You've been told that you are now responsible for building and maintaining your orgnization's Web site, but where are you going to learn the necessary skills?
Many small and medium-sized businesses have in-house developers who are very good at RPG programming. They know their company's business rules better than anyone. But when it came time to establish a Web presence, the organization turned to an outside Web development service. This may have made sense when the Web site was a read-only presentation of the company's products and services. Creating such a site is less about programming and more about graphic design and effective ad copy. While such skills probably exist in the marketing department, it was the fear of the new technology that caused most companies to look elsewhere for help.
In most industries, 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?
A large number of companies are realizing that their greatest assets are their employees who already know the business from top to bottom. It has taken years to gain this knowledge. Smart employers are leveraging this asset as they move into new technologies.
As an IBM i professional, you already know 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. Thanks to you and your colleagues, most of the preliminary work has already been performed, including installing the necessary components and connecting the system to the Web.
One place to get the training required is from Manta Technologies Inc. The training you need is offered in two forms:
- If you would prefer to learn at work or at home on your own schedule, you can use Manta's Web-based training delivery system, MantaNow. 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 you with the skills you 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.
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