Green Screen to Web Application in 5 minutes (aka how the AS400 got on the World Wide Web with IBM i)

  • Posted on: 25 March 2014
  • By: NickLitten

Twenty years ago...

I was typing on a dumb terminal, connected to a great big beige computer called IBM AS/400 with a thick grey Twinax cable. Screens were green on black, text only -- or sometimes orange on black if you were posh. The internet was this thing we used to send emails (if you knew anyone with an email account) and mainly used Bulletin Board Systems to have conversations at dial up speeds.

Ten years ago...

I was typing on a PC, connected to a big black computer called an IBM iSeries using ethernet. Laptops were hightech, big and heavy with 60 minute battery lives. The internet was this mysterious thing, with even more mysterious HTML websites, that most of us RPG programmers didn't really associate with our green screen world.

My voicemail greeting

  • Posted on: 22 March 2014
  • By: NickLitten

So, I've recently been getting a lot of junk voicemails and in an effort to inconvenience these callers as much as it inconveniences me. It's time for a long winded and time consuming voice mail greeting. I extended the BEEEP at the end so that it keep on going for the full two minutes before they can leave a message.


Hello, you've reached my voicemail.

I tend not to use voicemail much anymore, who does? If you really want to get hold of me your best bet would be drop me a quick text message or email. But, if you are one of the many annoying telesales, marketing or spambots that like to leave me messages - perhaps this will help answer any questions:

No, I dont want any new credits cards.

No, I am not interested in getting paid for reviewing hotels.

No, I do not want to go on a cruise.

No, I don't care if I have won a free prize.

No, I am not "Amy" the woman you are looking for who has some unpaid bills.

No, I don't want a new car (well actually I do, but not from you).

How to display multiple google maps in html

  • Posted on: 21 March 2014
  • By: NickLitten

Working on the new website for Profound Logic today, its going live in the next two weeks so this is the final sprint to debug and tidy up some small issues. One of these issues was to display a Google Map widget for each of the companies three offices. This would have been super easy using a CMS like Drupal but this is to be added to a custom HTML5 website. Even so, "Sounds pretty straightforward" I thought and volunteered   ;)

tips for programmers*sigh* After an hour of reading radically different google maps tutorials, trying (and failing) to get the maps to display, I was starting to mutter swear words. But then YAY! after a strong coffee, and an afternoon doughnut I was able to figure out the gremlins and see the maps in all their glory.

I finally got Google Maps embedded in my page, working lovely, using a mixture of code examples from various sources. Heavily modified, it works beautifully and of course, is hopefully very readable for any other code-monkey out there. So its time to write it down before it fizzles out of my brain forever. If you came here after googling (or bing'ing) every combination of "multiple map on one screen" possible then I hope this helps...

It's easy to upgrade AS400 RPG/400 to modern, web-enabled IBM i RPGLE... honest!

  • Posted on: 12 March 2014
  • By: NickLitten

RPG Modernization made simple

or a tale of taking old crusty gray haired legacy RPG and making it modern rich and vibrant -- or is that over playing it too much? ;)

The more I play with Profound/UI the more I like it...

(virtually) unchanged RPG code, auto-generated DDS for HTML version of DSPF and a recompile and *boom* web enabled RPG applications... Especially cool, because going forward if we need to make a change to the RPG program then its as simple as making the change to the one version of the code and then (1) compiling it over the old DDS/DSPF into the 'green screen' library and then (2) compiling the same RPG source code over the new Profound RichDDS/DSPF into the web library and *KABOOM* -- two versions of the program, one running perfectly in green screen and one running perfectly in the web, but both including our new code changes.

Like it!

Telly: The Worst Week of My Life

  • Posted on: 10 March 2014
  • By: NickLitten

Only one week to go before the marriage of Howard and Mel which quickly escalates into the week from Hell. The series follows the bumbling Howard as he lurches from one appallingly embarrassing disaster to the next in the week leading up to his wedding.

A fairly typical modern British sitcom - but based around a stuck up, middle class, fussy couple how love each other but just get themselves ina pickle. Funny, amusing and romantic. The missus loved it and it made me smile consistently. Soft Anglocomedy but, something anyone who likes British RomCom/Sitcom will enjoy. :)

When is an AS400 not an AS400?

