Sound Ideas Of America, Inc.

FineLine Reface / FineLine Review

Graphical interface designer for character-based software

Overview

FineLine Reface enables creating a graphical Windows interface for UNIX / Linux character applications so users have a familiar mouse-driven interface while still processing and saving the data in the centralized, reliable UNIX-based application - without re-programming.


How it works

Two programs are required to reface an application:

  • FineLine Reface is a graphical development tool that enables you to create custom Windows forms to replace each "screen" in your character-based legacy application running on UNIX / Linux. At any point you can "compile" the screen information created with FineLine Reface into a single file used by FineLine Review to display the refaced application to the user.

  • FineLine Review is a special terminal emulator / screen generator that is run by the end-user to access the refaced application using the information created with FineLine Reface. This can be considered the "runtime" side of this software solution versus the FineLine Reface "development" side.


For application developers
  • Reface provides a modern user interface to your UNIX / Linux character-based software while enabling you to avoid the enormous and expensive task of trying to duplicate all of your software's functionality through re-coding your application in the single-user graphical environment of Windows. Now you can just focus on improving the interface, not rewriting the entire application's logic. Offer a Windows-style application in months, not years.


For end-users and developers
  • Reface enables you to provide a modern interface while continuing to use the same centralized application with all of its historical data without having to switch to a new Windows-based application which requires either massive data conversion or no / limited access to data history.

  • A graphical interface provides a faster learning curve for new employees since they can focus on the application functionality instead of learning how to work the old keyboard-based interface.

  • Reface provides distributed computing because the interface is handled by each individual PC while the database stays centralized on a reliable UNIX / Linux server with no additional burden.

  • Reface enables you to add features not available to standard legacy applications: display dynamic images tied to changing data, access electronic documents with a click (ex: Word, CAD, PDF), open centralized files on the PC, and more.


Also
  • FineLine Reface works with any standard UNIX application, unlike some products that support only a single specific database application.

  • FineLine Reface is completely self-contained and all-inclusive so it doesn't require products by other companies to create screens or a separate emulator package to access the native character database.

  • Since every keystroke is sent to the application in the same way as a traditional terminal emulator, the PC interface will not slow down keyboard users familiar with the application.

  • Since its design is based on reacting to the character software interface rather than "pushing" control information from the application, no programming changes are required in the server application.

  • With each individual PC performing the refacing, no processing burden is placed on the server.



Screens


 


Features


General
  • FineLine Reface enables you to create a custom Windows interface for your character-based UNIX database software without having to hire outside services for development or modification - i.e. YOU control the design process in-house and can change it at any time.

  • The easy-to-use Windows screen designer is similar to using web page development software so virtually anyone in your organization can create screens (i.e. it does not require a programmer's expertise). It also supports any number of concurrent developers.

  • Everything you need to design, test and deploy graphical screens is included in the Reface development program as a fully-integrated solution, eliminating the need to purchase and learn multiple disconnected software packages.

  • Since FineLine Reface reacts to the data on the application screen (and not the underlying data storage), no application programming is specifically required by the software. Also, all configuration is performed through options in the PC interface (i.e. no scripting / programming is required).

  • Since every keystroke is sent to the application in the same way as a traditional terminal emulator, the PC interface will not slow down keyboard users familiar with the application. FineLine Reface adds a graphical interface without taking away the benefits of the character application.

  • New "Custom Interface Extension" capability enables adding a custom Windows interface for non-database-style UNIX applications (ex: crew scheduler).

  • Features "Windows key simulation" options for insert mode with on/off toggle, Delete key deletion, destructive backspace and more for a natural PC editing experience without modifying the UNIX/Linux server application.

  • A custom pull-down menu system enables creating PC-style pull-down menus that send specified keystrokes to the server when an option is selected. Up to 12 menu headings and 4 menus deep can be created.

  • A filePro Starter Kit is included with the Reface development system for filePro database users (at no additional charge). This collection of PC screens, triggers and dynamic boxes provides filePro developers with ready-to-use refaced versions of repeatedly used filePro screens and dialogs.

  • Built-in customizable virtual keyboard & numeric keypad send pressed keys to the UNIX server (not to Windows like common virtual keyboards), greatly simplifying the creation of a touch screen version of your character application.

  • A programmable virtual keypad for touch screen applications can be easily modified "on-the-fly" by the character application to display the keys required for the current operation. Options exist to display / hide rows of up to 51 programmable keys, assign text or payment method graphics along with the key(s) to send when pressed, display / hide the function key and numeric keypad section, display / hide the navigation key section, and more. The special keypad shape aligns next to the graphical window for a professional look.

  • A dynamic image navigator option enables clicking through multiple images/documents related just to the current database record (this feature is compatible with our FineLine PC ImageLink software, but doesn't require it). For example: product images, CAD drawings, specification documents, scanned receipts, checks, payment stubs, etc. can be available to the user just by viewing the UNIX database record. By simply clicking the image or program icon, the user can even open a copy of the file in the associated Windows program!

  • Dynamic list, prompt and message box options enable reading the graphic box that surrounds common dialogs to automatically build an associated Windows version "on-the-fly" - without requiring the use of an additional screen license.

  • A built-in notepad enables editing a UNIX file on the PC simply by sending a control sequence from your application, providing an easy way to attach centralized notes to any database record.

  • A built-in print preview option enables viewing a UNIX report with full scrolling in either a fixed-width or proportional font, stripped of printer control sequences (a system configuration option enables you to easily specify what sequences you want stripped). When printed to a Windows printer, the original file's contents are sent to the Windows printer "raw" so the file is not modified by the Windows printer driver (so the printer receives exactly what is in the original print file from the server). This enables control sequences added by the server to be passed to the printer without Windows modifying the file's contents (so it's similar to UNIX printing).

  • A configurable floating toolbar enables the end-user to click buttons for a special calculator that can enter the data into a UNIX field, along with common functions of cut, copy, paste, clear, cancel, save and reload. The cancel option includes the ability to flash upon a specified application condition (very important for filePro users to indicate the cancel warning).

  • A "pop-up" calendar & clock option ties to a UNIX field so the user's selection is entered into the correct character field in the correct format. You can also specify that only the server's current date / time is used (important for time-sensitive functions that require a centralized clock).

  • The built-in overlay terminal emulator can be displayed (or hidden) at any time with the push of a key or with a control sequence from the server, providing access to the native character interface at any point in the application.

  • Alternate language support is included so captions for labels, buttons, icons, etc. can be designed in two languages (ex: English / Spanish), with the ability to toggle between the two while designing. Alternate character set support is also included for the alternate language (ex: Russian Cyrillic characters). At runtime, the alternate language can easily be selected from the server as users log in.

  • The "Projects" feature can be used to separate multiple unrelated applications that need to be refaced. By defining each application as a project, Reface enables switching between projects and therefore the number of screen licenses required only needs to meet the requirements of the largest application, rather than the total number of screens for all of the applications to be refaced. Note that the projects feature can only be used when the different applications have different end-users since only one project can be compiled at a time and used with FineLine Review.

  • A "debugging log" is available for tracing the flow through your program, complete with search, adding position markers and highlighting selected text for easy reference.

  • FineLine Review supports automatic self-upgrade / downgrade based on the version of the Reface compiled information file simply by dropping the Review installation program on the server so you don't have to worry about PCs running an incompatible version.

  • FineLine Reface / Review supports connections to the application server using the standard telnet protocol or secure connections with SSH v1 / v2.


Screen Designer

There are 4 ways to create a new screen:

  • filePro screen import - If you use the filePro database application on UNIX / Linux, you can import your screens directly into Reface to instantly create a graphical version complete with links to the screen data and support for using the mouse to change fields.

  • Auto design - If your application displays a graphic character (or a unique regular character, like an asterisk) at the end of each input text field, the auto design option enables simply clicking a button to automatically build a matching Windows screen of labels and fields, complete with associations to the character screen. You can then use the full designer to enhance the PC screen.

  • Quick design - This option enables using the mouse to highlight portions of the screen and a single click to create labels, fields and buttons, complete with associations to the character screen. This enables fast designing of screens for applications that do not have an input field end character or for quickly adding associated labels (for displaying non-editable data) to an auto-designed screen. When done, you can use the full designer to enhance the PC screen.

  • Full designer - This option provides a feature-rich screen designer for adding, deleting and modifying the objects on each graphical screen.


