Sat, Feb
3 New Articles

2011 Highlights: Mobile Apps, PHP, and Cloud-Based Services

  • Smaller Small Medium Big Bigger
  • Default Helvetica Segoe Georgia Times

This year will see new technologies applied to the IBM i platform, requiring a redoubled commitment to training and personal development.


Given all the negatives that the economic downturn in 2009 caused, it's not surprising that 2010 ended with some uncertainty, even as many businesses began to get their feet on the ground. The lingering malaise may have been unfairly projected onto the IBM i platform, but there is now a true spirit of optimism emerging in the IT industry as January propels us rapidly into the heart of 2011.


We wanted to give readers our take on what the year ahead is likely to hold for the IBM midrange platform and thus waited until the year had bolted from the starting gate in order to offer a better sense of the path ahead.


There are market trends, and then there are market trends. Some are highly scientific, but this one is not; it's the subjective opinions of MC Press Online editors who cover the news and talk to authors on a daily basis. Needless to say, there are many initiatives unfolding at IBM that we could highlight, but we believe the three main IBM trends of interest to our readers are business intelligence (including predictive analytics), cloud computing, and system and data integration. (Then also there's security, but let's face it; there's always going to be security.)


However, in addition to whatever IBM initiatives may be in play, there are also market initiatives that readers face in their own businesses in the form of requests from management and users. Many of our readers are programmers who are called upon to implement the requests emerging from these market-driven forces.


The summary below is a list of trends that we see emerging this year that may affect readers. That mission-critical data is stored on the IBM i platform has been a given for years. That people with cell phones or iPads wandering around a shopping mall may not want to access that data as they place an online order over an e-commerce site is a new phenomenon. Regardless of how the world used to be a few years back, the Web genie is now out of the bag, and developers are going to have to deal with it. Here is how we see things emerging this year for IBM i Power System developers and administrators.

MC Press Online's Trends for 2011

  • Upgrades to in-house and vendor-supplied application software to allow it to support the latest browser technologies, such as the forthcoming Internet Explorer 9, browsers that in turn will support HTML5 and CSS3. Greater use of rich UI feature sets in modernization projects.
  • Web app development for mobile devices, most standardizing on the WebKit engine. Expertise will be required in building mobile-device applications that support device detection and in reformatting of output for different mobile devices and other enhanced mobile-device features.
  • A crushing emphasis on training and skill development by and for IBM i professionals to familiarize them with HTML and Web skills as well as enhanced modernization skills so as to help reduce cost, improve performance, and increase application functionality and Web access.
  • Continued application modernization that follows two separate tracks: 1) Web enablement and 2) a growing emphasis on the complete rewriting of applications with enhanced functionality and multiplatform support. This latter trend will accelerate as the economy improves and IT funds become more readily available.
  • New and simpler solutions for deploying business intelligence and predictive analytics for lower-level business class users and a greater emphasis on using them for decision-making.
  • Greater integration of IBM i applications with other databases, including MySQL and SQL Server, to enable consolidating data from different sources for presentation on the Web.
  • Gradual improvement of RPG Open Access handlers and RPG OA technology to allow for automatic large application modernization projects without the requirement to change underlying code.
  • Further emphasis on PHP for Web application development, enhanced existing application functionality, and modernization overhauls; increased emphasis on training to learn the more sophisticated ins and outs of PHP development.
  • Greater reliance on open-source technologies on the IBM i platform for fast application development that competes with .NET. Utilization of the readily available open-source solutions that can be customized to meet users' specific needs.
  • "Reverse consolidation," leading to more special-purpose appliances, such as for security, process acceleration, and special cloud-based solutions (e.g., salesforce.com) and more integration with and reliance upon growing cloud-hosted services.


That's how we see 2011 rolling out, but we would enjoy hearing your opinions on the topic. Feel free to comment on, add to, amplify, or disagree with the above list in the forums. We welcome your feedback!

Joe Pluta

Joe Pluta is the founder and chief architect of Pluta Brothers Design, Inc. He has been extending the IBM midrange since the days of the IBM System/3. Joe uses WebSphere extensively, especially as the base for PSC/400, the only product that can move your legacy systems to the Web using simple green-screen commands. He has written several books, including Developing Web 2.0 Applications with EGL for IBM i, E-Deployment: The Fastest Path to the Web, Eclipse: Step by Step, and WDSC: Step by Step. Joe performs onsite mentoring and speaks at user groups around the country. You can reach him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

MC Press books written by Joe Pluta available now on the MC Press Bookstore.

Developing Web 2.0 Applications with EGL for IBM i Developing Web 2.0 Applications with EGL for IBM i
Joe Pluta introduces you to EGL Rich UI and IBM’s Rational Developer for the IBM i platform.
List Price $39.95

Now On Sale

WDSC: Step by Step WDSC: Step by Step
Discover incredibly powerful WDSC with this easy-to-understand yet thorough introduction.
List Price $74.95

Now On Sale

Eclipse: Step by Step Eclipse: Step by Step
Quickly get up to speed and productivity using Eclipse.
List Price $59.00

Now On Sale



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: