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Hansen Training Systems, Inc.


The Manta IBM i Training Library

In 1994, HTS decided to offer a line of computer-based courses covering IBM's midrange computer series, the AS/400. Because Hansen Training Systems, Inc. had an established name as an independent course developer, we decided to create a second company, Manta Technologies Inc., to market the courses.

Manta became a huge success, thanks to HTS's EasyTutor authoring system, which supports both green-screen and graphic simulations of the AS/400 environment. At Manta's request, HTS added a Control Language (CL) command parser, which allows course authors to specify command answers in a single, canonical form. (With some authoring systems, the author is required to specify as many as 300 variations of a command to achieve the same result!) As the AS/400 evolved (the current version uses the IBM i operating system running on IBM Power Systems hardware), the design of EasyTutor enabled us to keep the courses up to date with minimal effort. A name change, such as changing all occurrences of "AS/400" to "System i" in 120 separate courses, could be done with the search/replace facilities of any text editor.

As the training industry moved from delivery on diskettes to CD and then to the web, HTS and Manta led the way. In 2002, HTS rewrote EasyTutor to replace its proprietary scripting language with an XML-based language. The delivery system became web-enabled, with the on-the-fly conversion of XML course scripts to HTML and CSS. The EasyTutor Learning Management System (LMS) was also rewritten and expanded to enable Manta to license courses online, offering individual courses, series of courses, combination packs, and the entire library.

You can view a session from a typical Manta course by clicking here. Alternatively, you can visit the Manta web site to view courses descriptions and take a sample session from any course.

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