Sidebar

Mobile Computing and the IBM i

Development Tools / Utilities
Typography
  • Smaller Small Medium Big Bigger
  • Default Helvetica Segoe Georgia Times

The ability to create great mobile applications for the IBM i presents many very exciting opportunities.

 

It's no secret that mobile computing is hot, hot, hot. But, for you non-believers, consider these numbers:

  

111212ASNAFigure1a                     

Figure 1a: Smartphones outsell PCs in 2011 for the first time.

 

111212ASNAFigure1b

Figure 1b: It's predicted that by 2014 there will be 2 billion Android devices in use. It's also predicted that by 2014 there will be 2 billion PCs in use. That means that Android devices did in six years what it took PCs 32 years to do! (Click here and here.)

111212ASNAFigure1c

Figure 1c: Apple sold 145 million iPhones in four years; it took 28 years to sell 122 million Macs.

As these numbers indicate, mobile is irreversibly and irrefutably here to stay. Many years ago, pundits told us that UNIX/Linux would replace the desktop—but it never did. At least until we could put it in our pocket. With mobile clearly here to stay, let's also be realistic about the future of the desktop—especially in the business world. Mobile devices (especially tablets) may indeed replace a substantial percentage of consumer desktop computers, but in the enterprise there is a still a lot of work we need PCs to do. Despite the recognition that desktop PCs won't be disappearing off of enterprise desks anytime soon, it is important for IBM i businesses to acknowledge and consider the growing importance of mobile devices in the enterprise.

 

Getting Off of the Dime

It's no secret that decisions in the IBM i midrange enterprise move slowly. In fact, I know of a few IBM i decision-makers who drive to work in cars adorned with "They can have my 5250 Model 11 when they pry it from my cold, dead fingers" bumper stickers.

Despite a general reluctance to embrace new things, from my recent conversations with hundreds of customers (literally), mobile computing is indeed hot in the IBM i arena. And not only is it hot, but the demand for it is becoming more focused. At the last two ASNA developer conferences (in the fall of 2011 and spring of 2012), attendees all agreed that they needed mobile apps, but they couldn't articulate exactly what the business case was for mobile yet; they only knew they were being asked about mobile computing—and the need was coming from the top tier of the organizational chart.

Fast forward to late this summer and this fall, where I've been on the road doing Web and mobile development workshops for customers and prospects. I've noticed a substantial sharpness when attendees address their need for mobile computing. Example applications and use cases roll off the tips of their tongues without much thought. There have clearly been many mobile discussions in the last six months in these customers' and prospects' meeting rooms.

If you're dragging your feet on mobile, give the Google Mobile Playbook a look. Using plain language, it compellingly explains what mobile computing can do for business (the cynical side of me thinks that for Google to tell us that is like your dentist insisting that cotton candy is good for your teeth!).

It's Not Just Emotional This Time

Many of us are veterans from the great GUI wars of the early '90s. Remember those days? Visual Basic was but a baby. The green-screen was frustrating us then (nearly a quarter a century ago!) and perceived as old-fashioned. We all got GUI fever. ISVs could quickly prove the ROI for eliminating the green–screen, but for most vertical application development the GUI had an elusive ROI metric. It was hard to measure the business value of dropdown menus and radio buttons over green-screens. But we couldn't help it; we needed that GUI. Had to have the GUI. For many years, IBM talked up the importance of, among others, C, SmallTalk, Visual Age for RPG, OS/2 and the "polymorphic GUI," Java (remember the ad in NEWS/400 that implied if we RPG programmers didn't learn Java we'd all be flipping hamburgers!), WebFacing, and HATs as avenues with which we could cure our GUI fever. Alas, virtually everyone one of those strategies du jour in the IBM midrange community was stopgap at best, and if not that, an outright failure.

The third-party was there as well. Here at ASNA we sold many copies of our first ASNA Visual RPG (AVR) product; that product focused nearly exclusively on fat Windows front-end client development for what we used to call the AS/400. Visual RPG's early successes proved that, at least in the heyday of the mid-'90s, not every technology needed solid proof of an ROI before its adoption. One of the lessons we learned back then is that rarely is an enterprise technical decision driven purely by technical factors. There are also many social, political, and emotional factors at play. Back in those days, it was often developers, excited about playing with new shiny things, that helped feed the need for a GUI.

The Mobile Push

Fast forward to the debt-ridden, employee-reduced, scratching-for-business early 21st century. Technical projects are on hold or being doled out slowly. Every project is scrutinized for ROI and a definitive reason to exist. And fewer developers are available to work on whatever projects do get the green light.

But then along comes mobile computing. Mobile applications in the enterprise aren't about the nebulous payback of dropdown menus or radio buttons. Nor are they about replacing the green-screen. They are about empowering a work force in innovating, cost-saving, business-changing ways. Mobile applications present the biggest technical advance we've seen for a long while in the enterprise. These devices defy existing work flows, existing computing models, and existing expectations. It's not overly dramatic to say that mobile computing changes everything. It does.

Having been cable-bound for so long to work with our IBM i workstations, the vistas that open up when you consider mobile computing are nearly endless. Supervisors can walk and manage shop floors effortlessly using iPads as 5250 devices; the mobile sales force has information at its fingertips; retail businesses are now able to move the cash register out to where the customer is (I bought produce from a farmers market in the middle of a field the other day, and the vendor's iPhone was his cash register); and dispatchers have instant access to fleet locations and work progress. And these are the obvious things. Clever, business-defining uses of mobile devices in the enterprise are being created every day.

Unlike previous technical revolutions, the mobile revolution is unique in that it's generally driven by a BYOD (bring-your-own-device) mindset. That is, for the first time ever, end-users are bringing their own devices to you and saying, "Hook me up, please." In the old days, we took apps to them and said, "Look what I have for you now." Today users show us their personal smartphones and say, "When can I run your app on this? That's where I really need it." When PCs first appeared, their use in the enterprise was championed from the bottom up by a rogue band of geeky rebels; today the use of mobile computing devices in the enterprise is being championed from the top down by CEOs and executives.

Back in the day of GUI fever, fulfilling our desire for a great UI didn't instantly open the door for new business opportunities, cost-saving work flows, or the ability to create dynamically and profitable new business models. Mobile computing does all that and more. The savvy IBM i decision-maker who ignores mobile computing today is making a huge mistake.

Mobile Imposed Differences

Despite the pressing need for mobile in the enterprise, it's important to remember that to quench the thirst for mobile means understanding its constraints and the differences it imposes on our legacy desktop computing model. For example:

  • Mobile devices have a vastly reduced screen size. The common two-finger "pinch" gesture generally always reduces the size display, and you can use your fingertips to scroll to different parts of the smaller display and put them into focus. However, to be truly effective, enterprise apps probably shouldn't work that way. Enterprise apps will generally make users more effective if their displays are tailored for the size of the device being used. This may mean that some apps work better on tablets than on smartphones. It also may imply that the app is responsive enough to change itself and dynamically configure itself to provide the best experience for the mobile device currently being used. Remember, too, that mobile devices also offer the ability to change their display orientation between portrait and landscape.
  • Mobile devices don't have a mouse or keyboard. Most of the interaction is through touch and gestures. For greenfield apps, built especially for mobile devices, this is usually an easy constraint to resolve. However, the lack of a keyboard (especially a keyboard without function keys) presents substantial challenges when using an existing IBM i green-screen application on a tablet.
  • Mobile devices have limited battery life. This isn't exclusively an enterprise issue; all mobile users are quite familiar with the steps required to keep a mobile device running all day long (why, oh why, are electrical receptacles such a precious resource at airports!). But it is something we must consider as we attempt to resolve enterprise challenges with mobile devices. The more "active" an application is (e.g., constantly polling for a changing GEO-encoded location), the more quickly it sucks life from the mobile device. For many of us, programming for mobile will remind us of the every-byte-counts programming style we used for the S/36!
  • Mobile devices are highly dependent on network connectivity. Again, this isn't unique to enterprise uses of mobile, but it is something we need to consider. Mobile applications may need to exploit local storage on mobile devices, and they may need to be more gracious about broken connectivity to be good mobile citizens.

Native or Not?

In addition to the previously mentioned mobile-imposed differences, the model of the mobile application should be considered. The two prevailing models are native and HTML/JavaScript/CSS (which is condensed to just HTML for most of this article).

For native applications, Java is the language generally used for the Android, and Apple's Objective C is the language generally used for the iPhone/iPad. Both of these languages (especially Objective C—it doesn't even have implicit garbage collection in the mobile runtime!) have substantial learning curves. And the integrated development environments also offer their own steep learning curves.

For most enterprise applications, the costs to create device-specific applications are generally beyond the budgets of most businesses. It takes a very large customer base to make most native efforts affordable. Angry Birds amortizes high development costs over millions of users. It is true that going native potentially offers a little closer affinity to the hardware (e.g., access to the accelerometer, the gyro, the camera, and the touch screen), but the HTML model has rapidly matured on the most widely used mobile platforms to recognize hardware APIs. For example, the accelerometer and gyroscope are available to JavaScript on both Android and Apple mobile devices. Touch and many other facilities are also easily available to JavaScript.

Beyond hardware access, the HTML model provides a very strong user experience on mobile devices. One of the things we've learned at ASNA with mobile applications is that they are held to a pretty high "do they look and feel right" standard by users. Savvy mobile users can spot a bogus, off-by-one mobile UI in a heartbeat, so a high affinity for what looks and feels right is very important. And that look and feel can be achieved by the HTML model.

Taxonomy of Mobile Computing for the IBM i Enterprise

Having discounted native development for mobile applications in the IBM i enterprise, let's classify mobile computing for the IBM i. To do so, we need to be specific about where and how mobile will be used, what devices are being used, and what software is needed. At ASNA, we've defined three specific areas of mobile computing and the problems they solve.

The first area of mobile IBM i mobile computing is the use of existing IBM i software on mobile devices.

There are many environments, represented notably by manufacturing and healthcare, where users need instant, mobile access to existing IBM i 24x80 or 27x132 applications. These aren't "mobile" applications, mind you; these are simply existing applications that need to be used on mobile devices. The applications are tested, deployed, and connected to substantial back-end workflows and server devices. The business problem they represent is that someone needs to use them from any physical access point. In some ways, this model may be considered less like "mobile computing" and more like offering "mobile workstations." Call it what you want, it's a critical need for many IBM i shops.

In most cases for this model, tablets are the mobile device of choice. Assuming a superb emulator or enhanced display file is available, tablets provide the form factor required to render existing green-screen applications in a rational, usable manner without modification or other preparation. Do note that the quality of the emulator or enhanced display is critical to providing a great user experience on a tablet. ASNA's browser-based emulator and its Wings product are both optimized for use with Apple or Android devices—especially tablets.

