Wed, Oct
2 New Articles

Is the Sun Too Close to Microsoft?

Analysis of News Events
  • Smaller Small Medium Big Bigger
  • Default Helvetica Segoe Georgia Times

“How many of you are doing client-server computing?” I asked members of a users group I visited recently. Only a couple of hands were raised. “What about connecting Client Access/400 to your user’s desktops?” I wondered. More hands were raised, but further investigation revealed that most were using Windows 3.11 and RUMBA. “OS/2?” One member had two OS/2 clients. Three still had users running DOS Extended. “What about Windows 95?” I asked. Lo and behold, the majority was still not using the Windows 95 client. “Any Java programmers out there?” I wondered. To my surprise, someone said, “Yes. We’re doing active development with Java, but not on the AS/400 yet!”

Real Client Access/400 users have a life that isn’t all Windows 95/NT, ActiveX, Java, VisualAge, or whatever. Real Client Access/400 users just have real business problems.

If my local user group is any measure, true client/server computing still is not a cost-effective solution for major application development. There are too many solutions, from too many vendors, with no clear pathway that leads to the future. IBM offers so many different methods of performing client/server computing on the AS/400 that just researching the options takes more time than these professionals can afford. Microsoft provides good client/server access through Visual Basic and SNA Server, but these users are reluctant to invest in the Microsoft proprietary solution. For them, the Windows platform changes too quickly to sink big dollars into swampy soil. The result is a wait-andsee attitude. Until they can convince management that they’re making a wise investment, client/server application development is a go-slow process.

With Windows 98 looming on the horizon, these companies still rely on Windows
3.11 and DOS. Windows 95 is still considered too unstable and too expensive for general consumption in the workplace.

Windows NT is out of the question. Connecting to the AS/400 with the advanced features of Client Access/400 Windows 95/NT clients will be a project that extends out over the next few years.

All of these users are interested in TCP/IP, the Web, Java, and the future of client/server computing on the AS/400. All acknowledge that their companies are far from the bleeding-edge. Their jobs are to build networks and applications that work to management specifications, not to be beta testers for IBM, Microsoft, NetSoft, and Sun Microsystems. “Show us how,” they say. “We’ll see if it will work for us.”

With this in mind, here’s a group of how-to pieces that show three different methods of AS/400 client/server computing. People like you, people who are in the trenches implementing hands-on client/server technology, write these articles. All of the client/server articles are designed to demonstrate the capacity of the AS/400 to deliver high- performance program-to-program communication.

If you—like a lot of people—still have DOS workstations, you’ll want to check out Bill Hansen’s piece of setting up virtual printers for the DOS Extended client. It demonstrates that DOS and the AS/400 still have a very powerful relationship.

All told, I think you’ll find this issue to be aimed precisely at the real Client Access/400 world in which we’re living. The “Email, Pointers, and Advice” section is in response to the questions you have been asking. Though I’m still running behind on my email responses, I’m steadily investigating and answering as many emails as I can.

Meanwhile, up in the clouds, the battles continue between Microsoft and Sun Microsystems over the importance of the Java language. As of today, Microsoft has stripped support for Java applets from its Web servers and Internet Explorer 4.0 browser. Gates is suggesting that he might recant if Sun Microsystems gives up its proprietary interest in the Java Virtual Machine so that it can become an ISO standard. “Fat chance,” responds Sun, “just as soon as Microsoft gives up the Windows API! Java already is a de facto standard!” All this makes interesting copy in the PC press, and of course it makes you wonder who is going to win: Microsoft or Sun. Like Daedalus in the ancient Greek myth, it seems that Bill Gates is intent on flying Windows ActiveX technology to the highest of heights. But the Internet is still a new enormous environment for Microsoft, with many non-Microsoft platforms (including the AS/400) supporting the development of the Java Virtual Machine. These non-Windows players are quite pleased that Java is providing heterogeneous cross-platform interoperability. They don’t want to lose Microsoft from their ranks of Java enablers, but they don’t want to end up like Apple, forced to supplicate to the NT operating system. It’s an interesting soap opera, easily whipped up by the PC press into consumable news bytes: “Gates Flies Too Close to Sun!” will be the headline, or vise versa.

I’m interested in what’s going on up there in the clouds, but I’m much more concerned with what’s going on in your shop. Send me an email; let me know what’s going on. No matter who wins the war, we still have a job to do, and that’s what Client Access/400 Expert is really about.

Thomas Stockwell

Thomas M. Stockwell is an independent IT analyst and writer. He is the former Editor in Chief of MC Press Online and Midrange Computing magazine and has over 20 years of experience as a programmer, systems engineer, IT director, industry analyst, author, speaker, consultant, and editor.  


Tom works from his home in the Napa Valley in California. He can be reached at ITincendiary.com.





Support MC Press Online

$0.00 Raised:

Book Reviews

Resource Center

  • SB Profound WC 5536 Have you been wondering about Node.js? Our free Node.js Webinar Series takes you from total beginner to creating a fully-functional IBM i Node.js business application. You can find Part 1 here. In Part 2 of our free Node.js Webinar Series, Brian May teaches you the different tooling options available for writing code, debugging, and using Git for version control. Brian will briefly discuss the different tools available, and demonstrate his preferred setup for Node development on IBM i or any platform. Attend this webinar to learn:

  • SB Profound WP 5539More than ever, there is a demand for IT to deliver innovation. Your IBM i has been an essential part of your business operations for years. However, your organization may struggle to maintain the current system and implement new projects. The thousands of customers we've worked with and surveyed state that expectations regarding the digital footprint and vision of the company are not aligned with the current IT environment.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT Generic IBM announced the E1080 servers using the latest Power10 processor in September 2021. The most powerful processor from IBM to date, Power10 is designed to handle the demands of doing business in today’s high-tech atmosphere, including running cloud applications, supporting big data, and managing AI workloads. But what does Power10 mean for your data center? In this recorded webinar, IBMers Dan Sundt and Dylan Boday join IBM Power Champion Tom Huntington for a discussion on why Power10 technology is the right strategic investment if you run IBM i, AIX, or Linux. In this action-packed hour, Tom will share trends from the IBM i and AIX user communities while Dan and Dylan dive into the tech specs for key hardware, including:

  • Magic MarkTRY the one package that solves all your document design and printing challenges on all your platforms. Produce bar code labels, electronic forms, ad hoc reports, and RFID tags – without programming! MarkMagic is the only document design and print solution that combines report writing, WYSIWYG label and forms design, and conditional printing in one integrated product. Make sure your data survives when catastrophe hits. Request your trial now!  Request Now.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericForms of ransomware has been around for over 30 years, and with more and more organizations suffering attacks each year, it continues to endure. What has made ransomware such a durable threat and what is the best way to combat it? In order to prevent ransomware, organizations must first understand how it works.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericIT security is a top priority for businesses around the world, but most IBM i pros don’t know where to begin—and most cybersecurity experts don’t know IBM i. In this session, Robin Tatam explores the business impact of lax IBM i security, the top vulnerabilities putting IBM i at risk, and the steps you can take to protect your organization. If you’re looking to avoid unexpected downtime or corrupted data, you don’t want to miss this session.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericCan you trust all of your users all of the time? A typical end user receives 16 malicious emails each month, but only 17 percent of these phishing campaigns are reported to IT. Once an attack is underway, most organizations won’t discover the breach until six months later. A staggering amount of damage can occur in that time. Despite these risks, 93 percent of organizations are leaving their IBM i systems vulnerable to cybercrime. In this on-demand webinar, IBM i security experts Robin Tatam and Sandi Moore will reveal:

  • FORTRA Disaster protection is vital to every business. Yet, it often consists of patched together procedures that are prone to error. From automatic backups to data encryption to media management, Robot automates the routine (yet often complex) tasks of iSeries backup and recovery, saving you time and money and making the process safer and more reliable. Automate your backups with the Robot Backup and Recovery Solution. Key features include:

  • FORTRAManaging messages on your IBM i can be more than a full-time job if you have to do it manually. Messages need a response and resources must be monitored—often over multiple systems and across platforms. How can you be sure you won’t miss important system events? Automate your message center with the Robot Message Management Solution. Key features include:

  • FORTRAThe thought of printing, distributing, and storing iSeries reports manually may reduce you to tears. Paper and labor costs associated with report generation can spiral out of control. Mountains of paper threaten to swamp your files. Robot automates report bursting, distribution, bundling, and archiving, and offers secure, selective online report viewing. Manage your reports with the Robot Report Management Solution. Key features include:

  • FORTRAFor over 30 years, Robot has been a leader in systems management for IBM i. With batch job creation and scheduling at its core, the Robot Job Scheduling Solution reduces the opportunity for human error and helps you maintain service levels, automating even the biggest, most complex runbooks. Manage your job schedule with the Robot Job Scheduling Solution. Key features include:

  • LANSA Business users want new applications now. Market and regulatory pressures require faster application updates and delivery into production. Your IBM i developers may be approaching retirement, and you see no sure way to fill their positions with experienced developers. In addition, you may be caught between maintaining your existing applications and the uncertainty of moving to something new.

  • LANSAWhen it comes to creating your business applications, there are hundreds of coding platforms and programming languages to choose from. These options range from very complex traditional programming languages to Low-Code platforms where sometimes no traditional coding experience is needed. Download our whitepaper, The Power of Writing Code in a Low-Code Solution, and:

  • LANSASupply Chain is becoming increasingly complex and unpredictable. From raw materials for manufacturing to food supply chains, the journey from source to production to delivery to consumers is marred with inefficiencies, manual processes, shortages, recalls, counterfeits, and scandals. In this webinar, we discuss how:

  • The MC Resource Centers bring you the widest selection of white papers, trial software, and on-demand webcasts for you to choose from. >> Review the list of White Papers, Trial Software or On-Demand Webcast at the MC Press Resource Center. >> Add the items to yru Cart and complet he checkout process and submit

  • Profound Logic Have you been wondering about Node.js? Our free Node.js Webinar Series takes you from total beginner to creating a fully-functional IBM i Node.js business application.

  • SB Profound WC 5536Join us for this hour-long webcast that will explore:

  • Fortra IT managers hoping to find new IBM i talent are discovering that the pool of experienced RPG programmers and operators or administrators with intimate knowledge of the operating system and the applications that run on it is small. This begs the question: How will you manage the platform that supports such a big part of your business? This guide offers strategies and software suggestions to help you plan IT staffing and resources and smooth the transition after your AS/400 talent retires. Read on to learn: