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RPG IV (aka "The Integrator") vs. C--The Final Conflict

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In this, the last article of my series, you will examine some of the current deficiencies in RPG IV, critically evaluate the differences between RPG IV and C, and understand what RPG IV requires to position it as the premier integration language for the iSeries. While C, with its descendent C++, can afford to stay locked at its current level of support, RPG IV does not have that luxury and must continue to improve and evolve to secure the "Integrator" title for the iSeries. This article discloses the most critical areas where RPG IV severely lags behind C and explains why your favorite tool is in need of an evolutional design change and why you should be more concerned with this deficiency than with adding yet another %BIF in the next release. For the complete code for this article, click here.

A Brief Re-visitation...

In "What? RPG IV a Better C Than C?", the first article in this series, you learned the basics of prototyping C functions, using printf() as an example for flexible output results and as a debugging supplement, and you learned about some of the gotchas you may experience when mixing RPG IV with C. In the second, "How Could Life Be Better?", you saw the flexibility gained by using C database I/O functions rather than using the more static behavior of RPG I/O opcodes. Then, in "Interfaces in ILE RPG IV--Finding the Middle Ground", you advanced your technical prowess by discovering the importance of interfaces in object-oriented (OO) languages and by learning how to create similar binding commitments in RPG IV, with a corresponding source example demonstrated in Java. Now, it's time for you to explore what RPG IV requires in order to achieve its full potential and become the premier integration language for the iSeries platform and possibly more.

What Can Your Language Do?

To be competitive as a language that integrates applications written in other languages, a language must provide semantics and advanced programming constructs for such things as abstract data types (ADTs--for example, user-defined data types), free-form algorithmic expression, separate variables storage area and scope resolution for procedures (local variables), full data type support for the range of commonly supported primitive data types, embedded ANSI SQL support (including support for stored procedures and triggers), both automatic and on-demand memory allocation, statically ("strongly") typed pointers and references for both primitive data types and ADTs, interoperability with other languages (both procedural languages and Object-Oriented Programming Languages [OOPLs]), support for all types of binding (static, referential, and dynamic), built-in functionality to convert strings between diverse encoding schemes (supporting cultural language independence), and the ability to bind with APIs that support diverse communications and data exchange protocols and formats (for example, the XML format using the SOAP protocol over TCP/IP).

As noted in "What? RPG IV a Better C Than C?", with the exception of full free-form expressions and statically typed pointers and references, RPG IV fulfills all of these requirements and adds %BIFs for such things as file status indications; rounding and editing of diverse numeric types; string manipulation and conversion functions; manipulation functions for time, date, and timestamp data types; etc.

What Is Lacking in the RPG IV Language?

For the RPG IV language to properly evolve and fulfill its niche as an integration language, statically typed pointers and references, for ADTs as well as for primitives, absolutely must be at the top of the list of things the developers at Rochester need to pay particularly close attention to. While static type checking by the compiler is accomplished on function prototypes for primitives (except with length on character fields), such checking is lacking on pointers and references to variables of a data structure type. Statically typed pointers and references are important both for elimination of runtime errors in arguments passing (shifting responsibility to the compiler to catch invalid arguments) and for proper function signature resolution (better granularity) should function overloading be added. For example, you have probably experienced the problem of either passing a parameter on a program call that was longer than that expected by the called program or passing parameters in the wrong order. Unpredictable runtime results usually occur. A similar situation arises when you pass a basing pointer to a called function that uses it for a structure (ADT variable) that does not match the structure it is based on.

Why Is Static Type Checking So Important?

The code in Figure 1 demonstrates the current deficiencies in static type checking in RPG IV, as compared to C. In the example, an ADT called Address (A in Figure 1) has been defined with the typical subfields of name, address lines 1 and 2, city, state, and ZIP. Additionally, another ADT named Bogus (C in Figure 1) has been defined with distinctly different content that's more representative of an item in inventory, with subfields such as item, on-hand quantity, and price.

     h dftactgrp(*no) actgrp(*new) bnddir('QC2LE')

     d printf          pr                  extproc('printf')
     d                                 *   value options(*string)
     d                                 *   value options(*string)
     d                                 *   value options(*string:*nopass)
     d                                 *   value options(*string:*nopass)
     d                                 *   value options(*string:*nopass)
     d                                 *   value options(*string:*nopass)
     d                               10u 0 value options(*nopass)

     d newline         c                   x'25'

     d printAddress    pr
      * Data pointer not strongly typed for Address *
     d                                 *   value

(A)  d Address         ds
     d  name                         30a
     d  add1                         30a
     d  add2                         30a
     d  city                         20a
     d  state                         2a
     d  zip                          10u 0

(B)  d myAddress       ds                  likeds(Address)
     d yourAddress     ds                  likeds(Address)

(C)  d Bogus           ds
     d  item                         15a
     d  onhand                       10i 0
     d  price                         8f

(D)  d myBogusItem     ds                  likeds(Bogus)

      /free

         // Initialization of myAddress
         myAddress.name  = 'My Name';
         myAddress.add1  = 'My First Address Line';
         myAddress.add2  = 'My Second Address Line';
         myAddress.city  = 'My City';
         myAddress.state = 'MS';
         myAddress.zip   = 55555;
   /     printAddress(%addr(myAddress));
(E)
        // Initialization of yourAddress
         yourAddress.name  = 'Your Name';
         yourAddress.add1  = 'Your First Address Line';
         yourAddress.add2  = 'Your Second Address Line';
         yourAddress.city  = 'Your City';
         yourAddress.state = 'YS';
         yourAddress.zip   = 66666;
         printAddress(%addr(yourAddress));
     
         // Initialization of myBogusItem
(F)      myBogusItem.item   = '145L_X203';
         myBogusItem.onhand = 152;
         myBogusItem.price  = 38.9500;

         // Remove the comment indication from the line below and compile
         // the printAddress statement passing the Bogus structure.
(G)      printAddress(%addr(myBogusItem));

         *inlr = *on;
      /end-free
      *----------------------------------------------------
     p printAddress    b
      *----------------------------------------------------
     d                 pi
     d ptr_to_Address                  *   value

     d inAddress       ds                  likeds(Address)
     d                                     based(ptr_to_Address)

      /free
(H)             printf(newline+'%s'+newline+'%s'+newline+'%s'+newline+'%s, '
                      +'%s. %d'+newline
                      :%trimr(inAddress.name)
                      :%trimr(inAddress.add1)
                      :%trimr(inAddress.add2)
                      :%trimr(inAddress.city)
                      :%trimr(inAddress.state)
                      :inAddress.zip);
      /end-free
      *----------------------------------------------------
     p printAddress    e
      *----------------------------------------------------

Figure 1: Type checking in RPG IV

At B in Figure 1, two variables, myAddress and yourAddress, are declared to adopt the ADT structure of Address. Then, at E, they're initialized with appropriate values. Meanwhile, a variable called myBogusItem is declared to adopt the Bogus ADT at D and initialized with appropriate values for that data type at F. In each of these situations, after the variable has been initialized, a function called the printAddress() function (which takes a pointer, presumably to an Address ADT) is invoked. Yet, in G, you can clearly see that a pointer to myBogusItem is passed to the printAddress() function. This mistake is unfortunate but typical. The printAddress() function (H) uses the printf() C function to print the results to the display. This example compiles perfectly, but it fails to produce desirable results. So why didn't the compiler catch the mismatch of type?

Figure 2 shows the identical function coded in C.

#include 
#include 
#include 

(A) struct Address{
      char name[30];
      char add1[30];
      char add2[30];
      char city[20];
      char state[2];
      unsigned int zip;
    };

(B) struct Bogus{
      char   item[15];
      int    onhand;
      double price;
    };

    /* Data Pointer Strongly typed for Address struct */
    void printAddress(struct Address *);

    int main(int argc, char* argv[])
    {
(C)   struct Address myAddress, yourAddress;
      struct Bogus myBogusItem;

     /* Initialization of myAddress */
      strcpy(myAddress.name,"My Name");
      strcpy(myAddress.add1,"My First Address Line");
      strcpy(myAddress.add2,"My Second Address Line");
      strcpy(myAddress.city,"My City");
      strcpy(myAddress.state,"MS");
      myAddress.zip  = 55555;
  /   printAddress(&myAddress);
(D)
    /* Initialization of yourAddress */
      strcpy(yourAddress.name,"Your Name");
      strcpy(yourAddress.add1,"Your First Address Line");
      strcpy(yourAddress.add2,"Your Second Address Line");
      strcpy(yourAddress.city,"Your City");
      strcpy(yourAddress.state,"YS");
      yourAddress.zip  = 66666;
      printAddress(&yourAddress);

     /* Initialization of myBogusItem */
(E)   strcpy(myBogusItem.item,"145L_X203");
      myBogusItem.onhand  = 152;
      myBogusItem.price   = 38.9500;

