In my job as the Vice President of all things IBM i at Rocket Software, I get to speak with IBM i users all over the world. The people I talk to are adding web and mobile interfaces to their IBM i applications, creating web service layers, restructuring their databases and modernizing their RPG code. IBM i professionals are ensuring that their business end users, customers and partners can interact with their applications using the latest technology in our increasingly interconnected world.
It is clear that IBM i shops need a portfolio of modernization tools to help them with the variety of modernization challenges. If the objective is to get a web interface onto all application screens as rapidly as possible, an automated transformation tool might be the right solution. If the objective is to connect internal applications to customer or partner systems or if it necessary to change the application workflow then a web services tool might be a better answer. If modernizing the RPG code is required then an RPG transformation tool or code analysis solution could be what you need.
Some of the tools for a complete toolbox include:
Dynamic transformation tools simply transform one kind of interface to another. This is the ideal tool to use if you want to rapidly transform thousands of green screens to web UIs. These tools are useful for the vast majority of application screens that are used infrequently and don’t require sophisticated web or mobile updates. The tools often provide templates that allow users to do basic customization of the look and feel of the resulting web or mobile screens.
Dynamic Transformation with Customization
These tools rapidly transform screens but allow users to significantly customize the results of the transformation. For example, users can combine data from multiple green screens into a single web panel or add charts and graphs to a screen or change menus and data structures into tree controls. Customizing the transformation takes more effort but can provide significantly better results.
Service Generation & Management
Service generation and Management tools are invaluable if the objective is to expose individual bits of functionality from within existing application code as web services. By creating web services, application workflows can be rearranged to match a mobile work environment, functions from disparate applications can be orchestrated to work together, web and mobile teams can easily hook up their apps to required data and processes and new components can be easily integrated into existing applications.
Code Analysis and Transformation
Code Analysis tools make it easy to learn the structure of existing applications in order to determine the best way to modernize the code. Code transformation tools can take existing RPG programs and turn them into RPG Free so they will have the look and feel of programs built in the latest languages.
Multiplatform ALM & DevOps
ALM & DevOps tools allow you to manage the complexities of a heterogeneous environment that includes IBM i core applications, web components, mobile applications and web services. They can be critical to ensuring that all the right parts get to all the right places as changes are moved through the application lifecycle.
These are just some of the tools that can help in the continual process of modernizing applications. By having a complete toolbox, IT professionals can ensure they have the right tool for each modernization challenge. To see first hand how a modernization toolbox can accelerate your digital transformation initiatives, watch a recording of the webinar, Empowering IBM i in the Age of Digital Transformation.
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