13
Sat, Apr
5 New Articles

TechTip: Take Open-Source ILE Further

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

In this TechTip, I’ll talk about what it takes to be part of the open-source ILE community, as well as what ILE content is available today.

Hi, everyone! This is my first article on MC Press, with many more to follow hopefully. My name is Liam Allan, and I am only 19 years young. I’ve been working with the IBM i platform since 2014 (when I was 17), and I mainly focus on RPG in my career, but I love to dabble in anything ILE and PASE in my own time. I enjoy developing open-source software (OSS) for people to use on IBM i, and I also love helping people learn about open source and how it can benefit them.

When I say “open source,” I do not mean the code is hosted somewhere and people can download and use it. What I do mean is people can collaborate together to improve or add to that code that’s hosted somewhere. The key point to open source is that it brings people together.

The reason ILE programs aren't really open source yet is because people are still developing in source files, not the IFS. There's nothing wrong with this! But Git won't support the object-based file system, and Git is the most important tool when developing open-source software. If you want your project to be open-source, you want to use Git. It's available on every platform these days, even IBM i (as a PTF too; thanks, IBM!), so there really is no excuse. Git is fast, free, completely open source, and supported by millions around the world if you ever need support for it.

If you don’t know what Git is, you can use this post as a learning experience. Imagine a repository as the base of an application, where all your application code would live in a single directory on the IFS. A branch would be the same as a “change request,” allowing you to try out code or make a bug fix without affecting your whole application. Commit logs are fantastic for seeing what changes people have done, and you even have the option to roll back commits easily. Do you use your change management software to make releases of your applications? Git can do that, with what Git calls “tags.”

From the Git website: Git has the ability to tag specific points in history as being important. Typically people use this functionality to mark release points (v1.0, and so on).

Imagine change management software, minus the price and deployment toolsthat’s what Git is. Git is source change-management software. Every Git tutorial you can find on the Internet will work on your IBM I; it's all the same software.

If you're an RPG developer, stop using fixed-format when writing new software (including all declarations). Open source is about bringing people together to work on a project, and everyone on the Internet can see your project. You don't want to scare them off because all they can see is fixed-format; don't forget, you'd be scaring them away from RPG, not just your project.

Open-source ILE that uses Git to manage the source does exist:

Something that these projects have in common (other than being open source), is that they all support the use of the Relic Package Manager. RPM (for short) is another open-source project that allows people to download and build (cool word for compile) all sources from a repository with a single command (how cool is that?). A package manager was something that ILE was lacking. PHP has Composer, NodeJS has NPM, Python has pip, UNIX has the GNU make utility. It was only a matter of time for IBM i to have something.

Open-source isn’t just about writing software; it’s also about community and collaboration. Many groups are available to help get you kick-started. If you haven't seen the IBM i OSS group on LinkedIn, join it now. Everyone will offer you help on making your projects open source (not just ILE eitherPHP, Node, and plenty more too). Join the IBM i OSS on Ryver and talk to the members in real time; it could make collaborating easier. Join the OpenSource mailing list on Midrange.com; it was set up by David Gibbs days after the Open-Source Roundtable at COMMON U.S. this year (thanks, David). For more resources, take a look at the Open Source page on the COMMON website. Write blogs about how you've used open source. We all want to know!

Everyone in these groups will help you with anything, be it setting up Git, understanding options for moving your code base to the IFS, or getting your project onto a website like GitHub or BitBucket. You'll find that most communities on other Linux and Windows platforms use and contribute to open source. If the IBM i community doesn't, we risk falling behind. Let's not let that happen.

In the following articles, I’ll talk about the steps required for moving your code base to the IFS and then setting up Git for that code base.

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: