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7/96 Reviews SW: Extra Personal Client 6.1

Listing of July 1996 Reviews

Hook Into a Host of Hosts

By Steven J. Vaughan-Nickols

The business world is still a land of IBM mainframes, AS/400 minicomputers, Digital VAXes, UNIX and TCP/IP. So the befuddled PC LAN manager could do far worse than Attachmate's Extra Personal Client 6.1.

Attachmate was in the connectivity business long before most Internet providers even heard of the World Wide Web. That experience shows in this new version of Extra, which is ready to connect to everything from IBM big-iron to an AS/400 running system application architecture (SAA) or even to the World Wide Web running TCP/IP and Netscape Navigator. Extra truly is an all-in-one solution for advanced networking-including support for Digital's All-in-One office system.

Borrowing a leaf from Web browsers, Extra lets you "bookmark" connections for quick access to different host systems. Once you've established the initial host setup, simply pick through the bookmarks and click buttons to make complex system connections.

Extra's past clumsiness is gone. This new version, available in both 16- and 32-bit editions, works far more smoothly than its predecessors. While there's room for improvement-for example, you must set up new asynchronous sessions for Extra even if you're already using Microsoft's SLIP/PPP services-it still is the easiest program I've seen for connecting a PC to the mini/mainframe world.

Extra also comes ready for serious data-transfer work. It now supports OLE 2.0 on the Windows side and ftp, Kermit and advanced program-to-program communications (APPC) on the heavy-metal side. If your database needs DB2's massive power, you'll also be delighted to know that Extra comes with Select, a DB query front-end for both mainframe and AS/400 DB2 databases.

One oddity about Extra, however, is that some programs are only supported in 16-bit Windows. For example, if you like the IRMA style of IBM 3270 emulation, you have to use the 16-bit client.

That aside, Extra is an outstanding multisystem networking product. With its ability to work with everything from TCP/IP to NetWare's IPX to such IBM-only standards as LU, Extra should be the program of choice for offices that must work with multiple operating systems and computer architectures.

Info File
Extra Personal Client 6.1
Pros: Simplifies host access
Cons: Some emulations restricted to 16-bit
Platforms: Windows 95, 3.1x, NT
Disk Space: 12MB (Win95), 16MB (NT)
RAM: Varies; up to 25MB
Attachmate Corp.
800-426-6283, 206-644-4010
WinMag Box Score: 4.0

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