The two screens below show how an unmodified green-screen looks using ASNA's browser-based emulator in an iPad. We took great care to make our emulator's "keyboard" feel natural and effortless for users. Function keys must be available, but users don't want them in the way. Figure 2a shows the ASNA emulator in action on an iPad. Figure 2b shows an ASNA Wings-enhanced display file in action on an iPad. This display reacts naturally to touch, and while it doesn't look like it was written from scratch for the iPad, it provides a very good user experience. The Wings mobile user experience is also high value in that it is very economical to produce and use.

ASNA Wings uses IBM's Open Access API, so the underlying RPG that is driving the enhanced Wings displays is essentially unaware that its user interface has been so dramatically enhanced. ASNA Wings provides a seamless way for you to present your existing IBM i applications with very little effort. In fact, although Wings' primary reason for being is to let you create enhanced displays (like the one shown in Figure 2b), with the ASNA emulator (which is included with Wings) it also provides a great no-effort mobile-enabler if all that your users need is a superb tablet-friend emulator.

111212ASNAFigure2a

Figure 2a: A 5250 green-screen running in the ASNA emulator on an iPad.


 111212ASNAFigure2b

Figure 2b: A Wings-enhanced display file displayed by an ILE RPG program on an iPad.

The Second and Third Areas of IBM i Mobile Computing

The first area of mobile computing focuses on using existing IBM i applications with mobile applications. Because of their form factor (which enables tablets to display existing applications well without modifying the display file), tablets are generally going to resolve challenges in the first area of mobile computing. The second and third areas of IBM i mobile computing are similar in that both of them address the need to create new IBM i mobile applications. These applications will work with either tablets or smartphones—but anecdotal customer interviews indicate that smartphones are the much bigger target for these new applications.

The result of the second and third areas of mobile computing, at least from the end-user perspective, is very similar, if not identical-looking for the end-user. The end-user has a mobile application, tailored for mobile use, with the appropriate look and feel. However, the two areas diverge substantially in how the new mobile applications are created. Before we discuss these two areas in detail, let's first examine why you might want to write new applications at all for mobile—after all, you have tons of applications on your IBM i—so under what circumstances would you ever need more of them? Aren't IBM i applications like Paul McCartney songs? Do we really need any more of them?

Many (most?) legacy applications are monolithic beasts with nearly every element of the 24x80 screen filled with data. These applications were designed for a back-office, start-'em-and-stay-in-'em work flow. These legacy applications were also written at a time when performance was taken for granted. We didn't spend much time worrying about network throughput when the network was nothing but a 60' twinax cable. The legacy apps opened many (many, many in most cases) files and flowed tons of data between the IBM i's DASD and the 5250 devices.

Mobile applications are the polar opposite of their slothful, monolithic legacy forebears. Where our legacy IBM i applications included everything but the kitchen sink, mobile applications are focused like a laser on delivering very specific chunks of information for very specific tasks. Great care is taken to deliver just the data needed to fulfill a very focused (and small!) display. Performance isn't taken for granted; mobile apps are written to pessimistically assume the data pipeline is slow. The focus, scope, performance, and specificity required to fulfill the demands of mobile computing usually precludes using existing applications for specific mobile tasks.

Beyond the dramatic application model difference, another thing that makes us need new applications for mobile devices is the fact that in many cases mobile computing resolves challenges that green-screen applications never faced. Mobile computing often steps up to fulfill business needs that used to be resolved manually and with batch processing. For example, it was impossible for mobile employees (e.g., truck drivers out on a day-long delivery route) to use 5250 devices to punch in and out for lunch. Therefore, analog work flows were created for these tasks in the old days. With the right software in place, mobile steps up to gracefully resolve these old, antiquated analog work flows.

The reality is, for most IBM i businesses needing mobile applications today, unlike Paul McCartney songs that we just don't need any more of, we are probably going to need a new family of IBM i applications targeted specifically for mobile users. Having established that we probably need some new applications to fulfill our mobile demands for the IBM i, how do we get them? That brings us to the definition of the second and third areas of mobile computing for the IBM i. Remember that as far as the end-user is concerned, assuming well-crafted development tools are used, the result of these two areas is for all intents and purposes indistinguishable. Under the covers, though, two very distinct programming paths are taken to arrive at the result.

The second area of mobile IBM i mobile computing is the creation of new software for mobile use with traditional RPG III or IV programming experience.

Although we've heard a lot lately about the demise of the RPG programmer, and it is true that some are rapidly reaching retirement age, there are still thousands of RPG programmers with great programming skills in IBM i shops today. Given the right mobile-enabled tools, these programmers could easily develop the next generation of mobile applications for the IBM i. The key, though, is "given the right mobile-enabled tools."

These RPG coders need a programming model that bridges their traditional RPG programming expertise with the ability to create, and connect to, a great mobile user experience. In Q1 2013, ASNA will release ASNA Mobile RPG (MR) to solve this challenge. MR empowers RPG programmers to create superb mobile applications. The displays in Figures 3a, 3b, and 3c show an example of the type of mobile user experience you can expect with Mobile RPG. You can read more about ASNA Mobile RPG at http://asna.com/us/mobilerpg.

MR provides a Windows-based designer used to create mobile displays with a point-and-click model. Once created, the MR Mobile Display File is compiled on the IBM i as a display file object. An RPG programmer then writes an RPG program using this display file. At runtime, the RPG program thinks it is communicating with the traditional display file, when in fact it is communicating with the MR Mobile Display File—which is displaying on a smartphone or tablet.

MR was specifically designed to put mobile development in the hands of traditional RPG programmers who do don't know, or have the time to learn, HTML, JavaScript, CSS3, Java, or Objective C. The MR Mobile Display File designer hides away those details and simply lets RPG programmers be productive quickly with their existing skills.

In 1994, ASNA introduced ASNA Visual RPG, and that product revolutionized IBM i application development for thousands of customers around the world. ASNA Mobile RPG will do the same thing for IBM i mobile application development for the traditional RPG programmer! Stay tuned!


111212ASNAFigure3a

Figure 3a: A mobile application driven by either ASNA Mobile RPG or by ASNA Visual RPG. This screen lets a user select the first letter of a customer's name.

111212ASNAFigure3b

Figure 3b: After tapping a letter on the screen shown in Figure 3a, the user can scroll down the necessary customer, or the customer can be searched the search box at the top of the list.


111212ASNAFigure3c

Figure 3c: After tapping the correct customer on the screen in Figure 3b, this screen is displayed to show customer sales detail.

The third area of mobile IBM i mobile computing is the creation of new software for mobile use by PC-centric developers.

Just as many IBM i businesses have traditional RPG programmers available to create mobile applications (again, given effective tools!), there are also a great number of IBM i businesses that have VB, C#, or ASNA Visual RPG programmers who also want to create great IBM i applications.

While there are many approaches to building this type of application with these languages, a very popular model has emerged called a "single page" application, where the HTML, the JavaScript, and the CSS are delivered to the mobile device with one payload. A single-page app is created with two primary components: a server-side component that provides data to the mobile presentation layer and an HTML5 presentation layer. The data is provided with Web services serving up JSON data to the mobile client (and conversely, receiving it back from the mobile client).

Because ASNA Visual RPG has such a great affinity for the IBM i database, it makes a great language with which to write these JSON-providing services. These programs are hosted on a Windows Web server and read IBM i data and translate it to and from JSON for consumption by the HTML5 presentation layer. There are a great many open-source libraries (such as jQuery, jQuery Mobile, Dojo, and Knockout.js) that facilitate the creation of the mobile user interface. ASNA Visual RPG works very well with single-page mobile apps and with these open-source libraries. In the case of having VB or C# programmers, they can use ASNA Visual RPG to focus on the data services and then scaffold the rest of the application with the language of their choice for the rest of the back-end.

Creating mobile applications like this generally requires a team atmosphere; there are, to be clear, several critical skills required to stitch this type of application together. But there are many IBM i programming team members who either already have many of these skills or are ready and willing to learn them. If your team has programmers like this, the third area of mobile is a great way to fulfill your IBM i mobile needs.

The Mobile Challenge Awaits!

The ability to create great mobile applications for the IBM i presents many very exciting opportunities. These applications have the potential to be a generation of business-changing, workflow-defining applications. They will keep your business competitive, relevant, and vibrant. And for many shops, resolving the mobile challenge will revitalize its programmers with new and exciting applications to create.

As you can see, there are several great ways to use mobile computing with your IBM i. Regardless of how you need implement mobile computing on your IBM i, ASNA is there to help!

Roger Pence

Roger Pence is ASNA's Product Evangelist. Roger has been in the IBM i midrange community for so long that Elvis was alive when he started. He has been with ASNA since 2000. Prior to joining ASNA, Roger was a technical editor for NEWS/400 and the author of the 400/Group's AS/400 and Windows newsletter.

BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS

LATEST COMMENTS

RESOURCE CENTER

  • WHITE PAPERS

  • WEBCAST

  • TRIAL SOFTWARE

  • Mobile Computing and the IBM i

    SB ASNA PPL 5450Mobile computing is rapidly maturing into a solid platform for delivering enterprise applications. Many IBM i shops today are realizing that integrating their IBM i with mobile applications is the fast path to improved business workflows, better customer relations, and more responsive business reporting.

    This ASNA whitepaper takes a look at mobile computing for the IBM i. It discusses the different ways mobile applications may be used within the enterprise and how ASNA products solve the challenges mobile presents. It also presents the case that you already have the mobile programming team your projects need: that team is your existing RPG development team!

    Get your copy today!

  • Automate IBM i Operations using Wireless Devices

    DDL SystemsDownload the technical whitepaper on MANAGING YOUR IBM i WIRELESSLY and (optionally) register to download an absolutely FREE software trail. This whitepaper provides an in-depth review of the native IBM i technology and ACO MONITOR's advanced two-way messaging features to remotely manage your IBM i while in or away from the office. Notify on-duty personnel of system events and remotely respond to complex problems (via your Smartphone) before they become critical-24/7. Problem solved!

    Order your copy here.

  • DR Strategy Guide from Maxava: Brand New Edition - now fully updated to include Cloud!

    SB Maxava PPL 5476PRACTICAL TOOLS TO IMPLEMENT DISASTER RECOVERY IN YOUR IBM i ENVIRONMENT

    CLOUD VS. ON-PREMISE?
    - COMPREHENSIVE CHECKLISTS
    - RISK COST CALCULATIONS
    - BUSINESS CASE FRAMEWORK
    - DR SOLUTIONS OVERVIEW
    - RFP BUILDER
    Download your free copy of DR Strategy Guide for IBM i from Maxava today.

     

  • White Paper: Node.js for Enterprise IBM i Modernization

    SB Profound WP 5539

    If your business is thinking about modernizing your legacy IBM i (also known as AS/400 or iSeries) applications, you will want to read this white paper first!

    Download this paper and learn how Node.js can ensure that you:
    - Modernize on-time and budget - no more lengthy, costly, disruptive app rewrites!
    - Retain your IBM i systems of record
    - Find and hire new development talent
    - Integrate new Node.js applications with your existing RPG, Java, .Net, and PHP apps
    - Extend your IBM i capabilties to include Watson API, Cloud, and Internet of Things


    Read Node.js for Enterprise IBM i Modernization Now!

     

  • 2020 IBM i Marketplace Survey Results

    HelpSystems

    This year marks the sixth edition of the popular IBM i Marketplace Survey Results. Each year, HelpSystems sets out to gather data about how businesses use the IBM i platform and the IT initiatives it supports. Year over year, the survey has begun to reveal long-term trends that give insight into the future of this trusted technology.

    More than 500 IBM i users from around the globe participated in this year’s survey, and we’re so happy to share the results with you. We hope you’ll find the information interesting and useful as you evaluate your own IT projects.

  • AIX Security Basics eCourse

    Core Security

    With so many organizations depending on AIX day to day, ensuring proper security and configuration is critical to ensure the safety of your environment. Don’t let common threats put your critical AIX servers at risk. Avoid simple mistakes and start to build a long-term plan with this AIX Security eCourse. Enroll today to get easy to follow instructions on topics like:

    • Removing extraneous files
    • Patching systems efficiently
    • Setting and validating permissions
    • Managing service considerations
    • Getting overall visibility into your networks

     

  • Developer Kit: Making a Business Case for Modernization and Beyond

    Profound Logic Software, Inc.

    Having trouble getting management approval for modernization projects? The problem may be you're not speaking enough "business" to them.

    This Developer Kit provides you study-backed data and a ready-to-use business case template to help get your very next development project approved!

  • What to Do When Your AS/400 Talent Retires

    HelpSystemsIT managers hoping to find new IBM i talent are discovering that the pool of experienced RPG programmers and operators or administrators is small.

    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:

    • Why IBM i skills depletion is a top concern
    • How leading organizations are coping
    • Where automation will make the biggest impact

     

  • IBM i Resources Retiring?

    SB HelpSystems WC GenericLet’s face it: IBM i experts and RPG programmers are retiring from the workforce. Are you prepared to handle their departure?
    Our panel of IBM i experts—Chuck Losinski, Robin Tatam, Richard Schoen, and Tom Huntington—will outline strategies that allow your company to cope with IBM i skills depletion by adopting these strategies that allow you to get the job done without deep expertise on the OS:
    - Automate IBM i processes
    - Use managed services to help fill the gaps
    - Secure the system against data loss and viruses
    The strategies you discover in this webinar will help you ensure that your system of record—your IBM i—continues to deliver a powerful business advantage, even as staff retires.

     

  • Backup and Recovery Considerations for Security Data and Encrypted Backups

    SB PowerTech WC GenericSecurity expert Carol Woodbury is joined by Debbie Saugen. Debbie is an expert on IBM i backup and recovery, disaster recovery, and high availability, helping IBM i shops build and implement effective business continuity plans.
    In today’s business climate, business continuity is more important than ever. But 83 percent of organizations are not totally confident in their backup strategy.
    During this webinar, Carol and Debbie discuss the importance of a good backup plan, how to ensure you’re backing up your security information, and your options for encrypted back-ups.

  • Profound.js: The Agile Approach to Legacy Modernization

    SB Profound WC GenericIn this presentation, Alex Roytman and Liam Allan will unveil a completely new and unique way to modernize your legacy applications. Learn how Agile Modernization:
    - Uses the power of Node.js in place of costly system re-writes and migrations
    - Enables you to modernize legacy systems in an iterative, low-risk manner
    - Makes it easier to hire developers for your modernization efforts
    - Integrates with Profound UI (GUI modernization) for a seamless, end-to-end legacy modernization solution

     

  • Data Breaches: Is IBM i Really at Risk?

    SB PowerTech WC GenericIBM i is known for its security, but this OS could be more vulnerable than you think.
    Although Power Servers often live inside the safety of the perimeter firewall, the risk of suffering a data leak or data corruption remains high.
    Watch noted IBM i security expert Robin Tatam as he discusses common ways that this supposedly “secure” operating system may actually be vulnerable and who the culprits might be.

    Watch the webinar today!

     

  • Easy Mobile Development

    SB Profound WC GenericWatch this on-demand webinar and learn how to rapidly and easily deploy mobile apps to your organization – even when working with legacy RPG code! IBM Champion Scott Klement will demonstrate how to:
    - Develop RPG applications without mobile development experience
    - Deploy secure applications for any mobile device
    - Build one application for all platforms, including Apple and Android
    - Extend the life and reach of your IBM i (aka iSeries, AS400) platform
    You’ll see examples from customers who have used our products and services to deliver the mobile applications of their dreams, faster and easier than they ever thought possible!

     

  • Profound UI: Unlock True Modernization from your IBM i Enterprise

    SB Profound PPL 5491Modern, web-based applications can make your Enterprise more efficient, connected and engaged. This session will demonstrate how the Profound UI framework is the best and most native way to convert your existing RPG applications and develop new modern applications for your business. Additionally, you will learn how you can address modernization across your Enterprise, including databases and legacy source code, with Profound Logic.

  • Node Webinar Series Pt. 1: The World of Node.js on IBM i

    Profound Logic Software, Inc.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.

    Part 1 will teach you what Node.js is, why it's a great option for IBM i shops, and how to take advantage of the ecosystem surrounding Node.

    In addition to background information, our Director of Product Development Scott Klement will demonstrate applications that take advantage of the Node Package Manager (npm).

  • 5 New and Unique Ways to Use the IBM i Audit Journal

    SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericYou must be asking yourself: am I doing everything I can to protect my organization’s data? Tune in as our panel of IBM i high availability experts discuss:


    - Why companies don’t test role swaps when they know they should
    - Whether high availability in the cloud makes sense for IBM i users
    - Why some organizations don’t have high availability yet
    - How to get high availability up and running at your organization
    - High availability considerations for today’s security concerns

  • Profound.js 2.0: Extend the Power of Node to your IBM i Applications

    SB Profound WC 5541In this Webinar, we'll demonstrate how Profound.js 2.0 enables you to easily adopt Node.js in your business, and to take advantage of the many benefits of Node, including access to a much larger pool of developers for IBM i and access to countless reusable open source code packages on npm (Node Package Manager).
    You will see how Profound.js 2.0 allows you to:

    • Provide RPG-like capabilities for server-side JavaScript.
    • Easily create web and mobile application interfaces for Node on IBM i.
    • Let existing RPG programs call Node.js modules directly, and vice versa.
    • Automatically generate code for Node.js.
    • Automatically converts existing RPGLE code into clean, simplified Node.js code.

    Download and watch today!

     

  • Make Modern Apps You'll Love with Profound UI & Profound.js

    SB Profound WC 5541Whether you have green screens or a drab GUI, your outdated apps can benefit from modern source code, modern GUIs, and modern tools.
    Profound Logic's Alex Roytman and Liam Allan are here to show you how Free-format RPG and Node.js make it possible to deliver applications your whole business will love:

    • Transform legacy RPG code to modern free-format RPG and Node.js
    • Deliver truly modern application interfaces with Profound UI
    • Extend your RPG applications to include Web Services and NPM packages with Node.js

     

  • Accelerating Programmer Productivity with Sequel

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_Generic

    Most business intelligence tools are just that: tools, a means to an end but not an accelerator. Yours could even be slowing you down. But what if your BI tool didn't just give you a platform for query-writing but also improved programmer productivity?
    Watch the recorded webinar to see how Sequel:

    • Makes creating complex results simple
    • Eliminates barriers to data sources
    • Increases flexibility with data usage and distribution

    Accelerated productivity makes everyone happy, from programmer to business user.

  • Business Intelligence is Changing: Make Your Game Plan

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericIt’s time to develop a strategy that will help you meet your informational challenges head-on. Watch the webinar to learn how to set your IT department up for business intelligence success. You’ll learn how the right data access tool will help you:

    • Access IBM i data faster
    • Deliver useful information to executives and business users
    • Empower users with secure data access

    Ready to make your game plan and finally keep up with your data access requests?

     

  • Controlling Insider Threats on IBM i

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericLet’s face facts: servers don’t hack other servers. Despite the avalanche of regulations, news headlines remain chock full of stories about data breaches, all initiated by insiders or intruders masquerading as insiders.
    User profiles are often duplicated or restored and are rarely reviewed for the appropriateness of their current configuration. This increases the risk of the profile being able to access data without the intended authority or having privileges that should be reserved for administrators.
    Watch security expert Robin Tatam as he discusses a new approach for onboarding new users on IBM i and best-practices techniques for managing and monitoring activities after they sign on.

  • Don't Just Settle for Query/400...

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericWhile introducing Sequel Data Access, we’ll address common frustrations with Query/400, discuss major data access, distribution trends, and more advanced query tools. Plus, you’ll learn how a tool like Sequel lightens IT’s load by:

    - Accessing real-time data, so you can make real-time decisions
    - Providing run-time prompts, so users can help themselves
    - Delivering instant results in Microsoft Excel and PDF, without the wait
    - Automating the query process with on-demand data, dashboards, and scheduled jobs

  • How to Manage Documents the Easy Way

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericWhat happens when your company depends on an outdated document management strategy?
    Everything is harder.
    You don’t need to stick with status quo anymore.
    Watch the webinar to learn how to put effective document management into practice and:

    • Capture documents faster, instead of wasting everyone’s time
    • Manage documents easily, so you can always find them
    • Distribute documents automatically, and move on to the next task

     

  • Lessons Learned from the AS/400 Breach

    SB_PowerTech_WC_GenericGet actionable info to avoid becoming the next cyberattack victim.
    In “Data breach digest—Scenarios from the field,” Verizon documented an AS/400 security breach. Whether you call it AS/400, iSeries, or IBM i, you now have proof that the system has been breached.
    Watch IBM i security expert Robin Tatam give an insightful discussion of the issues surrounding this specific scenario.
    Robin will also draw on his extensive cybersecurity experience to discuss policies, processes, and configuration details that you can implement to help reduce the risk of your system being the next victim of an attack.

  • Overwhelmed by Operating Systems?

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericIn this 30-minute recorded webinar, our experts demonstrate how you can:

    • Manage multiple platforms from a central location
    • View monitoring results in a single pane of glass on your desktop or mobile device
    • Take advantage of best practice, plug-and-play monitoring templates
    • Create rules to automate daily checks across your entire infrastructure
    • Receive notification if something is wrong or about to go wrong

    This presentation includes a live demo of Network Server Suite.

     

  • Real-Time Disk Monitoring with Robot Monitor

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericYou need to know when IBM i disk space starts to disappear and where it has gone before system performance and productivity start to suffer. Our experts will show you how Robot Monitor can help you pinpoint exactly when your auxiliary storage starts to disappear and why, so you can start taking a proactive approach to disk monitoring and analysis. You’ll also get insight into:

    • The main sources of disk consumption
    • How to monitor temporary storage and QTEMP objects in real time
    • How to monitor objects and libraries in real time and near-real time
    • How to track long-term disk trends

     

     

  • Stop Re-keying Data Between IBM I and Other Applications

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericMany business still depend on RPG for their daily business processes and report generation.Wouldn’t it be nice if you could stop re-keying data between IBM i and other applications? Or if you could stop replicating data and start processing orders faster? Or what if you could automatically extract data from existing reports instead of re-keying? It’s all possible. Watch this webinar to learn about:

    • The data dilemma
    • 3 ways to stop re-keying data
    • Data automation in practice

    Plus, see how HelpSystems data automation software will help you stop re-keying data.

     

  • The Top Five RPG Open Access Myths....BUSTED!

    SB_Profound_WC_GenericWhen it comes to IBM Rational Open Access: RPG Edition, there are still many misconceptions - especially where application modernization is concerned!

    In this Webinar, we'll address some of the biggest myths about RPG Open Access, including:

    • Modernizing with RPG OA requires significant changes to the source code
    • The RPG language is outdated and impractical for modernizing applications
    • Modernizing with RPG OA is the equivalent to "screen scraping"

     

  • Time to Remove the Paper from Your Desk and Become More Efficient

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericToo much paper is wasted. Attempts to locate documents in endless filing cabinets.And distributing documents is expensive and takes up far too much time.
    These are just three common reasons why it might be time for your company to implement a paperless document management system.
    Watch the webinar to learn more and discover how easy it can be to:

    • Capture
    • Manage
    • And distribute documents digitally

     

  • IBM i: It’s Not Just AS/400

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_Generic

    IBM’s Steve Will talks AS/400, POWER9, cognitive systems, and everything in between

    Are there still companies that use AS400? Of course!

    IBM i was built on the same foundation.
    Watch this recorded webinar with IBM i Chief Architect Steve Will and IBM Power Champion Tom Huntington to gain a unique perspective on the direction of this platform, including:

    • IBM i development strategies in progress at IBM
    • Ways that Watson will shake hands with IBM i
    • Key takeaways from the AS/400 days

     

  • Ask the RDi Experts

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericWatch this recording where Jim Buck, Susan Gantner, and Charlie Guarino answered your questions, including:

    • What are the “hidden gems” in RDi that can make me more productive?
    • What makes RDi Debug better than the STRDBG green screen debugger?
    • How can RDi help me find out if I’ve tested all lines of a program?
    • What’s the best way to transition from PDM to RDi?
    • How do I convince my long-term developers to use RDi?

    This is a unique, online opportunity to hear how you can get more out of RDi.

     

  • Node.js on IBM i Webinar Series Pt. 2: Setting Up Your Development Tools

    Profound Logic Software, Inc.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. In Part 2, Brian May teaches you the different tooling options available for writing code, debugging, and using Git for version control. Attend this webinar to learn:

    • Different tools to develop Node.js applications on IBM i
    • Debugging Node.js
    • The basics of Git and tools to help those new to it
    • Using NodeRun.com as a pre-built development environment

     

     

  • Inside the Integrated File System (IFS)

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericDuring this webinar, you’ll learn basic tips, helpful tools, and integrated file system commands—including WRKLNK—for managing your IFS directories and Access Client Solutions (ACS). We’ll answer your most pressing IFS questions, including:

    • What is stored inside my IFS directories?
    • How do I monitor the IFS?
    • How do I replicate the IFS or back it up?
    • How do I secure the IFS?

    Understanding what the integrated file system is and how to work with it must be a critical part of your systems management plans for IBM i.

     

  • Expert Tips for IBM i Security: Beyond the Basics

    SB PowerTech WC GenericIn this session, IBM i security expert Robin Tatam provides a quick recap of IBM i security basics and guides you through some advanced cybersecurity techniques that can help you take data protection to the next level. Robin will cover:

    • Reducing the risk posed by special authorities
    • Establishing object-level security
    • Overseeing user actions and data access

    Don't miss this chance to take your knowledge of IBM i security beyond the basics.

     

     

  • 5 IBM i Security Quick Wins

    SB PowerTech WC GenericIn today’s threat landscape, upper management is laser-focused on cybersecurity. You need to make progress in securing your systems—and make it fast.
    There’s no shortage of actions you could take, but what tactics will actually deliver the results you need? And how can you find a security strategy that fits your budget and time constraints?
    Join top IBM i security expert Robin Tatam as he outlines the five fastest and most impactful changes you can make to strengthen IBM i security this year.
    Your system didn’t become unsecure overnight and you won’t be able to turn it around overnight either. But quick wins are possible with IBM i security, and Robin Tatam will show you how to achieve them.

  • How to Meet the Newest Encryption Requirements on IBM i

    SB PowerTech WC GenericA growing number of compliance mandates require sensitive data to be encrypted. But what kind of encryption solution will satisfy an auditor and how can you implement encryption on IBM i? Watch this on-demand webinar to find out how to meet today’s most common encryption requirements on IBM i. You’ll also learn:

    • Why disk encryption isn’t enough
    • What sets strong encryption apart from other solutions
    • Important considerations before implementing encryption

     

     

  • Security Bulletin: Malware Infection Discovered on IBM i Server!

    SB PowerTech WC GenericMalicious programs can bring entire businesses to their knees—and IBM i shops are not immune. It’s critical to grasp the true impact malware can have on IBM i and the network that connects to it. Attend this webinar to gain a thorough understanding of the relationships between:

    • Viruses, native objects, and the integrated file system (IFS)
    • Power Systems and Windows-based viruses and malware
    • PC-based anti-virus scanning versus native IBM i scanning

    There are a number of ways you can minimize your exposure to viruses. IBM i security expert Sandi Moore explains the facts, including how to ensure you're fully protected and compliant with regulations such as PCI.

     

     

  • Fight Cyber Threats with IBM i Encryption

    SB PowerTech WC GenericCyber attacks often target mission-critical servers, and those attack strategies are constantly changing. To stay on top of these threats, your cybersecurity strategies must evolve, too. In this session, IBM i security expert Robin Tatam provides a quick recap of IBM i security basics and guides you through some advanced cybersecurity techniques that can help you take data protection to the next level. Robin will cover:

    • Reducing the risk posed by special authorities
    • Establishing object-level security
    • Overseeing user actions and data access

     

     

     

  • 10 Practical IBM i Security Tips for Surviving Covid-19 and Working From Home

    SB PowerTech WC GenericNow that many organizations have moved to a work from home model, security concerns have risen.

    During this session Carol Woodbury will discuss the issues that the world is currently seeing such as increased malware attacks and then provide practical actions you can take to both monitor and protect your IBM i during this challenging time.

     

  • How to Transfer IBM i Data to Microsoft Excel

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_Generic3 easy ways to get IBM i data into Excel every time
    There’s an easy, more reliable way to import your IBM i data to Excel? It’s called Sequel. During this webinar, our data access experts demonstrate how you can simplify the process of getting data from multiple sources—including Db2 for i—into Excel. Watch to learn how to:

    • Download your IBM i data to Excel in a single step
    • Deliver data to business users in Excel via email or a scheduled job
    • Access IBM i data directly using the Excel add-in in Sequel

    Make 2020 the year you finally see your data clearly, quickly, and securely. Start by giving business users the ability to access crucial business data from IBM i the way they want it—in Microsoft Excel.

     

     

  • HA Alternatives: MIMIX Is Not Your Only Option on IBM i

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericIn this recorded webinar, our experts introduce you to the new HA transition technology available with our Robot HA software. You’ll learn how to:

    • Transition your rules from MIMIX (if you’re happy with them)
    • Simplify your day-to-day activities around high availability
    • Gain back time in your work week
    • Make your CEO happy about reducing IT costs

    Don’t stick with a legacy high availability solution that makes you uncomfortable when transitioning to something better can be simple, safe, and cost-effective.

     

     

  • Comply in 5! Well, actually UNDER 5 minutes!!

    SB CYBRA PPL 5382

    TRY 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.

    Request your trial now!

  • Backup and Recovery on IBM i: Your Strategy for the Unexpected

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413Robot automates the routine 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:
    - Simplified backup procedures
    - Easy data encryption
    - Save media management
    - Guided restoration
    - Seamless product integration
    Make sure your data survives when catastrophe hits. Try the Robot Backup and Recovery Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • Manage IBM i Messages by Exception with Robot

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413Managing messages on your IBM i can be more than a full-time job if you have to do it manually. 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:
    - Automated message management
    - Tailored notifications and automatic escalation
    - System-wide control of your IBM i partitions
    - Two-way system notifications from your mobile device
    - Seamless product integration
    Try the Robot Message Management Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • Easiest Way to Save Money? Stop Printing IBM i Reports

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413Robot 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:

    - Automated report distribution
    - View online without delay
    - Browser interface to make notes
    - Custom retention capabilities
    - Seamless product integration
    Rerun another report? Never again. Try the Robot Report Management Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • Hassle-Free IBM i Operations around the Clock

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413For over 30 years, Robot has been a leader in systems management for IBM i.
    Manage your job schedule with the Robot Job Scheduling Solution. Key features include:
    - Automated batch, interactive, and cross-platform scheduling
    - Event-driven dependency processing
    - Centralized monitoring and reporting
    - Audit log and ready-to-use reports
    - Seamless product integration
    Scale your software, not your staff. Try the Robot Job Scheduling Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • ACO MONITOR Manages your IBM i 24/7 and Notifies You When Your IBM i Needs Assistance!

    SB DDL Systems 5429More than a paging system - ACO MONITOR is a complete systems management solution for your Power Systems running IBM i. ACO MONITOR manages your Power System 24/7, uses advanced technology (like two-way messaging) to notify on-duty support personnel, and responds to complex problems before they reach critical status.

    ACO MONITOR is proven technology and is capable of processing thousands of mission-critical events daily. The software is pre-configured, easy to install, scalable, and greatly improves data center efficiency.