  • Posted on: 5 March 2014
  • By: NickLitten
ibm as400 is black not white

IBM Power Servers are NOT the same as the old IBM AS400 serversThis has been an ongoing argument disagreement in our IBM i and RPG programmer communities for well over a decade: Should IBM have changed the name when the launched the replacement for the old AS/400 computer?

The AS400 was replaced by the iSeries. The iSeries was replaced by the System i. The System i was replaced by the Power System. Operating system has evolved and been rebranded with each new system hardware upgrade -- from OS400, thru I5OS to IBM i. That is an internet fact. 


For some hugely frustrating reason, there is still a sizable group of IBM i Software Developers who insist on referring to the latest and greatest IBM i Power machine by the incorrect name of it's twenty year old predecessor. This machine is NOT an AS400. It is not "THE 400". It's not even an iSeries. The AS400 is an old computer system from the last century! The AS400 hardware could not run the modern operating systems we use. The AS400 was invented before the advent of email, before facebook, Hell... it was around before the internet! Calling IBM POWER SYSTEMS an AS/400 is insulting and automatically puts the picture of an old legacy computer system into our users heads. Not good. When a new model of a computer is released with brand new hardware and a different name (to differentiate it from the old model) use the correct name. I just don't understand this resistance against the new machines branding. As I.T. Professionals surely it's the information technology that fires us up. Surely it's the excitement of modern computers that wakes us up every morning? We are all IT Professional, surely that makes us all Star Trek Nerds, which in turn means we all understand that "Resistance is Futile!"  ;) 


Anyway, back on topic of the AS400 -> iSeries -> System i -> Power System upgrade discussion

Last night, I was reading a frustrating discussion on Linkedin about this very subject. The core of the conversation goes like this

I heard from one of my old customers from the 1990's and my software is still running on their 400 - bloody good machines these iSeries boxes

Cool! But I wouldnt thin they are still using the old iSeries hardware. Probably on a more recent IBM Power System running the IBM i operating system

Telly: PLEBS - Veni, Vidi, Laughum

  • Posted on: 27 February 2014
  • By: NickLitten

Funny Roman Slaves wandering around and being slavish. Modern twist on a vintage anglo-sitcom style.

PLEBS follows three desperate young men from the suburbs as they try to get laid, hold down jobs and climb the social ladder in the big city - a city that happens to be Ancient Rome. The series stars Tom Rosenthal (Friday Night Dinner), Joel Fry (Trollied) and Ryan Sampson (After You've Gone) as the three young men - Marcus, Stylax and their lazy slave with an attitude problem, Grumio.

Fun with AS400 to IBM i Modernization

  • Posted on: 26 February 2014
  • By: NickLitten

Modernize old AS400 applications on IBM i and set them free!

If you have read any of my mumbling blogs about RPG programming on the IBM i operating system, you will know that I have long been a fan of modernizing legacy RPG source code. The benefits of taking ten or twenty year old applications and rinsing them through a modernizer are more obvious than the simple (a) the code looks modern (b) the programs run faster and (c) its just good fun to resurrect old programs in a modern style.

Profound Logic Software offers a solution on modernization which does the lot - it modernizes your AS400, iSeries and IBM i application software. With minimal programmer requirements it very simply upgrades RPG code to utilize the latest techniques IBM have to offer, as well as simplifying the whole web-enabling process. Want to see an example of a modernized screen - AS400 RPG Program using modernized DDS (DSPF) on the web? Just click here

Jordan Antanoff, business development manager at Profound has written this excellent blog article that sums up the approach:

Telly: PSYCHOVILLE - double u tee eff?

  • Posted on: 26 February 2014
  • By: NickLitten

Psychoville is very reminiscent of A League of Gentlemen - not the movie, but its dark and twisted telly cousin. I love it.

Psychoville is weird, humorous, silly, serious and still scary but funny and sometimes disturbing.... confused enough? I sure was. The Clown is pure genius. The Silent Dancer is somehow super scarey. The blind old man, serial killers, porno dwarves and crazy nurse make this satirical comedy series something very special indeed. Pour yourself a stiff glass of WTF and enjoy it.