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rd



Joined: 13 Sep 2002
Posts: 9241
Location: Jacksonville, FL

PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2015 7:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Regarding DB2 in the i, my take is that a separate codebase is because it's integrated with IBM i OS (formerly OS/400). Based on my recollection of comments here and there, there is a steady development agenda but with the priorities of IBM i in mind. I believe the needs of LUW are seen to have different priorities.

Revenue and margin are IBM's prime drivers, and while they develop Linux as a specialty server to offload business processing, very expensive business processing software is what IBM sells. They spend a great deal of effort in licensing pricing that doesn't lose them revenue growth as servers consolidate.

Are there executives who would dearly love to use free software instead of very expensive OS, middleware, DB, and ERP software? Sure. But that hasn't happened for a reason. The software is expensive for a reason. IBM will continue selling the most expensive systems they can for a reason.

You can develop vanilla software that runs on anything if you want, but the rest of us and your competitors will be developing and running software that seeks a competitive advantage with you. As always, the economic beneficiary will be the one with the biggest bang for the buck. I work for companies that gain a competitive advantage with the gamut of technologies, but certainly IBM i and the ILE programming stack is a driving force in that competitive advantage.
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rd



Joined: 13 Sep 2002
Posts: 9241
Location: Jacksonville, FL

PostPosted: Wed Mar 18, 2015 6:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I see examples of stuff going on in web pages and they aren't complicated enough to illustrate anything essential. When I'm on my bank web page, does my web page do math and tell the bank what my account balance is? Of course not. Real business logic is complex, it's proprietary unless open source, and refers to many data files and rules tables.

There's some convenience factor for trivial validation without a roundtrip that is useful but the line is quickly crossed where "previewing" a transaction with minimal information is not a help. Get the info up to the server and process it and provide official completion feedback instead of screwing around.

There are scenarios where the user can assemble state in the client without need for complex business logic on each step, and then a web page app is suitable. Lots of stuff on the web fit that bill because of the difficulty of performing session processing robustly, leaving only simple stuff. My interest and what I focus on on my work here at home is in performing session processing robustly.

It does not involve a fat client.
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rd



Joined: 13 Sep 2002
Posts: 9241
Location: Jacksonville, FL

PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2015 11:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For those training on IBM i, let me tell you what an IBM i shop can look like. Hopefully you'll go to work in one of them, or make one you're in like it.

Is there RPG? Yes, you'll find RPG IV columnar, and ILE RPG /free format. You'll find record I/O, and you'll find embedded SQL. You'll find subprocedures, and modules, and modules with subprocedures. You'll find stored procedures, with RPG or with SQL.

And sometimes, like me during the last week, you'll work with some existing code and write some new code and end up with one with all of the above. Doing non-trivial stuff. Stuff that makes your business work and compete against the best out there.

And you'll have Java. Java in Websphere beans, Java in SOAP classes, Java in processing data transmissions, calls to Java you wrote and calls from Java to stored procedures you wrote. And along with the RPG programs it'll all be part of a system that your business is counting on. That has to run and not stop running. For anything.

And you'll have SQL Server systems, and make calls to stored procedures over the network, and exchange with it. And Oracle. And anything else a business buys to run a business system they want to use.

And you'll write 5250 apps. And you'll write web apps. And sometimes you'll webface a 5250 app. Sometimes you'll do a business app with something like Profound UI or BCD or Look, sometimes you'll embed it in something like Jacada or HATS. You'll have inhouse customers and internet customers, and B2B customers, and B2C customers. You will have a different requirement every day.

And you'll have C# .NET programming, and Windows programming, and Windows interfacing to IBM i programming, and spreadsheets galore. And .NET Visual RPG running programs across networks.

And oh yeah, a lot of CL programming to control things. And lots and lots of working with data with something like DBU and interactive SQL.

So don't let anyone who isn't an IBM i programmer tell you any different about working with IBM i. Because they're not down in the trenches doing, right now, this week, what you're training to do, with businesses that run on IBM i.
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rd



Joined: 13 Sep 2002
Posts: 9241
Location: Jacksonville, FL

PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2015 12:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

IBM i is an operating system, like it's predecessors OS/400 and i5/OS, but it only installs on IBM hardware with IBM CPU's. IBM includes special hardware on its CPU's for packed decimal processing and memory addressing processing, for speed and security. That's just off the top of my head from reading. There's a lot more, including a special virtual layer between IBM i and the hardware.

And by hardware, I mean hardware. I have an iseries 520, circa 2004, in my apartment. It has the same memory and disk as my Linux PC (16 GB and 2 TB), but is on three racks. Is the IBM equivalent smaller 10 years later? Sure. But the hardware is very, very sturdy. Mine runs continuously and was only shut down last summer when my apartment was remodeled. And I replaced a disk drive sometime before that. technically you can replace a disk drive without powering the machine off, but I didn't have anything pressing to keep running. Your business does, and IBM i will often be kept up continuously for months in peak business seasons.

Just so you understand what IBM i is.
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rd



Joined: 13 Sep 2002
Posts: 9241
Location: Jacksonville, FL

PostPosted: Fri Jul 17, 2015 9:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Responding to: "How about, if I change a physical file, I don't have to recompile all of the programs that use the physical file, or its logicals. Or, going further, if I change one element in the data dictionary, it would automatically change all the files and programs that use that element."

Re: #1, I think that's the deal wih SQL as long as it's not accessed. With no logic in the program for it, it wouldn't do any good to access it anyway. Re: #2, as I understand it, that's how JDE works, with a data dictionary that can be changed anytime. The code accesses the dictionary to get the current definition and I guess has a plus sized field defined to handle anything that comes its way? shades of 15.5 for all numeric fields or whatever.

Speaking of numeric fields, I read some on MUMPS language (just because, no good reason). It was doing what PHP and other typeless script languages are doing 30 years later, interpreting and on the fly typing of text fields, for example to numeric if that's what it looks like. So it deals with whatever comes down the pike.

Whereas PHP is a little slow for intense computations compared to RPG, M as it is called does something like over a billion transactions a day at one trading firm and runs largest database in world at a Thai bank, seemingly not in dispute on that. The kicker is that like RPG and DB2/400, the database is built into the language but is not relational, basically a big hash engine.

Again I wondered if there were performance problems, and it runs the VA system and several large hospital systems (as does IBM i and RPG software), with thousands of concurrent users, very large programs, etc.

I was looking fior the downside and as far as I could tell it's just that M isn't "popular". Again, just like RPG. M on Linux appears to be doing fine, otherwise I consider it a natural environment for IBM i and RPG for a port.

Speaking of which, government contractors tried to port M and the Vista healthcare system to Java EE and the government pulled the plug after 600 million dollars. It was on pace to cost 11 billion to convert a software package from M to Java. I am not making that up. And don't blame the government. It was the big consulting firms, and they had working software to convert. All they had to do was convert it. I have no doubt they spent 500 million on UML designs.

In any event, M does some things on the wish list and scales doing it. And was written in 1968. Has had about the same type of enhancements as RPG. So we have a lot in common. I'd like to see IBM i running it but if it already scales on free Linux, free is what will run it.

I still think we'd bring value with IBM i and RPG to it.
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rd



Joined: 13 Sep 2002
Posts: 9241
Location: Jacksonville, FL

PostPosted: Sun Jul 19, 2015 12:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Responding to some ideas on an IBM i forum elsewhere, I once marched across a b/w image turning pixels on based on criteria. This is the result, in pseudo color.

http://www.rdwrites.com/~rd/WATERcolor.png

Then I marched around b/w characters turning pixels on in colors based on criteria. This was the result:

http://www.rdwrites.com/rd/rdwritesOCRvectors.png

Will I be doing this in RPG? You betcha. It's on my list.

rd
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testing123



Joined: 30 Jun 2004
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2015 11:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Test post from AS/400 iSeries RDWGET
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rd



Joined: 13 Sep 2002
Posts: 9241
Location: Jacksonville, FL

PostPosted: Sat May 21, 2016 1:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There's no doubt that IBM is trying to cut costs and is jettisoning that which they don't see as high return or strategic assets to do it. IBM i is a completed product and just does not require a large staff of research to continue selling it and supporting it.

I would say everyone is trying to cut costs and IBM is more reacting to a changing market than driving it.

In the end we have business objectives, and competitors, and we argue that IBM i is the most productive means to that end. But the competition is to sell ever cheaper in the clouds solutions, and we may just have to see what the experience is before experience is valued again.
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rd



Joined: 13 Sep 2002
Posts: 9241
Location: Jacksonville, FL

PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2016 7:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Subject: US military uses 8-inch floppy disks to coordinate nuclear force operations

What does coordinate nuclear force operations mean anyway? In perspective, when the system was brand new. Any wimpy people move on and twit or something, I'm going to talk about back in the day. May be a little rough for some sensitivities.

The IBM Series/1 was a communications oriented box that came out in 70's probably around time of System/3 Model 12. Anyway had a language that called it like it was decades before the term was popular, Event Driven Language. We probably have posters that cut their eye teeth on it. I only did one project on it same time as I was doing my first 8086 project on IBM PC.

Anyway, obviously not high powered. Has a lot of inputs and probably controls some displays, panels, etc. So what if these computers are old? What is wrong with this milquetoast bunch of people that followed us out of the stone age?
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rd



Joined: 13 Sep 2002
Posts: 9241
Location: Jacksonville, FL

PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2016 12:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

question from LinkedIn: Has anyone have used or tried Wireshark for IBM i before? http://www.itjungle.com/fhg/fhg030514-story02.html

I have used Wireshark on my PC to analyze traffic between my PC and my web site in particular to write the protocols in my open source RDWGET RPG app (for example, logging in, getting session ID, posting, and then logging out from the RPG program RDWGET). If the traffic is between your PC and an IBMi, you might even get by without the PTF / trace file.

But as usual Ted is the man, that is some great info. I haven't had need for it yet but never know when this will come in handy.

Thanks, I am considering this tool to spot source of AF attempts for the user profile. QAUDJRN is not much of help where no clue found about violator's IP or station.

That would be a difficult way to do it, very difficult I think. Analyzing the network traffic is more suited to capturing the traffic around a repeatable event to look at what is going on.

I perform what you want to do for my website using my weblog. I have summary files of accesses by IP, type of action, permanently blocked ranges, visitors and to what they visited, etc. Of course that is only good for web access and not the for example brute force SSL, FTP, and the like breakin attempts I'm sure you are more concerned with. (My current website is a hosted Linux site but I will be doing similar with my IBMi website.)

I actually will be looking at this shortly myself, that is, looking at and enabling whatever protocol access logs we have on IBMi.

This I can tell you from a great deal of experience dealing with my rather small website but years and years of traffic. The brute force login attempts are coordinated and extremely widely dispersed among world wide IP addresses. There will usually only be one attempt per IP address and the ranges are world wide, not clustered within a /32 or something.

The bot armies do this on purpose so that it is literally impossible given any reasonable amount of memory and timeouts to accumulate repeated attacks from an IP address and block it. I have my own methods and database and criteria so I don't need repeated attacks and the address range is blocked permanently, varying range based on geography.

In any event that is high on my list to look at on IBMi in terms of logging capabilities.

rd
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rd



Joined: 13 Sep 2002
Posts: 9241
Location: Jacksonville, FL

PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2016 8:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

responding to a LinkedIn post I'm Not An RPG Programmer (but RPG is a really good language but hurts your career):

Nice post. Coincidentally, I just listed myself as programmer on LinkedIn for the years I've been registered, but just last week I changed it from programmer to RPG ILE programmer. Actually I was going to make it RPG programmer but for those of us in the industry that implies not ILE. It's just the way it is. So I put ILE there too.

With what I'm doing with RPG which is basically anything I want I just decided RPG wasn't getting any respect for what it's capable of and so I'm not going to mince words, I do what I do with RPG. And there are no limits to what I can do.

I'm an RPG programmer.

rd
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rd



Joined: 13 Sep 2002
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Location: Jacksonville, FL

PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2016 12:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Responding to "I'm curious what people are using RPG for and what they use other language environments for?"

I've worked for three Fortune 500's and RPG ran everything - manufacturing, inventory, distribution, financials, retail, logistics, Billing/Invoicing, A/R, and complex Settlements. However, what I saw from them was a growing aversity to software development in any languge and any environment. Corporations grew non-stop on IBM computers but eventually software development kept getting more complex and more expensive. Corporations wanted to run third party software, even hugely expensive third party software. There was some cap and sharing on the costs, whereas custom development knew no bounds and in my opinion "refactored" themselves into oblivion.

As to other languages, imo Java was used for interface work such as SOAP calls, etc. I wrote a parser for a daily XML download with Java and an XML parsing library under an extremely tight deadline (I wrote it in 3 days) which turned out to continue running in production.

As for my personal development, I wrote an open source web retrieval and posting program with RPG and a card game website server with RPG and CGI. I believe the RPG and CGI combo on IBM i has to be one of the fastest of web serving environments where the CGI on IBM i is just the API calls for STDIN and STDOUT to Apache and the environment variables API call. Obviously additional libraries and functionality comes at some reasonable cost of performance.

CGIDEV2, Websphere, and any number of third party web serving environments are of course what most anyone else would use but I have gone for minimal and top performancem for the game server. Obviously not several complex screens and programs as with business apps.

rd
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rd



Joined: 13 Sep 2002
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Location: Jacksonville, FL

PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2016 12:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some wonderful initiatives going on that are very helpful to the IBM i community. I have some time critical non-software stuff going in my other life and a commercial product development that I need to get back to as soon as that is possible. But I agree these are all wonderful ideas and initiatives and some good people behind them.

@Holger, I have a 720 in my apartment wired for web serving as soon as I can get to that stage, hopefully this year, time spent on it off and on. However I would be very happy to take a copy of the Adelia generated ERP source (I spent some time consulting to SSA converting aspects of BPCS to AS/SET, I am familiar with working with generated code) and dong some things I did for a shop floor interface to BPCS, isolating interfaces to 5250 and making them interface transparent. My card game server is same way, runnable and testable on 5250 or web page (no similarity to layout - data is data in a datq). Some effort to automate generating those dataq buffers and text to message file and we're good to go. :) That would be very nice for the IBM i community.

rd
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rd



Joined: 13 Sep 2002
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Location: Jacksonville, FL

PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2016 12:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

responding to: "Most modernization projects are resource heavy. How can I modernize and still have green screen response time?"

When you said resource heavy, I thought you meant in development, support, the whole enchilada, and that's also true. But I see you mean overhead and response time.

Well first rule in this brave new world of web people is that response time and overhead are background noise now that computers are so powerful. The only people that talk about slow responses are users, but they're allegedly also the ones that want bright and shiny point and click so if point and click is slow they're supposed to be happy. I don't buy any of this crap but then I haven't seen any of these users, just execs that want a free lunch. If it's slow and nearly free, no contest, they're not the ones that have to do any significant work with it.

Having said that, I have developed a CGI card game server in RPG on my home system and given that one has been around the block like most of us and knows what they're doing, there is just a slight more overhead performance wise than an interactive session, and that's because HTTP traffic and serving (Apache) is a bit bulkier than 5250 serving, and also you lose state on each request and have to restore it or retain aspects of it in dataq servers like I do, whereas a 5250 session has a dedicated communications connection.

Still, even with that, with CGI API calls instead of EXFMT, and running transactions in dataq servers instead of a 5250 session program, it is reasonably close in overhead and speed. CGIDEV2 is the business usage model for this.
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rd



Joined: 13 Sep 2002
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2016 12:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You have to have jobs before there can be programmers. You can't require programmers sitting around and then say oh there are programmers, now we can decide to hire.

You can have RPG programmers as fast as I and a lot of other consultants became RPG programmers. Any programmer can program in RPG. Where do you think all these Indian RPG programmers came from when Corporate USA says oh we can't find an RPG programmer? What a load of BS.

Bottom line companies hire only experienced in exactly what they have and the rest move on to other activities, but if there were jobs for RPG programmers there would be programmers to fill them. I especially like the "we can't find RPG programmers" who then have no problem finding as many RPG consultants as they need to help migrate off the system. That tells you everything you need to know. Has nothing to with RPG and programmers, has everything to do with execs thinking there are cheaper ways to go than IBM.
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