The iSeries Blog

Oct 29 2009   12:37PM GMT

What you can do to spur growth in System i

Mark Fontecchio Mark Fontecchio Profile: Mark Fontecchio

Trevor Perry writes this week about a recent System i conference he went to, and a panel session he moderated. Anyone who knows Perry knows that he complains about the complainers. That is, he criticizes those who bemoan platform name changes, IBM’s marketing of the System i, and so forth.

This time, however, I think he has a solid argument.

Perry recalled how, during the panel session, the discussion arose regarding the shrinking pool of System i developers out there. Some panel members pointed to the IBM Academic Initiative, which has gotten some System i-related courses in universities and community colleges. Attendees supported this kind of educational effort, but as Perry writes, the complaints continued:

And the conversation went around and around. And the complaints continued. While we all love love love the platform, there are not enough people who know about IBM i, not enough new programmers working on IBM i, not enough, not enough, not enough… So, I asked everyone in the room – about 40 or so, some questions I have used with the i community in the past. I had just not paid attention to the answer.

The questions were:

  • “How many of you have talked to your local college or school and encouraged them to teach IBM i and RPG?”
  • “How many of you have hired interns from local colleges to work with your IT department with IBM i and RPG?”
  • “How many of you have told someone outside this community about this amazing platform?”

As Perry recalls, there was a lot of uncomfortable silence following those questions, and Perry knew why. Because they hadn’t actually done any of those things. He thinks that everyone in the System i community — not only IBM, the ISVs, the VARs and the consultants, but the end users too — should be participating and doing things to further the platform. He has a point.

6  Comments on this Post

 
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  • Lombardo
    How can we talk to our local school about RPG, if there is no "official" way of writing GUIs in RPG? We tried to hire young people on RPG, but no GUI, no guy!
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  • AngusTheiTChap
    Regardless of what Mr. Lombardo suggests, there are several "official" means to writing GUIs on IBM i and using RPG. Webfacing was the "official" GUI tool, and now HATS takes that role. Official and GUI, just not elegant. CGIDEV is "officially" supported by IBM and allows direct delivery of HTML (which some people consider GUI). PHP is a modern language that can run on IBM i and is "officially" supported by IBM. PHP can talk directly to the DB2 database files that the RPG built applications are using. PHP is "official" and delivers HTML. There are numerous third party software vendors who are "official" business partners that provide any form of refacing and repurposing tools to deliver GUI. This is an argument based on misinformation. Mr. Lombardo, you are now informed, and I encourage you to get yourself to the local school and inform them!
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  • Lombardo
    @AngusTheiTChap Webfacing and HATS are only screen- scraping tools, non really bound to RPG. Moreover, they are constantly changing. PHP is good but, well, it's not RPG! CGIDEV is the only real GUI for RPG, but I don't feel it as "officially" supported by IBM: indeed it is not included in the official Italian education courses, as you can see here: http://bit.ly/4otCYQ As you can see, I think I'm well informed.
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  • AngusTheiTChap
    Mr. Lombardo, regardless of the technology of the tool, HATS ~is~ a native GUI and ~does~ work with RPG. And how about this statement of direction from October 20, 2009? http://www-03.ibm.com/systems/power/software/i/rossmauri/index.html Russ says "IBM Rational® product enhancements to RPG-enable programs simply to work with a broad range of client applications, including web services, mobile devices and XML." Get ready to teach RPG at your local school!
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  • Dmgibbs
    Who needs a 'gui' in RPG? In the WEB 2.0 world, RPG is the [B]BEST[/B] language in the world to act as a back end for business rules & such. Use PHP or JSP for the web front end, or Java & SWT if you're creating a thick client. Use the right tool for the job. RPG is the tool for business rools, there are many tooling options for the back end.
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  • Lombardo
    How many young smart developer have you "converted" to RPG recently? How many teacher have you convinced to teach RPG in their courses?
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