, and SNA gateway functions don’t work under System 8.X, ruling out SNA connections on G3 Macs. Cel says both problems will be fixed in the next release.
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As OS X Server gives the Mac new credibility as a workgroup computing platform, enterprise users will likely begin considering the Mac for widespread use. CelView’s enhanced access to legacy mainframe applications removes one more barrier to general Mac acceptance and puts Mac users on a par with their PC compatriots.