The LawsonGuru Letter, brought to you by Decision Analytics  

August 2006


In this issue:
1. Calling Lawson AGS from Visual Basic code
2. Worthwhile Reading
3. Lawson Tips & Tricks

The LawsonGuru Letter is a free periodic newsletter providing provocative commentary on issues important to the Lawson Software community. 

The LawsonGuru Letter is published by—and is solely the opinion of—John Henley of Decision Analytics.

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  Before we get started...    

I (still...) Need your Input on RMI Stability


As I mentioned last month, I'm planning an article or two on RMI/Tomcat/Portal stability, and while I got some good feedback last month, I'm still looking for YOUR input.

Specifically, here's what I'm looking for:

  • How are global and/or 24x7 organizations dealing with having to periodically restart RMI?

  • What versions, ESPs, patches, settings, etc. seem to make it more stable?

  • What software combinations and/or platforms (Tomcat/Apache, Tomcat/IIS, Websphere, etc. etc.) seem to perform the most reliably?

  • If you've suffered from RMI instability, have you contacted Lawson? If so, were you satisfied with their response?

Send your submissions to

  1. Calling Lawson AGS from Visual Basic code )  
  A frequent question I hear is “How do I integrate Lawson into my VB apps?” 

It seems that perhaps Lawson has forgotten all about VB, now that all you seem to hear about is LSF 9.0’s IBM stack and Landmark, which generates Java code. Was it not that long ago that Lawson was touting their VB/ActiveX integration toolkit?!?

Many organizations use VB for their "in-house" applications; there are often requirements to access and/or update the Lawson applications from your VB applications.  Well, it’s not that hard to integrate your VB applications with Lawson, as long as you are willing to learn a bit about the DME and AGS programs that are included with IOS.  The advantages of using DME and AGS for this type of integration are 1) you're using Lawson's security model, and 2) it's a fully supported way to access and update data in Lawson, since you're operating at the "application layer" instead of interacting directly with the database.  In this article, I'm going to show you the basics for interacting with AGS from your VB code.

Three Parts to the Puzzle
  1. First thing you need is a way to make HTTP calls from your VB code. If you’re using VB.NET, the HTTP object is built into the .NET Framework. For VB6, I use an ActiveX HTTP Control from /n software IP*Works! v6.0 ActiveX/VB Edition (see

  2. Next, you need VB code to drive the HTTP Control. For VB6, I wrote a VB class that calls AGS and DME using the IP Works HTTP Control. For VB.NET, the code is similar, but uses a lot more of the .NET Framework to do the grunt work. I won’t bore you with the code sample, but this is the technique I use to pull security class data out of GEN to populate my security class viewer utility:

  3. The last (and hardest) thing you need to do is figure out what you need to include in the AGS URL string. Here’s a sample for blanking out cycle 1 on an employee’s deduction via PR14:


    When the call completes, you'll receive an XML document.  You need to check the <MsgNbr> tag; if it's not 000, display <Message> tag contents.

Making Sense of AGS

The easiest way figure out the contents of the AGS call is to access the form in Lawson Portal:

Then press Alt-Ctrl-A to see the debug screens, click on “Transaction XML”, then click on ‘Perform Query’ Button:

The AGS call is then displayed in another browser window. Insert the parameter &_LFN=TRUE into the URL string, and click ‘Go’.

The “long field names” will now be displayed, so that you can use those--rather than the cryptic field numbers--in your AGS call:

From that point, all you need to do is write the code that builds the AGS call URL string!

  2. Worthwhile Reading )  
  Workflow: Davis Controls Gets Its Business to Flow


“Celebrate any progress.
Don't wait to get perfect.”

-- Ann McGee Cooper

How do you get workers to use a new software application? Try cutting off their e-mail.
The CEO of this Canadian manufacturer says it worked for him.
Baseline Magazine, June 2006,1540,1973607,00.asp

IT Plays Linchpin Role In High-Stake M&As
A handful of companies understand what far too many don't--that IT's ability to integrate,
and in some cases adopt, an acquired company's IT systems and operations can determine
whether a merger flourishes or flounders.
Information Week, June 26, 2006

Unstuck in the Middle
Life as a small- or mid-market CIO may be one of the toughest challenges in IT.
Here's how a few IT leaders in this space have persevered and even flourished.
CIO Magazine, June 15, 2006
  3. Lawson Tips & Tricks )  

String to Date in JavaScript, Round Two

Last month (see, I included a JavaScript tip from David Williams to convert a date value in a string variable returned from a DME call (in MM/DD/CCYY format) for use in an AGS call (in CCYYMMD format).

I told you it would only work with locales that enter dates in MM/DD/CCYY formats, since the code was looking in specific locations for the various parts of the date:

RQDELDT = RQDATE.charAt(6) + RQDATE.charAt(7) + RQDATE.charAt(8) + RQDATE.charAt(9) + RQDATE.charAt(0) + RQDATE.charAt(1) + RQDATE.charAt(3) + RQDATE.charAt(4)

What I should have written was that you’ll probably not need to worry about it in ProcessFlow, since DME calls always returns dates in MM/DD/CCYY strings. But if you do, you’ll need to modify the pflow.js JavaScript file that is shipped with Lawson ProcessFlow, and add additional variations for the pfDate() function.  Here's how to do it.

Technically, this is NOT a customization, since the ProcessFlow documentation states:

“To make other date variables available in Expression Builder, you may add them to the pflow.js file in CCSDIR/lawson/processflow or, on the Designer side, in the Designer install directory.”

When you make these changes on the server in $CCSDIR/lawson/processflow/pflow.js (%CCSDIR%/lawson/processflow/pflow.js on Windows), you need to copy the updated pflow.js to the ProcessFlow Designer directory (e.g. C:\Program Files\Lawson Software\ProcessFlow) on each machine on which the ProcessFlow Designer is installed..

There are two changes required to the pflow.js file:

First, the function definition needs to be added to the top section, which is source of the function drop down list in the Designer:

//*****Function Definition -->Date=pfDate(var1,'dd/mm/yyyy') //

Then, in the pfDate function itself in pflow.js you’ll need to insert an additional case:

case 'dd/mm/yyyy':
    tmp = dateStr.substring(0,2);
    tmp = dateStr.substring(6,10);
    tmp = dateStr.substring(3,5);
    tmp = tmp-1;
    return retval;

Once you copy the updated pflow.js to the ProcessFlow directory on your workstation, you’ll then see a new function, pfDate(var1,'dd/mm/yyyy') when you drop down the function list:

Assuming you want to send an email with appropriately formatted dates, you can perform an AGS call to lookup the recipient user’s Locale (blank = default):


Next month we’ll look at similar code, written for Lawson Design Studio.

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