You'd like to have your staff build and maintain your Web site, but where are they going to learn the necessary skills?
Suppose you decide to buy a new widget. If you are like most people, the first thing you will do is to look up "widgets" on the Web. The harsh reality of today's marketplace is that, if a company is not on the Web, it does not exist to most potential customers. As a result, it is now almost impossible to find an organization that does not have at least a basic Web presence.
Many small and medium-sized businesses established their first Web presence by using an outside Web development service. The competition among vendors means that it is relatively cheap to create a simple site that provides basic information about your organization. In most industries, however, a basic Web site is no longer satisfactory. Customers want to be able to order products online, check inventories and delivery dates, choose options, receive support, and perform all the other tasks that they used to perform in brick-and-mortar stores.
Supporting such user services requires that an organization integrate its Web site with its production server. Product queries will need access to the database. Shipping and pricing queries might need business logic that's already available in existing applications. Organizations that decide to implement such Web applications are faced with a quandary. Should they continue to use outside Web developers, who know nothing about their existing applications, or bring the Web development job in-house? And, if they decide to bring the job in-house, should they hire experienced Web developers or train their existing developers in Web technologies?
There are no simple answers to these questions. Each organization must find the solution that best meets its own requirements and capabilities. Factors to be considered include the following:
- Do you have developers with the time and ability to learn new technologies?
- Do you have access to copy writers, artists, and graphic designers to develop the contents of the Web site?
- Does your current system have the capacity to take on the extra work?
- Do you have an experienced administrator who can perform the network security and capacity-planning tasks involved in setting up a Web server?
The good news is that it is quite possible to host a complex Web site using the IBM HTTP Server for i (powered by Apache), which comes with IBM i. This server can be used to invoke server-side programs written in RPG, COBOL, C, CL, or REXX. It also supports PHP and Net.Data. If you prefer Java, you can use the Integrated Application Server, which is also a free component of IBM i.
One place to get the training required is from Manta Technologies Inc. The training your staff needs is offered in two forms:
- If you would prefer to train employees in-house on their own schedules, I recommend using MantaNow, the Web-based training delivery system. The Manta Web Development Combination Pack covers everything in the workshop. It also includes related courses on TCP/IP, SQL, RDP/RDi/WDSc, and Java.
In either case, the Manta courses can provide your staff with the skills they need to create a dynamic Web site and to run it using the IBM HTTP Server for i (powered by Apache). Need proof? Check out www.mantatech.com, the Web site that was developed using the skills taught in these courses.
as/400, os/400, iseries, system i, i5/os, ibm i, power systems, 6.1, 7.1, V7,