What do you like best?
Lansa gives us the ability to write code that can operate on both an IBMi operating system as well as the Windows environment, which allows us to use one code base in order to write commands for either system; the exact same program will function the same way regardless of the operating system (with the exception of a few system-specific commands).
What do you dislike?
It's very easy to fall into performance "traps". Our application has a great deal of client/server interaction, and it will often bottleneck while waiting for communication. The built-in file reader is also not the most efficient (it will process every record that matches the keys, regardless of further limiters such as the where statement). They do, however, provide solutions to address these issues; since the same code functions on either the client system or the server, we can write it to execute on the server, and build customized SQL database queries which allow for much more complex searches that complete far more rapidly.
Recommendations to others considering the product
If you're a multi-platform client needing one code base to run on multiple systems, Lansa is a good fit for you. Even if you're not, however, they have multiple other products that can integrate with Visual Lansa (such as Composer, LongRange, etc) that can provide a great deal of benefit to your organization when combined with Visual Lansa. It's definitely worth looking into.
What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?
We are an ISV generating and deploying clinical & billing software to a larger number of customers. We have a large "legacy" application written in Synon/RPG, designed for operation on an IBMi OS. We needed to modernize the application to run in a Windows environment, but also wanted to keep the database in this system (instead of attempting to convert & rewrite), as well as being able to leverage existing code instead of having to rewrite the entire application from the ground up.
Lansa allowed us to pursue this goal. With a single coding language that generates output that runs on both Windows & the IBM system, there is no need to maintain two different sets of programs. We can call and execute existing RPG programs (reports, calculations) without having to rewrite them off-the-bat. This allowed us to create the screens, designing them how we wanted, rewriting where necessary, and snapping everything into Lansa's provided framework.
We also have a need for communication with outside entities, and have used Lansa Composer for conversion of data from our database to the expected format from other organizations, or vice versa (including being able to use standards such as HL7 or NCPDP). Lansa Composer / Lansa Integrator have allowed us to consume Web Services as well, directly from the application, instead of having to build & design from a third-party service.