Version 2

Reface / Review v2 includes a large number of updates throughout the program to streamline and expand it. The more major changes include:

  • New "Concurrent User" Licensing for Review eliminates the need to register users/PCs, works with thin-clients attached to a Windows server, enables users to move from PC to PC without requiring a change in configuration, and provides the ability to limit the number of sessions per PC (1-5)

  • New live spell-checking of any field "as you type" with suggestions and optional word replacement

  • New filePro screen import function enables almost instant use for filePro database users when combined with the new auto-recognition of list / prompt / message boxes and the enhanced filePro Starter Kit with new built-in installer

  • New frame & glass button objects greatly speed screen design and add an alternate modern look

  • New fixed form theme options enable modifying the look of the built-in forms to match the color scheme of your custom screens

  • Improved screen fonts throughout program are smoother and easier to read

  • New font styler function enables quickly assigning any saved style to all selected labels when designing

  • New brushed metal background gives screens a current modern loo

  • New pass-through printing support

  • New option to print / e-mail / save screen image

  • Faster movement throughout the designer with reduced number of clicks and new dedicated functions for repeated operations

  • New option to customize the taskbar button text on-the-fly from the server (or by the user with a menu option) - great for providing a reference to where a user is when using multiple sessions

  • New comprehensive help system


UNIX application

FineLine Reface does not require any specific character-based application and can work with any database development tool or language since it processes the output of the program (i.e. the application screens), instead of replying on the inner workings of the application.

NOTE: FineLine Reface cannot support applications that have screens that vary (ex: user-configurable screen layouts). It requires fields in fixed positions on screens that can be recognized and associated one-to-one with a Windows form.

Whether or not you will need to make modifications to your UNIX application will depend on how well your application is written and what you wish to accomplish. Applications created with database packages like filePro are great candidates for refacing since there is already a set of rules and standards put into place by the database software (Reface has been tested extensively with filePro).

UNIX applications are based on a stream of data sent by the program to appear as a screen to the user on the character terminal. For many UNIX applications, the program was created from scratch using a low-level language like C, COBOL or Basic and so the programmer could do virtually anything that he/she was capable of.

If the application's logic follows the convention of separate non-overlapping "fields" on each screen, there should be little to no application changes required to reface it. If the application does things like allowing a field or table column to run over other fields or columns instead of scrolling in-place, this will need to be changed because it is not possible to properly duplicate this unusual behavior with separate objects in Windows because it breaks logical field/object boundaries.

NOTE: Even if your application requires a number of modifications to "fit it into the mold" for refacing, it is still tremendously easier for you to modify your own UNIX application and reface it with this product than to try to rewrite all of its functionality in the completely different single-user graphical environment of Windows.

The important thing to understand is that every screen, form, dialog box, printer list, message box, pop-up window, etc. needs to be defined with FineLine Reface (unless you are using filePro with the new screen import and auto-recognition features).

If your goal is to only reface a portion of your product (ex: Point Of Sale system) and it doesn't contain a large number of screens and your application is already "standardized", you could probably have it refaced in just a couple of weeks.

If your application employs the older "edit one field at a time" approach instead of enabling the user to move freely through all fields on the screen while editing (like filePro) or it requires the user to specify a field in order to edit it (by entering a number, for example, like Appgen), as long as the placement of the fields on the screen is static, FineLine Reface should support it. Since Reface includes the ability for you to control when clicking a field is enabled or disabled based on screen text, you can ensure that keystrokes sent to the application by clicking to change fields is active only when it corresponds to the appropriate mode of your application.


Mouse support

FineLine Reface includes the ability to add mouse support in a number of different ways - but the limiting factor in adding the ability to click like Windows comes down to the capability of your character application. For example, can you issue a command in your application to jump the cursor to a particular field directly? If so, you can add the ability to have a user click in a Windows field and have the character application move to the matching field (more basic field movement approaches are also available).

In virtually all applications with Reface, users can click within a field to move the cursor to a certain character (by the program using the left & right arrows). Cut, copy and paste by dragging with the mouse is available if your application supports inserting and deleting a character within a field. Clicking and rolling the mouse wheel on tables can move the highlight and select an item. And more...