     /* Remove the comment indication from the statement below */
     /* and attempt to compile and run the program             */
(F)     printAddress(&myBogusItem);                            

      exit(0);
    }
    void printAddress(struct Address * inAddress)
    {
(G)    printf(" %s %s %s %s, %s. %d ",
              inAddress->name, inAddress->add1,
              inAddress->add2, inAddress->city,
              inAddress->state, inAddress->zip);
    }

Figure 2: Type checking in C

Once again, an ADT called Address has been defined to contain the typical subfields in the structure with name, address lines 1 and 2, city, state, and ZIP in A of Figure 2. Then, in B, Bogus has been defined just as it was in the Figure 1 RPG IV example--as an item in inventory. The two address variables, myAddress and yourAddress, are declared in C to adopt the structure of Address. The Bogus variable myBogusItem is also declared in C, as it was in the RPG IV example. In D, both myAddress and yourAddress are initialized identically as they were in the RPG IV example. In E, myBogusItem is initialized the same as it was in its RPG IV counterpart. As in the RPG IV example, a function named printAddress() has been declared and defined to take a pointer to an Address ADT and print the expected results (G of Figure 2). And once again, you can see in F that a pointer to myBogusItem has been inappropriately passed to that function. However, this time you get completely different results when you attempt to compile it.

    printAddress(&myBogusItem);                                                             

.................a..........................................
*=SEVERE==========> a -  CZM0280  Function argument assignment between types "struct Address*" 

and "struct Bogus*" is not allowed. 

Figure 3: C knows the difference in types pointed to

In Figure 3, you see that the C compiler rejects the statement in F of Figure 2 that attempts to pass a pointer to a Bogus ADT instead of a pointer to an Address ADT. This is a good example of static type checking, something RPG IV currently lacks and seriously needs in order to properly evolve.

In a somewhat perfect world, you would be able to define a print() function in different forms like the example shown in Figure 4: one for an Address ADT and another for a Bogus ADT.

  /* To print an Address ADT */
       d  print  pr
d    pointer_to_address_adt *    static_cast(Address) 

            print(%addr(myAddress)); 
            print(%addr(yourAddress)); 

/* To print an Bogus ADT */
       d  print  pr
d    pointer_to_bogus_adt *    static_cast(Bogus) 

            print(%addr(myBogusItem));  

Figure 4: Static casting in a perfect RPG world

You'd then define different procedure code to properly print the type being pointed to. This is the essence of function overloading, and it's what RPG IV needs. Given the new static_cast keyword (or something like it) and a type specified in parentheses, the compiler would be able to resolve the function name ambiguity by casting the pointer in a prototype to a particular data type (ADTs included). The compiler would then invoke the proper version of the print() function reflected by the type passed. Currently, the basing pointer simply points to a void* data type, meaning that it can point to anything. This is a fairly significant deficiency in the RPG IV type-checking system that must be corrected for RPG IV to move forward, and it was recognized as such by Bjarne Stroustrup in The Design and Evolution of C++ when he stated, "Allowing implicit conversions of void* to other pointer types would open a serious hole in the type system." Static type checking is a significant feature requirement for any language that contemplates OOPL attributes like function overloading. Stroustrup went on to say, "Static type checking was to me, after my experience with Simula and Algol68, a simple must...."

IBM can add all the %BIFs it wants, but until this flaw has been corrected, RPG IV will cease to be competitive and will eventually become a minor language even on the iSeries platform.

Function Overloading--What Is It and Why Does RPG IV Need It?

Ranked recently in an MC Press Online poll as seventh (in a three-way tie) out of 10 choices for new RPG features (receiving only 4% of the vote when this article went to press), parameters (or function) overloading can't get any respect from RPG programmers. Perhaps that's because, unless you're a Java or C++ programmer, you have heard the term but weren't quite sure what to make of it. Function overloading is usually discussed in the context of OOPLs but is equally applicable to procedural languages like RPG IV. It is also prerequisite to enhancing a procedural language to enable it for OO development, as it is capable of acting as an integrator between diverse, and often differently constructed, types (objects). As you have seen in this discussion so far, only OO languages typically implement function overloading, but as an integration language, it is critical for RPG IV to have this capability. While C has a static type checking system (but did not always), it does not implement function overloading, as shown both in the failed attempt to overload the print() function in Figure 5 and in the prototypes from the CNOOVRLD program written in C in the downloadable source with this article. C left that to its descendent, C++.

