24
Wed, Apr
0 New Articles

IBM Integrated Web Application Server for i: Free. Integrated. Simple.

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

Want a fast, easy way to deploy Web applications on IBM i? Does WebSphere Application Server seem too daunting? IBM Integrated Web Application Server for i is the solution!

 

IBM Integrated Web Application Server for i (IAS) is a lightweight Java-based Web application server. Although released as a PTF in IBM i 5.4, if you're running IBM i 6.1 or 7.1, the product is as an integrated component of the operating environment.

 

What does this offer you? Well, if you have a workload you want to quickly deploy on IBM i via the Web, it means that you don't have to spend time and system resources configuring, deploying, and maintaining a WebSphere Application Server instance to do the job. So instead of using a WebSphere backhoe to dig your fence post holes, you get to use a gas-powered IAS auger.

 

It's an easy-to-deploy solution, and I'll show you how from start to finish. 

A Little Prep Work

In preparation, I'll show you few things that you'll want to consider.

 

The first is an absolute must: get up to date on Program Temporary Fixes (PTFs). Whenever I've spoken to people who say that the IBM i Web interfaces are slow, it's usually due to the fact that they don't have relevant HTTP or Java Group PTFs loaded. It's imperative that you are up to date with Cumulative, Group, and HIPER PTFs before doing anything on the Web.

 

Second, you should have a fully qualified DNS hostname (i.e., ibmi.mydomain.com) in your IBM i host table. Access any IBM i Web interfaces using that address, rather than an IP address. IBM Web Administration for i and IBM Systems Director Navigator for i both run under WebSphere Application Server, which is quite partial to DNS lookups. If you run recent releases of IBM Sametime on IBM i, then you probably already know how important DNS resolution is.

 

Third, on my server, I make sure all different Web applications running on IBM i are bound to specific IP addresses. I run six different IBM Lotus servers (Domino, Quickr, Sametime Community Server, Sametime System Console, Sametime Proxy Server, Sametime Meeting Manager) on one IBM i partition, and every one of them is accessed via the Web in a number of ways, so I want to make sure that any other Web work I do won't affect those. Binding simplifies things by ensuring I don't have to worry about what ports are available and I won't get caught with two servers fighting over one port. If we don't do this, every port would be listening on all available IP addresses on the server and default ports like 80 (HTTP) and 443 (HTTPS) are usually already taken, so your Web server startup will fail.

 

You'll need to log into the IBM Web Administration for i interface via a Web browser. Once logged in, click the Manage tab and look at all of the HTTP servers and application servers. You'll see whether each is bound to a specific IP address via the Address:Port column. Anything with an asterisk could be a problem. For instance, if you have servers defined with *:80, *:5080, or other combinations, then you should really define them to use specific IP addresses like 192.168.3.4:80 or 192.168.3.5:5080. Take care when changing these if they are production Web applications; you may not want to restart them during business hours. Later, during setup of an IAS instance, you'll instruct it to specifically use port 80 on a dedicated IP address (192.168.3.13). Keep this browser tab open; we'll go back to it in a minute.

 

Create a new TCP/IP interface and domain name entry for this new Web server. Of course, you can do the traditional "green-screen" method, but where's the fun in that? Nowhere! We're all in a green-screen, AS/400-style rut until we force ourselves to use the modern IBM i tools! Also, we're prepping our system for the Web (think modern), so let's use the Web!

 

Open up a new tab in your Web browser, log into IBM Systems Director Navigator for i, expand IBM i Management, and click on Network. Click the Create IPv4 Object, choose Local Area Network Interface, and click Next to start the wizard. For the purposes of example, I've added the address 192.168.3.13. Once that's created, I can see the new IP address in my list of interfaces (see Figure 1). I'll also add a DNS entry in Active Directory pointing to that IP address.

 

091212Pitcherfig1

Figure 1: The new IP addresses are in the list of interfaces.

 

By doing these steps in advance, you enable your users to use http://helppage.mydomain.com rather than something like http://192.168.3.13:13420, which is rather unsightly and difficult to remember.

 

Setting Up an IAS Instance

To configure an IAS instance, you need to go back to IBM Web Administration for i. Click on the Setup tab and then simply click on Create a New Application Server to start the process (see Figure 2).

 

091212Pitcherfig2

Figure 2: Start by clicking on Create a New Application Server.

 

Click the Next button.

 

When prompted to choose what type of application server to create, select IBM Integrated Web Application Server for i. Depending on the OS level, you will have version 7.1 or version 8.1 (see Figure 3).

 

091212Pitcherfig3

Figure 3: Choose IBM Integrated Web Application Server for i.

 

You will then be prompted for a little information about this new server. First, you have to confirm the name of the application server. You can either leave this as the default INTAPPSVR or pick a new name. Click the Next button.

 

You're now prompted with the First Point in Range field. IAS needs 10 ports and asks you to choose which port in a range you want to use. Keep the default value. Click the Next button.

 

The last screen confirms the selections from the previous steps. Change the IP address field to 192.168.3.13 (the new interface) and the port field to 80 (see Figure 4).

 

091212Pitcherfig4

Figure 4: Change the IP address.

 

Click Next.

 

Pick the default user ID that this server will run under. The default is QLWISVR. You can leave it as is. Click Next.

 

The next screen explains that a sample application called Eclipse Help will be installed to show that the server is actually up and running once the installation completes. Click Next.

 

The server will be created in the background. Once you get the confirmation page, you can go to http://helppage.mydomain.com/help and see it in action.

 

This is very simple. But is it useful for deploying real applications? Absolutely.

 

IAS is based on the Open Services Gateway initiative (OSGi) framework and requires a Web Application Bundle (.WAB) that provides classes to a Web application. You can upload your own .WAB or construct a Rational-exported .WAR file into a .WAB file using a utility that IAS provides.

 

Deploying an application can be as easy as clicking Install New Application, browsing for a .WAR file (which will be converted to an IAS-friendly .WAB), and following a small upload wizard. Once the .WAR file is converted, the application is deployed and started for you automatically.

 

There's also support for adding database connections for JDBC access. How hard is it to integrate it? It's not. Like deploying an application, it's as simple as clicking the Create Database Connection link and supplying a couple of parameters to a local or remote DB2 database or a local Derby database. That's awesome!

 

You can manage your IAS instances via the IBM Web Administration for i, and if you're on IBM i 7.1, you can manage it via IBM Systems Director Navigator for i via Server Jobs underneath the Work Management link. Managing IBM i via the Web is easy!

 

I remember creating very basic Web applications using WebSphere Application Server 10 years ago, and it was definitely not this pretty, fast, simple, or effective. Please check out the product page for more information and some example .WAR files to get you going.

More to Come

Stay tuned for a two-part TechTip from me for more on IBM Systems Director Navigator for i and also IBM i Access for Web. I'll be showing you how to set up and customize IBM i Access for Web and also how to integrate both products into Lotus Notes as widgets. With this combination of tools, I'll never touch a green-screen again.

 

It's a brave new World Wide Web.

 

Steve Pitcher
Steve Pitcher works with iTech Solutions, an IBM Premier Business Partner. He is a specialist in IBM i and IBM Power Systems solutions since 2001. Feel free to contact him directly This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS

LATEST COMMENTS

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: