Application modernization–what is it anyway?

IBM Card Punch

In The Beginning

In the late 1970s, in my first IT job, my input device was a keypunch machine. I used it to punch holes in 80 column cards. The cards held both my data and my programs. I ran the data cards through a sorter machine so they would be processed in the right sequence when I fed them into the card reader. The user interface for the output was green bar printer paper.

In my next job I used a key to disk machine that would store my input on an 8-inch floppy disk. Although the key to disk machine had a 6 line screen, my output was still paper printout. In 1981, the same year the IBM PC was announced, I went to work for IBM selling System 34s. They actually had full size green screen terminals into which you could enter an entire screen of data at once. Some of my output would come right back to the screen rather than to the printer! This was an infinitely more desirable way of working!

And Along Came the GUI

Then in 1985 Windows arrived and the graphical user interface began to show up in business. The GUI changed the way people interacted with applications. Client server applications became all the rage. Then, in 1991, Tim Berners-Lee created the first Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) at CERN and the Web was born. Shortly thereafter, in 1993, Mark Andreesen at the University of Illinois Urbana Champagne, created the first graphical web browser called Mosaic. (Mosaic was developed with funding by the High Performance Computing Project – a project that was championed by Al Gore. Hence his claim to having “invented” the Internet.) Soon everyone wanted Web browser interfaces to their applications. That lasted for several years, until 2007 when Apple announced the iPhone, and then in 2010 announced the iPad. Now the market is demanding mobile application access.

Continuous Application Modernization

The point of this history is that modernization is not something you do at a point in time. Application modernization is an ongoing process of ensuring your applications support the changes your company must make in order to stay in front of the trends in your marketplace.

IBM is continuing to deliver new technology to ensure that IBM i users get to take advantage of all the great changes taking place in technology and business these days. There are new languages like PHP, Ruby and NodeJS to help you build the latest in web applications that run on IBM i. There are new messaging and data sharing technologies like JSON and XML that allow you to easily share data with others. There are web services and mobile device connectivity capabilities to make it easy to build mobile applications around your IBM i.

When looking at tools to help you continually modernize your applications, you want to ensure that they support you as you move forward. At Rocket, we have developed the Rocket IBM i Application Modernization Platform. Our Platform includes tools for rapidly building mobile and web interfaces to your applications, tools for easily generating RESTful and Soap services for application integration, systems to manage the deployment of applications to mobile devices and to manage the company data on those devices, security tools to protect your IBM i and your company network, data access facilitation software and, to tie it all together, a multi-platform lifecycle management solution. We also have a highly skilled staff of IBM i experts to help as you continually modernize.

So, as you move forward in supporting your business with the latest and greatest technology, give us a call (or a text, or an email…). Let us help you continually modernize your IBM i.

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Dan Magid
Daniel Magid is Managing Director of Rocket Software’s Application Lifecycle Management & DevOps lab, and is a recognized authority on helping leading organizations achieve compliance through ALM solutions and DevOps best practices. He has written a variety of articles for leading IT publications and is a regular speaker at technology conferences.

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