Category Archives: Enterprise

IBM i V5R4 to V7R1

We are in the middle of testing every app in every LPAR to make sure that it all works. We have code written in Lansa, RPG, CL, and Java. Some apps are home-grown and some were purchased.

V6 is the behemoth update while V7 is much smaller. As you might be aware, the V6 upgrade process must touch every program object due to a new memory management system. This requires that every program object be observable. If any aren’t, they will no longer execute. This has been a challenge for us since we began with about 10,000 non-observable objects. Now we are at a much more manageable number.

The Next Microsoft

Andrew Kim’s take on rebranding Microsoft is quite appealing to me but I don’t like the Office logo at all.

(via Shawn Blanc)

The Apple Auditorium

Why is this auditorium so exciting?

I guess because it is underground and it is part of the future Apple campus. Just look at it!

(via CultOfMac)

Refreshing

I get to build Enterprise Applications for a living and love what I do.

It’s a lot like playing with LEGO bricks while also having access to a foundry for LEGO bricks. I get to design the pieces so they fit the odd angles and the difficult transitions that are prolific in the Enterprise. This career comes with magnificent challenges which my brain loves to tackle. Maybe you can relate.

Then there are the mosquitoes. The annoyances that produce a barely perceptible buzzing that eventually drives me freaking CRAZY! Like the proxy server.

My iPad is integrated into all aspects of my life. Tasks and project management live there as does my information repository. Those two apps account for most of my iPad usage. The important points here are that the apps are native, not web, and that my iPad connects to the wireless network at work.

This matters because the proxy server at work, for some reason unknown to me, severs the connection after a random period of time if I am not using a web browser. The red exclamation mark announces that it is time to traverse the well-worn path to the web browser, tap three to five times on the annoyingly small refresh button until it finally stops smirking at me and refreshes. (It is not that hard to increase the hit region for the refresh button!) This mundane action miraculously reconnects my frayed connection and I am able to return to productivity. This pilgrimage is revisited a dozen or two times each day. I liken this to having a sliver in the tip of your finger while typing all day long.

So how does a builder of tools reduce this annoyance? By building a tool, of course.

Here is a link to the refresh page hosted here at Stellarwell. It is a simple page with a big ‘ol refresh button sitting in the middle. If you’d like to use it, feel free but I made it for me. It is my home page in the Terra web browser. Not Safari. Because when the proxy server DOES ask for authentication (a mere half-a-dozen times each day), entering the information is faster in Terra. The mosquito still buzzes. Just not as loudly.

Evernote Acquires Skitch

Do you use Evernote as your information repository? Do you ever take pictures of white boards or hand-drawn diagrams and then mark them up?

I do and am quite excited about Evernote bringing Skitch into their family. I use and like both products.

As Skitch users will attest, this is one of the most innovative, easy-to-use applications available on Mac. We’re going to keep it that way. We are committed, not only to making the Skitch Mac app more awesome, but also to bringing Skitch to every desktop and mobile platform under the sun. In addition, in the coming months, you’ll see tighter integration between Evernote and Skitch to let you easily draw, ink, grab screenshots, annotate and share your favorite memories.

The Android version has already been released!

via OmMalik

Mobile ERP Connections

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.

Power i Forecast: Smartphones and Mobile Apps, Part I

MC|PRESS online published an article on mobile development in the enterprise. I am humbled to have been asked and proud to have contributed to the article.

The world is going mobile, and chances are that everyone reading this article has a smartphone, and probably has—or is planning to get—a tablet computer, be it an iPad, Android, Windows 7, or BlackBerry device.

The implications for enterprise computing are, if not enormous, at least extremely significant. No IT manager or chief technology officer today can claim to be completely confident in his or her decisions regarding mobile enterprise computing because the technology is changing so fast.

My hope is that a broader discussion of enterprise mobile development will take place among shops using the IBM i. We can help each other navigate the path to mobile best practices.