AS400 iSeries IBM i - Web Modernization

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Modernization

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Welcome to AS400 Modernization

This course will cover all the basic questions, and hopefully answers, you may have asked while looking at modernizing your old AS400 and iSeries applications.

Despite that fact that 5250 Green screen is old fashioned, clunky, ugly and pre-internet, modern businesses are still using at! The ugly old green-screen interface is recognizable as the IBM i System style and sadly leeds to management believing their modern IBM i Power System is an old machine from the 1980's.

Over half of all big businesses run IBM i Power Systems for their core business applications. These businesses spends big $$$ on a modern IBM Power System yet the majority of these still use an old fashioned 5250 terminals as their customer facing screens.

The 5250 Green Screen looks like this:
Course overview post 1

Why do some many business use this old fashioned, out-dated, unattractive way to display their critical business data? Some IT department's cite speedier responses and ease of typing in the older 5250 terminals than over the superior client experience of a web UI.

Unfortunately this leads to a mentality of -- If it ain't broke, why fix it?

This same green screen might look like this in a web Screen:

Course overview post 2

Which screen do you think offer more information, in a clearer way to your end users?

Why Choose a Power System if you don't intend to use its full Web Functionality?

We already know that IBM I applications have enormous business benefits:

  • Reliability: IBM i Power Systems famous 99.999% availability is almost legendary
  • Cost Saving: IBM i application life span nullifies the danger and cost of forced upgrades
  •  Upgrade Flexibility: Plug/Play allows minimal downtime for upgrades
  • Security: IBM i is famous and has never been hacked
  • Legacy Support: IBM i backwards compatibility means it runs ALL legacy AS400 and iSeries applications

This last point "legacy support" means that some businesses will upgrade their IBM Systems so smoothly, so quickly they hardly notice anything has changed. Suddenly they are on a new model of Power System and apart from things running faster the users notice no changes.

Some IT Departments are hesitant to touch LIVE code if it's working smoothly. The saying "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" can lead to software asset stagnation but some people also are scared that if you try to improve old software, you might screw it up.

People don't like change!

If you have invested a lot of effort in implementing the old way something is running, and it's been working for years, it's accepted. Now a new way comes along, claiming to be better, but it's an unknown and many view upgrades as an attack on the way they had been doing things and maybe a criticism on the home grown applications. In some people's minds this translates to an attack on them.

"This works fine the way we do it, I don't see why we have to change it.".

This inevitably leads to "if it ain't broken don't fix it" when faced with upgrade/improvement.

This problem is exacerbated by IT department members using the wrong name for this modern Power system - you are NOT using an old AS400 or iSeries machine! Stop calling the IBM i System by an old name! #rantover

Course overview post 3

Elon Musk

Change is Improvement

I'm interested in things that change the world or that affect the future and wondrous, new technology where you see it, and you're like, 'Wow, how did that even happen? How is that possible?"

From AS400 Green Screen to IBM i Web

The majority of US business say they intend to modernize the interface for a rich client experience, so where do we start?

We have to ask some core questions:

  • Do we plan on modernizing a few applications or the entirety of the green-screens to a Web UI using screen scraping?
  • Do we want to keep the same code and just make the green screens look webby?
  • Do we want to run the webserver on the IBM i or serve up the business logic to another webserver? 

So, let's dive into this modernization course and cover the basics, answer some obvious questions, and some not-so obvious questions!

AS400 iSeries IBM i - Web Modernization

Start with modernizing your database

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Text lesson
Text lesson

IBM Redbook Modernization of IBM i Applications

Text lesson

First, let's explain what a webservice is. What a webservice Does. What a webservice looks like.

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Lets look at what a webservice is, how it connects to the internet and go through the basics of webservices on IBM i Systems.

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What is the difference between SOAP and REST on IBM i webservices? If you think that SOAP is something you wash your hands with, and REST is what you do after a long days work... then you've come to the right place.

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XML (eXtensionable Markup Language) is considered as cross platform standard for transferring data over Internet because it is understand by any hardware and software. The XML also describes the data. WSDL (Web Services Description Language) describes, publicly available methods provided by the web service. Let's look at these in more detail...

Video lesson

I found this old blog from 2016 that has a neat overview of WSDL (Web Services Description Language) and how it used as part of a web-service. So, I recycled it into a lesson in this webservices memory jogger module:

Text lesson

What is the difference between XML and JSON?

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Steps to Install IBM HTTP Server for i on your IBM i server

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Verify the HTTP Server installation

Video lesson

Web Administration with IBM i

Video lesson

MEMBERS ONLY

Good Question! Let's discuss the various ways an RPG program can be written as A WEBSERIVICE to share information with any requesters on the internet.

Text lesson

MEMBERS ONLY

Good Question! Let's discuss the various ways an RPG program can be written as A WEBSERIVICE to share information with any requesters on the internet.

Text lesson

MEMBERS ONLY

Good Question! Let's discuss the various ways an RPG program can be written as A WEBSERIVICE to share information with any requesters on the internet.

Text lesson

MEMBERS ONLY

Good Question! Let's discuss the various ways an RPG program can be written as A WEBSERIVICE to share information with any requesters on the internet.

Text lesson

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About the teacher

NickLitten

IBM i Software Developer, Digital Dad, AS400 Anarchist, RPG Modernizer, Shameless Trekkie, Belligerent Nerd, Englishman Abroad and Passionate Eater of Cheese and Biscuits. Nick Litten Dot Com is a mixture of blog posts that can be sometimes serious, frequently playful and probably down-right pointless all in the space of a day. Enjoy your stay, feel free to comment and remember: If at first you don't succeed then skydiving probably isn't a hobby you should look into.

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