As with all journeys, the length of the journey and the challenge of the terrain to be traversed depends on where you start.

The advantage and disadvantage of IBM i is that applications are compatible with earlier versions. It is possible for a program that was written on the System/38 in 1980 to run (with no recompilation) on one of today's IBM Power Systems. The benefit is that, as hardware was replaced and improved, applications did not need to be upgraded or changed. Unfortunately, the same applications are written using code and coding techniques that might have been leading edge twenty plus years ago but fall short of today's requirements.

You need to determine the following items:

  • Does the application have a well-structured relational database?
  • Was the application originally written for System/34, System/36, System/38, or one of the many flavors of IBM AS/400, IBM eServer™ systems, IBM iSeries, or IBM i?
  • What language is the application written in? Is it COBOL, COBOL ILE, RPG II, RPG III, RPG IV, Java, C, some other language, or some permutation or combination of two or more languages?
  • Is the application using the IBM Integrated Language Environment® (ILE)?
  • Are the application programs well-structured?
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