Wed, Oct
2 New Articles

WebSphere's Not a Wrap

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

Apparently, I’m not alone with WebSphere installation problems. Bob Balaban, lead architect of Lotus Domino’s Notes Object Interface and author of “Programming Domino 4.6 with Java,” said in a June 2000 Lotus Notes & Domino Advisor article, “The details of WebSphere installation and setup turn out to be a bit more complicated than anyone (including IBM) would like.”


Why the Pain?


Ok, so I didn’t really pitch my laptop through my TV—but I came pretty darn close. And I did finally get WebSphere installed.

Why’d I do it? I needed a Web application server for an Enterprise JavaBean (EJB) application that I was writing for a client. A Web application server extends an HTTP server to support Java servlets, Java Server Pages (JSP), and EJBs (as well as a number of other features, such as support for Extensible Markup Language [XML]). The AS/400 bundles WebSphere Standard Edition, and, since this company is planning on deploying the application on the AS/400, it would seem WebSphere is the obvious choice for a PC- based development system. WebSphere may be the obvious choice, but it is far from being the only choice. And it remains to be seen if it is the best.

Most Web application servers themselves are written in Java. (A Web application server is essentially a plug-in for HTTP servers. When the HTTP server receives a URL request for a JSP or servlet, it passes that request to the Web application server plug-in.) Because most Web application servers are written in Java, they can run on the AS/400. In fact, recently, after I turned down an idea for an article on the Servlet 2.2 API because WebSphere didn’t yet support it, the author, Jeff Markham, responded, “Why do we have to wait for IBM? Why don’t we just pop Tomcat on the AS/400? After all, it’s pure Java. I just installed Tomcat here, and it works.”


Tomcatting Around


Tomcat is an Apache Software Foundation open-source Web application server that is available from http://jakarta.apache.org. Tomcat bundles an HTTP server along with support for JSP and servlets. I’ve used Tomcat on my PC, but Jeff tells me it works just fine on his AS/400. I’ve also used Sun’s JavaServer Web Development Kit (JSWDK), available for free from www.java.sun.com/ products/jsp/download.html. You probably don’t want to use Tomcat or JSWDK for anything other than development, and neither of them has direct support for EJBs, so what options are available other than WebSphere?


Please Select One


I’ve had personal experience with two Web application servers: BEA’s WebLogic (www.bea.com) and Allaire’s JRun 3.0 (www.allaire.com). IBM itself endorses WebLogic for the AS/400. In fact, IBM’s Redbook Introduction to Enterprise JavaBeans for the AS/400 System (SG24-5192-00) was published before WebSphere supported EJB, so its examples used WebLogic. IBM literature also points out that both BlueStone Software’s Total-e-Server and Novera’s jBusiness work well on the AS/400. Those products, however, range in price from $10,000 to $25,000. WebSphere is bundled with OS/400, so why am I talking about competitive products? Realize that the bundled version of WebSphere is the Standard Edition and does not include support for EJBs. For that, you need the Enterprise Edition (at a cost of $7,500 per processor) or a competitive server.

WebSphere’s competition is heating up. For example, Allaire’s JRun 3.0 Developer Edition is free. It has full support for EJBs as well as for JSP and servlets. The developer edition only allows three simultaneous connections, so for live apps you’ll want to pay the $795 for unlimited JSP and servlet connections or the $4,995 if you want support for EJBs, Java Message Server (JMS), and clustering.


IDE Integration


After my painful experience installing IBM WAS 3.02 on Windows NT, I installed BEA’s WebLogic and Allaire’s JRun 3.0. Both installations went well. Configuration of those servers took hours rather than days, as it took me with WebSphere. But my client is sticking with WebSphere. Why? IBM’s integration of its Web applications server with Java integrated development environment (IDE) WebSphere, and VisualAge for Java (VAJ) is, as of today, the best in the market. WebSphere also integrates well with IBM’s HTTP Server for AS/400. VAJ has the most complete JSP, servlet, and EJB test environment available. But all that comes at a cost—in terms of product sticker price and required hardware. I expect the Java IDE and application server competition to quickly rival the integration capabilities of WebSphere and VAJ. And with competition comes improved products and decreased cost.




Because Rochester has made the AS/400’s Java environment one of the best in the market and because most application servers are written in Java, IBM’s WebSphere does not have a lock on the AS/400’s Web application server market.

Don Denoncourt

Don Denoncourt is a freelance consultant. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

MC Press books written by Don Denoncourt available now on the MC Press Bookstore.

Java Application Strategies for iSeries and AS/400 Java Application Strategies for iSeries and AS/400
Explore the realities of using Java to develop real-world OS/400 applications.
List Price $89.00

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: