It is an understatement to say that mobile devices are growing in popularity. Many people are talking about the consumerization of IT meaning that employees are bringing their personal technology to work. More and more shops are taking advantage of this by creating mobile, authenticated interfaces into their business systems.
This can be a challenge in many iSeries shops that have been around for many years because most iSeries ERP systems assume a 5250 green-screen interface. They have no API.
This issue and many others in the iSeries world such as file recursion and unmanageable triggers can be eliminated by using design patterns. For instance, the Model-View-Controller pattern separates your system into layers. Each has different responsibilities.
- The View layer consists of your 5250 screens, your web pages and the user interface of any mobile apps.
- The Model layer contains the business interface into your database. It may also include a local database for disconnected storage in HTML5 and mobile apps.
- The Controller layer is the glue between the other layers. It is where important issues like connectivity and security are managed.
Years ago, creating these layers in an iSeries system seemed like wasted time. Now, with many of our systems requiring some form of internal or external mobile connection, creating a single reusable authenticated API into the system is important.
The biggest question in my mind is this. Where is the business logic? This brings
Will there ever be a day when you are required to integrate mobile devices into your ERP system?
The executives may want a dashboard to show them the pulse of the business. Maybe you want to give inventory control access to more information than an RF gun can display. In this competitive climate, you might choose to make it as easy and enjoyable as possible for customers to purchase product from you by creating a custom mobile app. There are hundreds of possible scenarios.
If you allow people to use an interface other than the green screen, consider the architecture. Do everything possible to avoid duplicating validations and business logic in every interface.
As mobile devices become more prominent, the issue of how to connect them to our systems becomes more important. My goal is to help you start well.