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

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.

This year…

Green Screen to Web Application in 5 minutesI’m typing on my touch-enabled laptop, or tablet, or smart phone, connected wireless to an IBM Power System. I’m able to maintain those exact same AS/400 applications, which are still running happily on the new generation of computer systems called IBM Power Systems, fully backward compatible with the old AS/400 and iSeries computers, but now running on an operating system called IBM i. I can take that exact same twenty year old program code, run it through a converter to upgrade it to the latest version of RPG4 and then edit using a web-based editor to magically transform that ancient green screen program into a fully functional, completely modern website application.

Who would of thought that the old clunky green screen AS/400 would evolve into a a futuristic machine that could one day run on any sized mobile platform… or can even have its RPG code edited using a mobile phone!

There are a lot of companies out there offering software legacy code modernization to revamp old AS400 applications and blow new life into them. Code modernization itself is a simple process for any RPG programmer.

We are living in fascinating technology filled times….