/* Print function for Address struct */
   void print(struct Address *);

/* Print function for Bogus struct */
   void print(struct Bogus *);
===========>.....a....................................................
*=SEVERE==========> a - CZM0343  Redeclaration of print differs from 

previous declaration on line 29 of "JBARNESS/QCSRC(CNOOVRLD)".
*=INFORMATIONAL===> a - CZM0377  The type "struct Bogus*" of parameter 1 

differs from the previous type "struct Address*". 

Figure 5: Failed attempt to overload print() in a C program (CNOOVRLD)

To give you an idea of the importance of function overloading in an OOPL, Figure 6 presents the same application you saw earlier in Figures 1 and 2, but Figure 6 presents it in Java to demonstrate function overloading.

import java.text.*;

class OverLoad{

(A) static class Address{
       String name, add1, add2, city, state;
       int zip;

       // Constructor 
       Address(String name,
              String add1,
              String add2,
              String city,
              String state,
              int zip)
       {
         this.name = name;
         this.add1 = add1;
         this.add2 = add2;
         this.city = city;
         this.state = state;
         this.zip = zip; 
       }
(B)    public void print()
       {
          System.out.print(" "+name
                         +" "+add1
                         +" "+add2
                         +" "+city.trim()
                         +", "+state.trim()
                         +". "+zip);
       }
(C)    public void print(String special_message)
       {
          System.out.print(" "+ special_message);
          print();
       }
    }

(D) static class Bogus{
       String item;
       int    onhand;
       double price;

       // Constructor
       Bogus(String item,
             int onhand,
             double price)
       {
         this.item = item;
         this.onhand = onhand;
         this.price = price;
       }

(E)    public void print()
       {
          System.out.print(" Item: "+item
                         +" On-hand: "+onhand
                         +" Regularly priced: "+price+" ");
       }
(F)    public void print(double markup)
       {
          print();
          System.out.print(" For you the special price of:"
    +" "+NumberFormat.getInstance().format(price*markup));

       }
    }

(G) static public void main(String[] args)
    {
(H)   Address myAddress = new Address("My Name","My First Address Line",
                                      "My Second Address Line",
                                      "My City", "MS", 55555);
      myAddress.print();

(I)   Address yourAddress = new Address("Your Name","Your First Address Line",
                                      "Your Second Address Line",
                                      "Your City", "YS", 66666);
      yourAddress.print("A special address for a special person...");

(J)   Bogus myBogusItem = new Bogus("145L_X203",152,38.9500);
      myBogusItem.print(1.5);
   }
}

Figure 6: Function overloading in Java

In the OverLoad class written in Java in Figure 6, you can see the Address ADT has been represented as a static inner class in A. (For the moment, don't worry about what static inner classes are--for purposes of this exercise, you are using them simply to reduce the number of source modules required to compile a functioning, self-contained application.) Additionally, you can see that it contains the data elements expected--a name, address lines 1 and 2, city, state and ZIP. Also note that two print() functions--one that takes no arguments (B) and one that takes a String argument containing a special_message (C)--have been defined for this class. The two print() functions can exist in the same class because of the signature differences and can be properly accessed by the compiler because of the function overloading feature built into Java.

Notice that the Bogus ADT has also been represented as a static inner class in D. Once again, this type (class) has been represented to be consistent with previous examples in this article, as an item in inventory with an item code, on-hand quantity, and price. The Bogus type has also been defined to include two print() functions--one that takes no arguments (E) and one that takes a double argument as a percentage markup on the price (F). This is another good example of function overloading in action--two functions with the same name but different signatures, co-existing in the same module or class.

The actual objects for these two classes are created in the main() body of the OverLoad class starting at G. At H and I, you can see the creation of the two Address ADT variables (objects), myAddress and yourAddress. Then, at J, you can see the creation of the Bogus ADT variable, myBogusItem. The objects are created using the new operator. (Note: If you refer to the C++ code, this is accomplished as a part of the variable declaration with an implicit call by the compiler to the constructor of each type, but it could also have been an explicit call to the new operator in C++.) You can see in H of Figure 6, myAddress.print() selects the address print() function that only prints the address, while in I, yourAddress.print("A special address for a special person...") opts to use the version of print() that prints a message as well as the address. In fact, it uses the base print() function that has no arguments to print the basic address information as shown in C. In J, you can also see that myBogusItem.print(1.5) selects its version of the print() function that calculates and prints an item with a marked-up price, once again calling the base print() function that has no arguments to print the basic inventory information as shown in F.

The function overload feature can also be seen as a valuable feature in C++. While I have included C++ source along with the other downloadable code with this article, it is not valuable to present it as another item for discussion here. However, you should examine the source, if only to acquaint yourself with how function overloading is defined and represented in C++.

Function overloading would not be possible (or certainly not safe) without the language having previously implemented a good static type-checking system to resolve function name ambiguity (to bind the proper function call at the appropriate places, usually using a name-mangling technique) and enable compile-time rather than runtime errors to be detected when the wrong type is passed to the a function (you saw this deficiency in the RPG IV example).

Who's in the Lead, C or RPG IV?

While it can be argued that C supports many %BIF functions currently in RPG IV, there are some that have no comparable equivalent in C. These %BIFs add an ease and elegance not supported in the C procedural language. Add to that the JNI wrapper support for Java in the form of the (O)bject data type in RPG IV, and RPG IV barely pulls out in front ahead of C in unique built-in features and interoperability, and some would argue, with better print file support (I would be remiss to not at least mention that). And while C has a stronger type checking system implemented than RPG, it does nothing significant with it until C++. In most of the other areas listed, RPG IV and C run neck and neck.

However, C++ (as a direct descendant of C) clearly eclipses RPG IV (as it should, being an OOPL) with function and operator overloading and true objects (data wrappered with function). Yet, most C++ compilers still support source written using standard C procedural syntax. This same strategy could be taken with RPG IV (ILE RPG). IBM could provide a version of the ILE RPG compiler that could be used to assemble code written in RPG++ (for example) for object-oriented applications, yet still support the procedural syntax of RPG IV. This would help bridge the semantic and conceptual gap that currently exists between procedural RPG developers and Java (or C++) developers.

From my perspective, the point is to learn OO design and analysis concepts (constructs and patterns), not any one particular OOPL. It is this knowledge that is transferable from one OOPL to another; makes OO programmers productive and efficient; and ensures OOPL projects meet time, features, and performance objectives. Otherwise, Java (or C++) is "just another language to learn." The skills you acquire can help you simply use the language or help you use the language well.

This knowledge would go far in helping to avoid costly mistakes that occur during the application design and early-implementation stages because of the lack of understanding of the design initiatives on one side or the other. And this is why IBM should roll forward (without delay) to an OO version of RPG. Just like the dinosaurs, RPG must evolve or fade into extinction. What's the alternative if RPG goes extinct?

I'd Like a Mocha, Light on the Espresso, Please

A new form of Java has been slowly entering the market that I like to call "JAVARG." It uses Java syntax with an RPG flavor, but without the (P)rocedural aspect (thus dropping the "P" from RPG). JAVARG is a strange animal in that it does not usually conform to the Sun-recommended naming conventions (so you are likely to see all uppercase-named objects, such as MYJOBQ, instead of myJobq) and uses opcode methods like MYFILE.CHAIN() to retrieve data from an iSeries server, while under the hood actually using SQL SELECT to get the data. In so doing, JAVARG has, and rightly so, earned frowns and scorn from real Java programmers. The tools used in conjunction with JAVARG (RPG/400-to-Java translators and cut-and-paste IDEs) attempt to keep the programmer insulated from the true OO nature of Java by turning them into business rules writers rather than earnestly helping them make the switch to Java.

There will quite likely be a need for JAVARG programmers in iSeries organizations that are happy with the business analytical skills of their RPG staff and do not have the resources to train a new staff of Java developers in industry-specific knowledge. Their business worth is more valuable to these organizations, which are not in the software business, than pure technical talent. You just need to decide if JAVARG is for you and become familiar with the limitations it imposes.

Power and Sleek Design

You probably never thought you'd hear the words "power" and "sleek design" used to describe the RPG language. However, if IBM moves the language to the next evolutionary step and makes RPG IV the premier integration language of choice on the iSeries platform, software artisans would be challenged to take another look at the new and improved RPG language.

Why evolve? Why not? This next logical step for RPG IV plugs a long-standing type safety hole. And languages other than RPG IV (C, for example) have taken on the OOPL challenge and succeeded. There is ample documentation on the problems you must overcome to reach your destination, and there's a roadmap on how to get there (OOPL) from here (procedural language). Let's give the developers at Rochester an interesting challenge rather than just another %BIF to implement. Move parameters (function) overloading to the top of your wish list and tell IBM to hurry! You can't wait until next Christmas!

Jim D. Barnes is a freelance writer and Systems Engineer in Plano, Texas. Jim can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Jim D. Barnes is a freelance writer and Systems Engineer in Plano, Texas.

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    - 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.