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     Glossary: Terminal Emulator

ZOC is a powerful terminal emulator that lets you access mainframe computers. Mainframes are be used as central computers to be accessed by hundreths or thousands of users by means of so-called terminals.

Read more about our terminal emulator, check it's feature list, look at our screenshots or start your free 30 days of evaluation today and
 
 The birth of the terminal emulator
In recent years, client/server computing has undergone something of a renaissance. As a direct result of this the idea of a terminal is yet again receiving a lot of attention, in spite of having been put aside and deemed a thing of the past.

In the early days of computing when processors and memory were extremely expensive, companies would often purchase one large, powerful central computer. This computer was shared by many users, who accessed it through so-called dumb terminals (sometimes they are also called thin clients). These terminals enabled the users to enter and view data, whereas the actual processing was done by the central computer. The dumb terminals (thin clients) were fairly simple devices which consisted of a screen, a keyboard, and the technology that allowed them to transmit keystrokes to and receive output from the server. In other words, a terminal was simply a keyboard and a screen which were connected to a remote computer through a network, modem or cable.

 Emulate terminals on personal computers
As processors and memory gradually became more affordable, the idea of a Personal Computer was born. This novel concept meant that each user would be able to access their own memory, and that their personal processor would be sitting right there on their desk.

As the use of computers has increased, data processing has once again become very demanding. Nowadays, it is not uncommon to need to access gigabytes of data in databases or to process extreme amounts of information. Because of this, the idea of server computing has been resurrected. Personal computers with memory and processors are still used for simple computing tasks such as word processing, but for more complex work users may need to access remote systems. Returning to the use of dumb terminals would be impractical - few people would have room for another keyboard and screen on their desk. Instead, software now plays the role of a dumb terminal. This software is called a terminal emulator, as it emulates a dumb terminal or thin client on a PC.

 The benefits of terminal emulators
In short, a terminal emulator is a program that does what a dumb terminal used to do in the early days of computing. It transmits keystrokes to the remote server, receives output from the server, and displays it in a window which simulates the screen that was used in the past. However, the real benefit of using a terminal emulator is that it really isn't as 'dumb' as a real terminal. Instead, it offers functions such as logging output to a printer, saving output to disk, allowing input and output to be sent/received and processed automatically. A terminal emulator can also help you automate repetitive tasks.

In the past, many manufacturers used to develop their own terminals with their own type of communication between the server and the terminal. In other words, different manufacturers used different codes that the servers sent to the terminals in order to move the cursor, change the color, clear the screen and so on. Among the best-known terminal manufacturers were DEC (who created the line of VT-Terminals, including vt100, vt200 etc.) and IBM (using 3270 and 5250 terminals). There were also standardized codings for these tasks, the so-called ANSI terminals. The good thing about modern terminal emulators is that they can understand most of the codes that were used in the past. A single terminal emulation program like ZOC can actually play the role of both an IBM and a DEC terminal, depending on which server a user needs to access (e.g. an IBM mainframe or a Unix server).

 Who uses terminal emulators?
Nowadays, terminal emulators are used for a wide variety of different tasks. They are used by Unix and Linux administrators to access their web servers, by employees of companies who need to access different types of software on central computers, by doctors to retrieve blood test results from central lab computers, and so on. In short, anyone who wants to access any kind of data on a central computer needs a terminal emulator.

The ZOC Terminal Emulator is a remarkably powerful terminal emulator because it supports the standards of several manufacturers (vt100, vt220, 3270, Ansi, Linux/Xterm, Wyse, to name just a few), and allows users to access virtually any server that requires the use of a terminal or terminal emulator. As well as the basic terminal functions, ZOC offers a wealth of additional, useful features. This terminal emulator takes advantage of the computing power of a PC to allow you to automate tasks (such as logging on or retrieving data automatically), log sessions on screen or file (for documentation or later review), copy data between a text processor and the remote server, and much more. This terminal emulator is also very configurable, and allows you display data in different fonts and sizes. Commonly used functions are mapped to buttons on the ZOC window, and F-Macro keys can be used for texts, scripts, phone book entries, external shell commands, etc.

Read more about our terminal emulator, check it's feature list, look at our screenshots or start your free 30 days of evaluation today and

 

 



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