Videos


v2 Screen import  3:11

v1 Using the graphical interface  4:17

 

PC requirements


Reface development system:  Microsoft Windows PC running XP through 10

Review emulator / screen generator:  Microsoft Windows PC running XP through 10, connected to the UNIX application server using telnet or SSH


Supported UNIX platforms

  • SCO OpenServer 5 / 6
  • SCO UnixWare 7
  • Linux


Product licensing


Reface development system:  Licensed by the number of PC screens required to reface the UNIX legacy application (unlimited developers). If you are refacing multiple unrelated applications, the number of screens required will equal the number required by the largest application (not the sum of all screens in all applications.)

NOTE: Every screen that is displayed (whether full size or an overlay) is considered a separate screen unless it only contains a browse list box or 1-5 prompt lines surrounded by a graphic box and can be generated on-the-fly by the dynamic form functions.

Review emulator / screen generator:  Licensed by a single server and the maximum number of PCs accessing the UNIX legacy application at any one time.


Pricing

Application developers (i.e. application for resale):  The Reface development system is only required by the developer. Customers accessing the refaced application only require the FineLine Review emulator software along with the compiled screen information file created with the Reface development system.

End-user in-house only (i.e. not for resale):  The Reface development system includes the Review emulator for 5 PCs so the Review UNIX server license is not required (although additional PC licenses may need to be added)


FineLine Reface (Development system)
  • Custom graphic background designed by SI
  • Unlimited number of screen developers
  • In-house Review emulator for 5 PCs

Option 1:   $1,750

  • Ability to create and compile up to 100 PC screens
  • Up to 2 hours of telephone/web training & support **

Option 2:   $2,750

  • Ability to create and compile up to 500 PC screens
  • Up to 4 hours of telephone/web training & support **

Option 3:   $3,750

  • Ability to create and compile up to 1,000 PC screens
  • Up to 6 hours of telephone/web training & support **

** Any unused training/support hours expire 6 months after purchase


Add 50 screens:   $495  ($9.90 each)

Add 100 screens:   $750  ($7.50 each)

Add 250 screens:   $995  ($3.98 each)

Add 500 screens:   $1,495  ($2.99 each)


Upgrade Reface from v1 to v2:   $500

Includes upgrade from 100 screens to 500 screens + 2 additional hours of telephone/web training & support


FineLine Review ("Runtime" emulator / screen generator)

All end-users accessing the refaced application require:

  1. A FineLine Review UNIX server license (unless only for in-house use on the same server as FineLine Reface)
  2. A license for the maximum number of PCs that will be running the emulator at any one time (5 PC licenses are included with the Review server license)

NOTE: A separate UNIX server license is required for every UNIX server / customer running the refaced application.


Review UNIX server:   $895

  • Includes "concurrent user" license for up to 5 PCs connected at one time
  • Not required if purchasing Reface/Review for only in-house use on one server since already included with Reface

NOTE: Discounts for multiple purchases and special pricing arrangements may be available. Contact us for details.


Add Review PC Licenses

Add 1 PC:   $155

Add 5 PCs:   $675  ($135 ea)

Add 10 PCs:   $1,150  ($115 ea)

Add 25 PCs:   $2,375  ($95 ea)

Add 50 PCs:   $3,750  ($75 ea)

Add 100 PCs:   $5,500  ($55 ea)

Note: PC license bundles can only be used with a single server.



Download


Software License Agreement   Read this before downloading and installing any of our software

Evaluation License   This license enables our software to be used for a temporary evaluation period

Download Instructions   How to download and install our software


FineLine Reface is not available for download & evaluation like our other products because it requires basic training. FineLine Review is available for download & evaluation by customers (but requires data created with Reface).

NOTE:  Version 2 requires a new license. Do not install this product if you are currently running version 1 unless you have a version 2 license in-hand because the software will stop functioning.


Review UNIX / Linux Server

SCO OpenServer 5/6

FineLine Review
rvw20r05.Z
597,795
02.00.05

SCO UnixWare 7

FineLine Review
rvw20r05.gz
578,974
02.00.05


Linux

FineLine Review
rvw20r05.gz
162,946
02.00.05


Review PC Client

Windows

FineLine Review
prv002-20r05.exe
5,692,026
02.00.05



Reface PC Client

IMPORTANT:  The Reface Designer download requires a licensed version 2 Reface server on UNIX / Linux and should only be downloaded by current licensed customers since it will not work for unauthorized evaluation purposes.


Windows

FineLine Reface Designer
prf20r05.exe
10,234,087
02.00.05



All pricing and features are subject to change without notice.