When you are developing complex computing applications, there is often a need to use some specialized set of programs or APIs (Application Programming Interfaces). For example, you may need to access fax, bar code or imaging technologies. LANSA provides a standardized interface for interacting with these technologies using LANSA Built-In Functions (BIFs).
Built-In Functions are a standardized and published set of specifications for calling external programs. By using a specific calling interface, management of the programs becomes very simple. The BIF interface allows you to create a single set of code for multiple platforms.
LANSA also includes sets of standard BIFs to perform specific types of common operations. BIFs for date manipulation such as FINDDATE, and BIFs for string manipulation such as SCANSTRING, etc. are shipped as part of the LANSA development environment. LANSA also provides a set of BIFs such as CONNECT_SERVER or CALL_SERVER_FUNCTION which allows you to quickly and easily build your client/server applications.
Other vendor or OV_BIFS are also available. These BIFs are shareware which have been created by other LANSA developers. For example, a PC-based OV_BIF called OV_PASTE_CLIPBOARD has been created for pasting information to a Windows clipboard.
BIFs can written for just one platform or they can be designed for use on multiple platforms. For example, you can create a BIF to interface with an existing RPG program on the IBM i, or you could create a BIF which interfaces with a C program used on more than one platform. BIFs can also be written using RDML.
In the Technical Reference Guide: