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"What's in a name? That which we call a rose By any other word would smell as sweet." -- Shakespeare, from Romeo and Juliet. Yes, a few weeks ago, IBM announced that they were changing the name of our beloved system from iSeries to System i. Actually, if you want to be technical about it, the previous name was IBM eServer iSeries, and the current generation was called IBM eServer iSeries i5. Now, the current generation is IBM System i5, and the server line is called IBM System i. Our ...

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Discuss this Blog Entry 98

Perry (not verified)
on Apr 3, 2006
Yes it all sounds good and wonderful. But the plain fact remains when you try to sell and application and mention the AS400 the deal is finished. No new client or new business is gonna buy an AS400 anynmore no matter how great the app is...That's a SAD fact. Yes everything you mention does work fine on an AS400 but the costs are ridiculous and fact that outside vendors are creating all this software makes things even worse...yes I agree the AS400 is a wonderful machine. But as a businessman there is no way I am going to develop screen scraper apps and try to sell it to new clients. THere is no software company in America that is going to develop a new large scale app on the AS400. Besides the fact you can't find AS400 people the reality is that everyone wants WINDOWS in spite of how we feel about it. Perception rather than reality is what matters in software development. And right now it is NEAR impossible to sell a new AS400 system.
ChangeAgent (not verified)
on Mar 31, 2006
I got the latest edition of iSeries News last night. I read a little bit, but not all of it. Roger Pence is back. Yea! I like his style - Somewhat of a curmudgeon and an IBM slammer when it comes to what IBM is doing and what he believes IBM should be doing. It strikes a chord with me somehow. What caught my eye was the interview of the new marketing head. It was a little sickening to read as I came away not believing she "gets it". We all know the kind of advertising IBM does and it seems they will be doing more of it. I will never warm up to the idea that an ex employee of a series of now defunct companies earns the right to market a product for IBM such as the System i5. To me, this defies common sense. A sidebar article was about IBM's recent name change of the iSeries to System i5. They defend their stand on the issue of its rename citing the fact that the iSeries is more than just a server box; it's a whole system. It would seem to me that if you wanted to confuse the market place a good way to do it would entail renaming your product line every few years. It's the same machine, always has been, just a different name. For IBM to cite their reasons this late in the naming game (which I interpret as intellectual catch up about what the machine has always been), it should be a warning flag that their marketing arm fell on the floor several years ago. On the other hand, Microsoft could sell a bag of hot, steamy dog hooey to a kennel and make the purchaser believe they got something worthy of using. Oh boy! Keeping all of these name changes in mind, it would stand to reason the iSeries News magazine will soon be renamed to something like "System i5 News". Or maybe even "IBM's Machine name du jour News". The last option would be less expensive and would indicate their full understanding of the market dynamics which seems to continue to escape IBM. And the beat goes on.
Vidyashankar (not verified)
on Mar 31, 2006
I being a programmer, have worked on V5R2. It is news for me that V5R4 has hit the market and companies are using it. I am enamoured by the vast scope the machine offers, though not all areas I am specialised. Happy if I get to work in all spheres of software the server offers to the programmers. Great. It was tough earlier to know. But now midrange system has become part of my aspirations. At present, I am not workng. I am eager to see the green screen and progaram the applications.
Perry (not verified)
on Apr 9, 2006
RD, I may not know much about C# but type this in and let me know what you think? Take care little man!!!! using System; using System.Collections.Generic; using System.Text; namespace RD { class Program { static void Main(string[] args) { Idiot rd = new Idiot("rd"); rd.displayTheIdiot(rd.IdiotsName); } } public class Idiot { private string idiotsName; public string IdiotsName { get { return idiotsName; } set { idiotsName = value; } } public Idiot(string idiotsName) { this.idiotsName = idiotsName; } public void displayTheIdiot(string idiotsName) { Console.WriteLine("{0} is a fool and an idiot", idiotsName); Console.ReadLine(); } } }
on Apr 2, 2006
Without a doubt. What's wrong with Advanced System 400? rd
on Apr 3, 2006
The one thing I don't blame IBM for is selling whatever the customer wants. If they want Windows, IBM will gladly sell them X servers and not blink an eye at a lost AS/400 opportunity. We should have had a Jacada like standard Eclipse based Java GUI interface for the AS/400 by now. IBM hitched their wagon to Websphere and web pages, and the will live or die by it. Unfortunately the AS/400 is collateral damage to Armonk marketing muckups. If you are dead set on Windows .NET, and it appears talk is driving it rather than any solid vision, then I suggest converting your commercial app to ASNA .NET where it will be a Windows app with RPG IO that runs against their database on Windows, SQL Server, or ahem even the AS/400. Probably the way of the future given IBM betting all their chips on Websphere. ASNA, Jacada, Joe Pluta, and just about everybody else is just smarter than IBM, like you point out. IBM had a treasure trove in OS/400, and they squandered it. rd
angelinthemorning (not verified)
on Apr 11, 2006
[[after spending $5M on an AS400 project to expand the size of one field by two digits]] How does Java/Oracle help this siutation? Bad design is bad design in any language or platform. This is a non-RPG or platform issue. For some reason these 400/RPG discussions always have a huge whine factor where everything's the fault of RPG or the platform. Just when are the programmers responsible? Does that go away because you think the grass is greener and there's a magic bullet in .NET? This is un-mitigated nonsense. What technology that you are using today can credit it's base invention within the last 30 years(since 1976), heck 40 years?. The rest is just add ons on top of PRE-existing technologies, Java, .NET, IM, cell phones, whatever. The more you understand that the more things change the more they remain the same also means that YOU are responsible not the latest marketing gimmick. Go ahead and discover .NET in all it's glory, I can tell you first hand that both J2EE and .NET are completely over-cooked frameworks that do not give the results for efforts. Only very skilled architects will design a lasting object oriented framework. It seems every one throws around the OO buzz like jelly beans but just what OO architecture have all these great programmers designed, built, put into production and that still runs today? There is simply far more talk and exaggerations by writers, pseudo-experts and vendors than meets reality. You would think the sun(the real one) sets on AJAX or something, rather than some marketing gimmick using javascript no less. Sure it works to some degree but what's the real cost in developing in "AJAX" for a windows desktop look and feel? Way to much tom-foolery going on in the IT industry these days. PHP now is the latest darling of open source UNIX weenies and now we have Zend - whoopie. Okay maybe it will help RPG'ers get a easy to develop web presence, juries out on that one. Unfortunately I left more "solid" compilers for Java in the 90's and now am switching back to bare metal programming. Although I never really left bare metal programming, Java was the "answer" to everyone's problems, unfortunately it created many others like terrible performance and slow web applications, and spawned endless "frameworks". I suspect .NET will follow the same path and those who jumped will regret it sooner or later. Fact is most vendor products do not use .NET, they might produce a product for the .NET community for sale but try and tear real compiled languages away from them. No .NET will sooner or later suffer the same problems that all frameworks do. This is not to say that Java and .NET are "bad" but generally low level of skill required to use them, the imposed abstraction layer(where the programmer knows next to nothing of the underlying machine) results in poor-performing products. Again bad design in any language or framework is bad design. You will not become a better programmer by switching to .NET or Java, that I can guarantee you. Note to the person who stated that inline code is some sort of RPG bane might be pleased to know that Java programmers do it all the time, why? Same reason, over budget, schedule deadline, spaghetti code, whatever. The wizard who designed the OO framework or the pseudo-OO framework forgot a few things and there's no time to go back and de-couple and re-couple everything, hence screw it, I'll just copy the same object, and create a new one with new signatures. Whoever thinks that OO solves these problems is mistaken. You'd also be pleased to know that the SQL skill level of a Java programmer is no better than that of a RPG programmer. I in fact am very SQL/DB skilled and always did the advanced DB coding required. I would say that the average RPG programmer and Java programmer are basically on par in understanding and implementing their respective tools. Neither is really that close to the machine and understands little outside of their own environment. Over a year ago, I was on a 2 year project where the "architect" designed a Swing application that took 2 years to develop. He wasted both our time implementing basically a 75 table schema in Oracle and Java using JBuilder. It was supposed to be a publishers clearinghouse system with many modules. Unfortunately, the architect never realized he was no Java God and spent 2 years replicating buckets to store information. Never really implemented the business model. The contractor didn't win the re-compete and the project was scraped for a purchased system. He did not listen, thought he was Java God. Now I've realized that this same fool can be replicated in almost any IT department, can you say .NET god. I've decided to slowly migrate back to low-level machine coding in whatever makes the most sense. But no way am I waiting around for the Java and .NET gods to "get it". And by machine level I mean assembler, C, C++, networks, etc not necc. RPG but I don't eschew it either, but it definitely means no .NET and Java. Why do you think MS still produces a C++ compiler, MASM, etc.? Ain't no C# gonna do it for real programmers. By the way I never ever saw a more tightly coupled product than JBuilder which completely threw out the notion of OO the second a "querydataset" was attached to another supporting object, that is the abstraction layer disappeared and now each object had a reference to the other, each was now tightly coupled to the other. And all JBuilder Java programmers simply reference the JBuilder data layer directly without any true DAO class enforcing that separation layer. Bad design but JBuilder basically allowed it. Anyway, the more things change the more they remain the same. The Struts framework is no different, nor will Shale or JSF or any of the others that follow, more cooks, more burnt offerings. Good Luck on your .NET quest!
on Apr 2, 2006
Ok, Joe, I have to say I absolutely agree with you. But you are part of the cognoscenti; you have knowledge and experience. My point was that many of those who don't have your breadth don't feel the same way. And it's IBM who must do a better job of convincing those that things are different. How it does that cannot be a "rebranding/renaming" effort solely.
on Apr 2, 2006
I've always maintained that without constant infusion of iAS400seriesSystem awareness and usage into the general IT public, the "system" will become monolithic much like the virtually mythic "mainframe". It may exist and people may snap their fingers and say, "oh yeah, I've heard of those before, what's that all about"? But, in the end, it will be a "hmmm" footnote to most conversations. Is there a true desperate note at all to IBMs need to sell the iAS400seriesSystem? I never feel it; and IBM upper management doesn't seem very proud of this particular product as they let it wither away. It's sort of GM like, the whole IBM sales process. People know they need to sell machines but are content to live off of expensive services. They are willing to bet that the senior citizens will come back to well and buy the ever more expensive and gadgety Cadillac, Buick, etc. and aren't willing to respect their competition. I know managers who are open-minded about virtually everything IT but can't recite anything about an "iAS400seriesSystem" except that "it's old, isn't it?" So the rebranding can't be particularly effective since it's been going on for what, 6-8+ years? Technically, it's not a big deal. It is a great system with an outstanding OS and an excellent DB. But in the age where you can get "free" opensource DBs and inexpensive development tools, you need to do way more work to sell the iAS400seriesSystem environment. And it has to be palatable to breakout (read: virgin, new, inexperienced) developers as well as established ones. And that's where I see the biggest problem, the actual IT and non-IT guys who will fiddle with the box and sell it in the executive bath room away from IBM retailers or VARs. Those guys just don't exist at this point; there are very few people who are virgins to the IT workplace who know anything about the iAS400seriesSystem, much less willing to invest their fiddle time on it. They're just too distracted learning all the cool stuff that's available on the web. Why diddle with WebSphere when you have to give up so much time? Just jump on to the web flavor of the month! RPG? Who teachs it in 2 or 4 yr institutions? Who makes it available to be taught? Why diddle with it when people are still arguing about freestyle mode vs. columnar? Oy, the local city college has .Net, just do that and you can get a job anywhere, even though it may be for pennies. The current iAS400seriesSystem marketing is just fine if you're working at a big shop that really needs the iAS400seriesSystem. Chances are that kind of shop will never go away; the system is just too good for those environments and those big shops can afford all the billing invoices. But the same marketing does not exist to attract new fresh blood that can't afford BigShop invoices. 25 years ago, my mother worked for a medical company that used a System 36 (up from a 32) with a cardpunch reader. They abused that reader for something like 12 years before they decided to move to 5250. At that time, it was relatively affordable and also virtually the only real game in town. I can't say that it is the case today. There's too much competition for IBM in the lowend and they have zero gumption to compete at that lowlevel. There's little incentive for them to do it and protecting their pride and heritage is irrelevant to beancounters. It's definitely GM all over again.
on Apr 3, 2006
Hmm, Mr. Klement sure started something here ;>. A few (6-7?) years ago, I proposed a possible solution but one that would stick in IBMs craw because it would be a capital loss upfront and is outside their business model. The solution never went anywhere because it was on the old forum and got wiped off pretty quickly. Of course, it was somewhat tongue-in-cheek too but not too far from what maybe could have happened. The proposal was to produce an extremely inexpensive iSeries using consumer grade equipment and interfaces. No SCSI, etc. It had to have USB and some level of multiprocessor capability; it had to have GUI of some sort (something like the old Network Station but on a card). No CPU degradation was allowed; the user could run the box at max speed. Application dev was included at very minimal if no charge and included a consumer brand graphics engine. Maintenance and service was NOT part of the package. It had to be called something else entirely; maybe something like WOS64 or whatever. Sell it with PASE and LINUX jacked up so the performance of PASE/Linux was excellent. The target audience was to be college students who were interested in developing high performance network applications. Included would've been several modified ports of the most popular network gaming apps on campuses. It probably would never have worked because IBM has no connection to that demographic and no interest in them. On the other hand, that is the demographic that is making decisions on buying data gear for shops nowadays. So, we'll probably just have to go with the status quo.
Joe Pluta (not verified)
on Apr 2, 2006
Some of these comments just kill me! Are you guys trying to convince yourselves, or what? The iSeries just recorded its greatest revenue year in a decade. WebSphere is arguably the most popular web application server in the world, and Eclipse is the dominant IDE. IBM continues to open the platform, with Java and Linux and now PHP. There's hardly a language you CAN'T run on the box except for perhaps the ever-more-proprietary Microsoft stuff (and by the way, the Grasshopper tool suite allows you to actually run VS.NET developed code on an iSeries). RPG hasn't been updated? Give me a break! RPG has had more functional enhancements than any other language in the last ten years, not to mention the pure syntactical enhancements of free-form. As for GUI, WDSC completely replaces SEU and PDM, WebFacing and HATS provide a GUI interface to any application, and iSeries Access for the Web provides a browser interface to all your iSeries operations needs. Excellent SQL support, not one but TWO fantastic JVMs, and at least four different operating environments (OS/400, Linux, AIX and PASE). Not to mention an integrated Windows card as well as a dedicated connection to xSeries boxes. And now an integrated VoIP system! And to top it all off, you can still write business applications in COBOL and RPG, which I like to call "assembly language for the database". If you can't put together an incredibly fast, powerful, fleixble and scalable system... well, let's just say it's not the platform's fault. Add to this the low admin overhead of a single box, integrated backups that can be run by the kid from McDonalds, and hardware extensibility that simply can't be outgrown, and the people who continue to bash the platform sound more and more like they're just whistling past the graveyard. Yeah, there will be a need for thick client applications, and .NET is great for enabling non-programmers to knock out good looking data access panels. But when it comes to meat-and-potatoes programming that pays the bills like OLTP and B2C and ERP, I think I'll stick with what's been proven, and just keeps getting better with age. Joe
Perry (not verified)
on Apr 3, 2006
Rd, Good points...but it's more than talk. Again I ask the question...If you were a businessman/developer and you have the best software in the field(hands down) for a niche business....and your CUSTOMERS do not wish to go the AS400/Iseries Platorm what do you do....Question 2....if you are a businessman software developer....do you start application development on an AS400/Iseries platform and invest the time and money necessary or do you go to a platform GUI interface software package? Please take a gut check and see if any one of you can answer YES to any of the above questions....I have written IBM 3 times asking them for help with regard to a solution to an IN THE FIELD PROBLEM...Never did I get one single response...I sent Microsft the same questions....they did a complete audit questioned me and offered me at least technical assistance and a business partnership that I did not take...Investors won't put a dime in my company knowing the AS400/Iseries is ...at least the perception is...directionless....and is anyone going to invest large sums of capital when yu have to tell them BTW there is no real GUI interface....and that's a BIG NO......Ever look at the C# Express developer FREE IDE....See the types of internet, WEB applications you can develop with no effort...at least the GUI part....it's a damn shame....and when Microsoft finally gets their LINQ project database frameworks together the .NET platform becomes a very viable option....so there is little choice for me...STANDSTILL and use WEBSPHERE which I think is horrid, create screen scrapers, go to ANSA and have an even bigger mess on my hands....there is very little choice....and if you are able to develop a 1st class application then the sky IS THE limit....But status quo is not an option....If you don't listen to your CUSTOMERS then it's just a matter of time you become irrelevant....
angelinthemorning (not verified)
on Apr 11, 2006
Perry, There are 2 discussions. The standard RPG/400 sucks discussion and your trying to get traction on a very real perception. Completely understood. However, IBM sells basically a fool-proof machine, plan worked well for many decades. Today, as you say "sexy" sells. IBM is a bit slow to get it, no argument, however, there are other machines that sell well and are basically batch machines that have a self-imposed sexy UI running on Windows. Those communities either created their own on top of the batch machine or use a browser, etc for the sexy GUI. There's no real equivalent on the /400 partially because of the community and paritally because of IBM. The community expected everything of IBM and looked warily at 3rd party offerings. IBM took that to heart and kept vendors at arms length. All of this has changed and will take time to wash out. BG knew he could never compete on the same turf as IBM and still cannot but he did the next best thing and created a market for his products. As well as took the prime share for himself. That's another story but the point is there is a HUGE 3rd party market for the PC. There are a billion and a half products for the PC and a paltry amount for the /400 by comparison. Again this is changing but takes time. If you're a business that runs /400 do you surf the net looking for 3rd party products, no but about every single PC owner has done this -- that's the reason why one looks to be better. But facts is you have to look at the total eco-system. Unix, Linux, mainframe all of these systems are doing well but of course they all look bad compared to PC's because a large machine is sold to a company that has a PC for every employee, so it's very difficult to determine true numbers. Bottom line, if you put a GUI on top of your product, noone knows the difference and it will sell better. Plus you can market the reliability of the system, etc. IMHO, I really think you should spend some time looking at other platforms that have ERP systems and sell well. Also, don't be in such a hurry to scrap, you could do both -- have the PC and /400 products share the same code. It can be done, roll our own, don't get tied to a vendor migration product and costly licenses.
ps (not verified)
on Apr 6, 2006
That's correct I don't have a great understanding of the ISeries. Everything used to be centralized. Finding out about things used to be easy. Now there are 20 different solutions offered by 20 different vendors. And everyone is selling everything. It used to be easy to go in a direction. No it's not and add to the fact most of us have production legacy systems to maintain time becomes even more valuable. My users are very happy with their application. The business application logic is second to none. The performance is incredible. I am just trying to be proactive. I know what the users need even if they are not pushing for it. My friend developed a CGI/HTML/RPG interface for Web content but it just seems so complicated. Does anyone have any suggestions on where to start to find out about the ISeries capabilities? When I go to the bookstore I see zippo on the topic and I was there yesterday. And therein lies the problem. I am somewhat educated. And I try to keep myself uptodate at least at a very high level. None of the users that I deal with and I have 15 clients have a clue of the Iseries capabilities and most are talking about the long range goal of getting off the machine and putting in a Wintel environment. So maybe IBM should concentate less on things like changing then name and more on educating it's existing client base on the capabilities of the Iseries.
NewNameLover (not verified)
on Apr 3, 2006
Taken from bottom of this page: iSeries is a trademark of International Business Machines Corporation and is used by Penton Media, Inc., under license. iSeriesnetwork.com is published independently of International Business Machines Corporation, which is not responsible in any way for the content. Penton Media, Inc., is solely responsible for the editorial content and control of the iSeries Network. Reminder: Don't forget to update this prose with references to the new IBM naming conventions. Unless you are covered by a grace period, you may not be authorized to commonly refer to the System i.
on Apr 9, 2006
btw, a command line interface as well. A little bit of a step back if you ask me. You might want to compare to Java and ask yourself what it is that you are fixated upon about C# .NET that you can't do better with Java and ILE RPG. rd
Perry (not verified)
on Apr 12, 2006
Nathan, I would need a PHD to figure out what it is you want me to do. Thanks for the advice but one of things that makes most programmers BAD is they forget to follow the number one rule IBM used to promote on their little BROWN pocket pads...As you suggest. Maybe take a step back and KEEP IT SIMPLE!!!!!!!!!! I can only imagine what your application logic must be like.
ugeerts (not verified)
on Apr 3, 2006
To be consistent with the name change, Penton media should rename this website to "www.system i network.com". Cool name, don't forget to type only 1 space before and after the "i" (lol)
Perry (not verified)
on Apr 3, 2006
Thanks Joe...BTW I would not take it personally...You seem very knowledgeable and maybe IBM should hire you...But I have invested my whole life in the ISeries....I have been studying hours upon hours to understand .NET, C# and object orientation. But as an ex IBM' one said to me "It does not have to work"..It just has to sell.....yes it's very perplexing to hear that but if we only sold the same quality products we would never have any need for advancement.....do you really think I want to spend the next 2 years deploying an application that I spent the last 10 years naturing....No not really but as a businessman I have to ask myself what will keep me in business and what will make me more money....it just seems that the perception in TODAY's world is that Microsoft is "IT"...I don't agree..I can only tell you how complicated the simplest application has become in C#. But at least learning a new tehnology opens up my venues so that when the NEXT GREAT thing comes along I will be ready willing and able to capitalize on it....Good luck to you too....
ugeerts (not verified)
on Apr 1, 2006
From ibm's point of vue, the name change probably can be explained like this: they intend on unifying all their hardware production lines and the hardware box itself. For example, the former rs/6000, as/400 and z/390 mainframe now all use the same no powerpc processor and as far as the exterior of the system, they all use the same interchangeable black file cabinet. What's basically different between those systems is the name tag on it and some chip inside that tells the hardware what kind of system it should mimic and what kind of o/s it may load. So the distinction between the former lines becomes blurry, let's hope not to the extend that the "i" malaise catches on with the others. BTW, INTEL and AMD stepped up the cpu rat race at an incredible pace last couple of years. Double core 64bits cpu's (Pentium 4 and AMD x64 versions) are getting common place, even for PC workstations. A Siemens PC server carrying 8 double-core processors (so 16 cpu's) running Windows 2003 64bit enterprise or LINUX is a very serious competitor to the former as/400, both in price and performance. For example, one of the biggest problems with pre 2004 PC and Unix single cpu servers is that their reponse times are very dependend on the number of active tasks, meaning when a second user or task becomes active, reponse times basically double. Not so anymore with these modern multi cpu, doublecore cpu boards. They show the same resilience to response time degradation as the 400. In fact, the progress is so big I think ibm is at this very moment losing the rat race. Btw, Apple ditched last month ibm's high priced, elitarian, no powerpc cpu for Intel's mass manufactured, cheap doublecore 64bit, a sign maybe?
on Apr 2, 2006
Wouldn't i5, i6, etc. of System i properly be called the iseries? rd
NewNameLover (not verified)
on Mar 31, 2006
In the late 1980's and 1990's, IBM reorganized itself every couple of years. All it amounted to was moving boxes around on an org chart and creating a few new titles. The final result was massive layoffs and office closings at IBM. The reorgs were some kind of office cultish behavior that did nothing to assist with customer service or product improvement. High internal expenses and an improving Intel oriented technology provided alternatives to IBM's static product line and odd internal behavior. They're at it again with cultish, inward looking, self-absorbed 'rebranding'. Nobody realy knows what they are selling anymore unless they have been paying attention to the continual name changes. Most people haven't unless they were current AS/400 customers and, thus, had no choice. Most new potential customers would be puzzled and apprehensive about doing business with a company that keep changing the name of one of it's flagship products. A question might be "Why do you keep changing the name? What are you trying to hide? Why are you trying to confuse me? Nobody else does this and their products are more popular." The frequent name changes probably have more to do with the need to look busy when you really have little new to offer. The AS/400 now has nothing so distinctive that it can capture anyone's imagination just be reading a headline in an advertisement. Maybe the frequent name changes will make someone curious enough to buy what they rejected for more substantial reasons earlier? Who on earth would say to themselves "Oh boy! The AS/400 has another new name. Those IBMers are so smart. I need to buy one now. The name has mysteriously captivated me. It's soooo much better than the old name. Why don't Linux or Pepsi change their names, too? They must not be clever."
on Apr 10, 2006
Methinks this topic has exhausted itself! Perhaps a simple Yes/No poll might have been more effective.
Perry (not verified)
on Apr 19, 2006
It's clear after reading the latest IBM earnings repot that although ISERIES sales are down WEBSPHERE is a big CASH cow for IBM so it's clear as long as WEBSPHERE continues to do OK(WEBSPHERE revenues increased) IBM will do nothing as far as creating a more usable GUI face for the ISERIES by an other name!!!!!! Too bad!!!!!
Joe Pluta (not verified)
on Apr 3, 2006
"If I converted my software over not only would I have a ton of new customers my company would be bought out in a second" "and if I did convert all would follow me to the new platform." Then you don't need the iSeries! The only possible answer I can have to your statements is to wish you good luck on your new platform. Look at something like RIO or Monarch to convert to Windows, and enjoy your success! Joe
Perry (not verified)
on Apr 4, 2006
Funny I was just scrolling the site looking for product announcements and this caught my eye so this would be my last comment.... "Since PHP is built to be a simple Web-scripting language, programmers will find it easier to develop applications without the need for all the overhead of WebSphere and the complexities of CGI," says Mike Pavlak, director of IS for Trippe Manufacturing Company. "PHP represents an alternative to Java that does not require a degree in Object-Oriented Development, but still supports it. It is the biggest language to hit the iSeries since Java!" What's funny is that while noone is arguing the merits of the ISeries box none of the technical promoters of the box will even admit to the fact that WEBSPHERE and CGI are cumbersome internet technologies....A positive step for the I series is PHP...maybe RUBY on RAILS will be next but just look how a vendor refers to the WEBSPHERE and CGI environments...and there is not a PERCEPTION problem. Deny it all you want... Me I can work with a green screen and RPG...IT's all I need...I have written 3 large industrial strength applications....but noone at IBM nor anyone on this thread cares to listen to the merits of someone that is a developer and someone that speaks to customers all day long and someone that is an RPG purist and a C# wannabe...Perception is what matters!!!!! and as long as IBM continues to not give the DEVELOPER ommunity what it needs to develop 1st Class easy to deploy apps things will not get better....
perry (not verified)
on Apr 3, 2006
Does anyone out there really think anyone or any software company would invest it's resources in deploying a new AS/400 app? No way is it gonna happen. Listen I sell to a specific audience and they all love the software. Until I mention the AS400. Then it's like a plague hit. No matter what I say there is nothing I can do to convince the user to buy a propietary machine. I can imbed th cost of the machine in my price but I am not willing to absorb that cost and to tell you the truth even then there are objections. And as the old time managers start exiting it's gonna get even harder to sell the box. I have to make a choice and I have. I love the AS400, love the database love the reliability but if you don't LISTEN to your customers you will out of business fast....and if you afe trying to sell in a foreign market noone is gonna pay for a box even if in the long run it will be cheaper for them...It's either I convert my customers to a new operating system or wait until someone else comes in and does that for me. Sales are what matter and most time new sells. Does anyone want a good old reliable cell phone when they can get a Blackberry or Trio? Got to change with the times. It's clear IBM is doing nothing to help the software vendors. And even clearer they are relying on the fact that there is nothing that can easily convert the AS400 apps over to something else. ANd if IBM does com out with somthing don't you think THEY are gonna want to move all the AS400 users over to a NEW BOX....NEW SELLS....and IBM underestimated the loyality of it's customers....but they also have to realize that other oprions are starting to exist.
perry (not verified)
on Apr 11, 2006
Thanks Steve. It looks very good.
on Apr 21, 2006
I have a suggestion. System i is unusable as a name for this powerful system as Scott clearly pointed out. Since IBM hasn't invested any visible effort in the new System i name, it should try again. Yes, IBM should change its mind....again. Heck, who will notice. Even if someone does notice, any publicity is better than none. As was previously suggested, we don't have to wait for an invitation from IBM. We should help them pick a new name. Put up a round of requests for name suggestions, then do a reader poll. There is no reason we have to wait for IBM. After all, we didn't wait for IBM to build the tools we needed. If we pick a good usable name we can make it stick.
on Apr 10, 2006
Perry: C# isn’t the only game in town. Java will be around for some time to come. C# isn’t going to be your silver bullet. It won’t magically change Ferrari's from Red to Black. You have to write programs. With Websphere IBM went firmly down the browser based application path vs. client server applications. It doesn’t matter what web application server you pick. Don’t like Webshpere, use Tomcat or another Java WAS. The as/400 (by any other name) is a server and will continue serving up applications and/or data (using software probably not written in RPG) for a long time to come. I believe SAP runs on the platform today. Just not on an i5/OS partition. Regardless the path you take (Hardware?, C/S or Browser based?, C#, Java, pick your languages?), it will be more complex then the current green screen software.
on Apr 10, 2006
The roadmap from IBM was Java. Can't go to C# or Java and say IBM didn't say that was the future. I unfortunately had plenty of time to write my Double Deck Pinochle game in Java to get my feet wet in it. Design is everything, in any language. It's wonderful to change interfaces behind the interface, which is what I wrote to between major layers. But guess what? We've been doing that all along with parm lists to RPG programs or the more granular parm lists of multiple subprocedures. Nothing magical in any of it, just degrees of separation. For Greg above, a framework called JD Edwards World provides an infrastructure that allows the change of the definition of any field, no cost. Well, maybe a little upfront. :) rd
rdean (not verified)
on Apr 4, 2006
"Enough posting and trying to convince a few people that the PERCEPTION of the AS400/ISeries is not very good and the fact that the box is lacking an inherent GUI interface is a detriment to selling it." And how would you propose to display this proposed GUI? You're not going to replace Windows desktop PCs. The fact of the matter is that the system is a *server*. A good architecture will use client technology that is not tied to the server. You want a GUI? Use any one of the myriad open frameworks out there: Flex (Flash rich clients), DHTML (ala GMail, Google Maps, etc), Eclipse RCP, Lazlo, Mozilla XUL, Microsoft XAML, or wait for "Sparkle" (Microsoft's wannabe Flash killer). Regardless, your proposed GUI isn't going to gain traction unless it runs on the majority of computers out there, and that means Windows and perhaps Linux and OS X. As far as perception goes, perception is reality when it comes to marketing. As far as the platform goes, IBM's trying to alter market perception. It won't work as well as we'd like it to, but at least they're trying. It's much better than what HP did to the HP3000.
on Apr 11, 2006
Perry, You continually blame IBM for not being able to sell an iSeries, and you say that prospects flatly refuse one, which raises the question - who are you trying to sell to? I understand that Wintel systems and culture can become so entrenched in IT departments, that "adding" an iSeries may be an uphill battle, but are you selling to IT departments, or to end-user groups? Are you proposing a stand-alone solution, or one that relies on a Wintel database? I'd suggest selling to end-users if IT departments are throwing up smoke-screens, or extending your applications so that they can replace competing Wintel solutions. You blame IBM, saying that IBM has no direction, which is nonsense. It's possible that IBM's direction may not be in-line with your interests, but IBM definitely has a roadmap, which it promotes widely. Have you ever attended meetings of your local user's group? Have you ever read an iSeries publication? How have you missed IBM's programs for FREE consulting and solution assessment to iSeries ISV's who are trying to modernize their applications? How can you be so ill-informed on one hand, yet claim to be so experienced on the other? Did you get stuck in a 5250 / RPG III rut, and refuse to keep up with IBM's roadmap? The irony is that you've written off RPG and the iSeries native environment, and are off on a quest for "object-orientation", which is so passé, that you must have gotten stuck in some sort of a time-warp, which left you both disillusioned as well as disoriented. There are probably a number of iSeries ISV's who would just love to see your customer list, knowing that they could offer a roadmap and solution to your customers that would cost less, be easier to maintain, be easier to support, last longer, be more reliable, and perform better than anything you could propose (or create) in a .Net environment.
ugeerts (not verified)
on Apr 3, 2006
To be consistent with the name change, Penton media should rename this website to "www.system i network.com". Cool name, don't forget to type only 1 space before and after the "i" (lol)
on Apr 9, 2006
You might want to check on the delays in Microsoft's plan, Project Green. Nothing magical about .NET, nothing that is making Microsoft's ERP a reality, for example. As far as work goes, most of substance is being done in Java J2EE which runs on the AS/400. .NET is just more of the VB client server Windows programming that's been around and is ok, but nothing to run a business on. But there is work in it, and there wasn't much in RPG. Picking up a little with the rest of IS across the board. But if you can program in C#, you can program in Java, and Java JSP or J2EE on the AS/400 calling RPG business logic with native IO makes a lot more sense than Windows programs. I've got long enough to go before I retire that unless Company i gets serious about a native desktop GUI interface for the AS/400 and DDS oriented communications with it, I'll be on one of the last AS/400's running. rd
on Apr 8, 2006
or just Company i. Let their marketing mucks chew on that for awhile and see what it feels like. rd
on Apr 5, 2006
What is it about Penton Media that attracts so many off the wall posters, disgruntled to the point of blathering about the iSeries being a has-been platform? Trolls of ANSA and California Software? If you're recommending abandoning the iSeries for a Wintel server, don't forget to say you're recommending a rack-load of them (one for hosting HTTP, one to many for hosting your application servers and application suite, one to many for hosting your database, and one or many for redundancy). And what about doubling your support costs, and quadrupling your down time? And what about listening to users complain about Sally running customer statements or invoices or other batch procedures during interactive workloads? Google is said to host over 100,000 servers. What happens when the electric grid in California fails? Consider the cost of just air conditioning in their data centers. Who will buy an iSeries? Modernize your iSeries applications and see!
Perry (not verified)
on Apr 9, 2006
rd, you remind me of the Japanese soldier they found guarding a cave somewhere in the Pacific in 1955!!!! Maybe they should change the name to S34S36S38AS400. As long as this box does not have a native or transparent SEU GUI/WEB interface it's over for the BOX. Yes the legacy applications will continue to run for many companies until they either go out of business or get new management and hence new IT managers that believe in other technologies. You are suffering from the baby duck syndrome. Just as a baby is imprinted at birth to the first object it sees and thinks it's the mother...the AS400 series was your first and you are imprinted. As I have stated I think the AS400 is a wonderful machine. But when there is no statement of direction or even the slightest bit of acknowledgement about the future of the box I think it's time for you to start looking at other things too....so that when something that might catch your fancy comes out you will be more familiar with the technolgies that are relevant in todays ever changing business world. Consider yourself lucky that IBM is behind the 8 ball. You still have time to start picking up these new technologies. Now granted it's an entirely different world. Much more to learn. Not only to you have to learn a new language, you have to learn a whole new development process(object orientation), new Database access, a new CL like language and some HTML and DHTML and PHP and Ruby. So just consider yourself lucky and understand you have a few more years to learn these things before the application world will greet the next "IN THING"....at least you will be closer to whats relevant..I am not going to sit around and wait for IBM....If I did I might be working in India or Pakistan right now...Take care!!!!!
edge (not verified)
on Apr 8, 2006
ugeerts, Ralph is correct, Alot of very larges businesses still use and will continue to use the as/400 (i5). I don't know how much your in the biz, but you would be surprised if you knew who used them. Alot of businesses and government agencies, city governments, county governments all over the US still use it because it works! no re-booting all the time to "fix" things. you said: "No, I don't think so. Too little too late. The "system i" a.k.a. the former as/400 is a write-off. Period." I couldn't disagree more. The only thing that will inhibit the growth of the platform will be attitudes like yours. And as people with these attitudes rise up in the corporate ranks and become purchasing deciders. Yes, IBM needs to get their heads out of their ass and stop changing the name every 2 years. The platform is still producing alot of cash for IBM even with the poor marketing. And IBM is still inovating the platform like CRAZY! I've worked with a few Java programmers over the ears who never had used an AS/400 before. After a few weeks of programming using the DB2 database, ALL of them told me, they never wanted to use any other Database again.
on Apr 9, 2006
I se no database access there, no business logic, no server logic, nothing of any substance. If you think this is the future of business apps, then why don't you go rewrite your product in it? What's your endless suffering all about? rd
Perry (not verified)
on Apr 12, 2006
Interesting read..... http://www.itjungle.com/big/big041106-story01.html
ugeerts (not verified)
on Apr 5, 2006
ps, you've hit a key point. Ibm had (had) a vision with the as/400, that vision was rapid application development with seu-rpg-integrated db, much more rapid than mainframe development. SAP has a vision; rapid development of GUI based applications withs abap4-sap kernel-external(oracle, sql, adabas)db. They have a secure, strict and safe test bed layed out for developers who can build gui's that have a standard SAP look and feel, are scaleable and stable (in contrast to .net, .web or .java based apps under complex and heavy workloads). The higher stability is due to SAP's rigid standards and test procedures, in fact, much the same environment like under IBM of the 80's-90's. Ibm could have had a vision in 1998 as they had in the early s/38 or as400 days, but they hadn't. Now they pay for the consequences.
AngelIntheMorning (not verified)
on Apr 11, 2006
There's no concrete answer. .NET has many languages, C# just being one. Generally apps are written in variety of the languages VB, ASP, C#, C++, etc., add DB into mix, there isn't one simple answer. .NET is just another platform choice for now, no more a major player than others. C# supposedly the "upgrade" to C++ but that's not really the case and as I mentioned before voodoo to many "real" programmers. To me I would say that in the end J2EE/.NET differ in that one is technology agnostic, at least as far as one can be and the other is of course Windows. But that aside, and not really knowing all of the variables in your situation I'd take a wild stab and say you must do a few things: (1) Over analyze your situation and determine best course of action. (2) Consider taking your product and making it 3 tier NOW on the /400. You'll have a database tier, app logic tier and UI tier. The database and logic tiers will run in batch. The application logic programs(classes) will all have access points to our communications server that the outside world (UI programs)connect to. If you make your product 3 tier then the only difference between platform mobility for you would be simply the RPG logic tier which if you design it properly can easily be converted to almost any language without too much headache. Which means your product could run on multiple platforms fairly easily. Of course I would recommend using C/C++(just the app logic part) for the easiest mobility. You could also do the app logic in Java using the new 32 bit JVM and see how that works out. But means v5r4 maybe slow perf etc. I would highly recommend moving to an n-tier architecture for flexibility and to avoid lock in. The same thing holds true for Windows, do all .NET and where else is it going to work? Same thing for Powerbuilder, Sybase has a complete pkg but then it's one vendor lock in. Don't put arbitrary limits/hurdles in your path. It will take 6 months or so but if you can do .NET/C#, then you're capable to convert your app to 3 tier and use C/C++ for the app logic on the /400 or RPG. You can still use RPG it's just you have to consider the mobility part of the equation. I'd be willing to help you with the comm server part but you have to sit down and determine the best course of action. Last word, right now for you everythings an impediment, take 10 steps back, re-structure your thinking, stop looking at just the trees. Take a break, the answers will start to flow in. If I have a difficult problem 9 times out of 10 I wake up with the solution or 10 other solutions. In any event it's sounds very frustrating but I believe you can determine a smooth transition to a better situation in a few months. For example, I think you mentioned that you knew someone that migrated their product using Java and "cashed" in. I'm not sure what all that means but then why not stop beating yourself up, build it all in Java and be done with it. You can "swing", web, go mobile, your choice. I mean just take deep breaths. Very easy to convert to Java from n-tier. Go n-tier on the /400 first and then everything will fall into place, the world could be your oyster. Anyway this is short for the subject but gotta go...
Perry (not verified)
on Apr 2, 2006
As a software company that specializes in As400 it's quite disturbing that IBM is more concerned about system names than moving the box into the world of modern day computing....without any SEU improvements to a GUI interface and keeping horrible products like WEBSPHERE on the forefront of it's internet direction it's clear to me in spite of how great the box is it's time to take the applications off the "AS400" and put in on a .NET platform....RPG is a dead language in spite of how easy it is to use...IBM has done nothing to improve it in years...and what about REAL unicode support.....what a shame....great machine great performance but customers will no longer buy this box no matter what you call it nor do they want applications that are not integrated into PC platform like Outlook......
Joe Pluta (not verified)
on Apr 3, 2006
THis is the sort of thing I mean. How is the iSeries proprietary? It's the most open platform available. If you want proprietary, try Microsoft. Not only is it proprietary, but it requires complete rewrites every generation! It's this sort of misinformation that really needs to be countered. You say you can "embed the cost of the machine", but what cost is that? iSeries hardware is down to the point where it's nearly competitive with similarly configured enterprise Wintel boxes, and that's including a top flight database and the best integrated backup environment available. Sure, you can get a big, beefy Dell box for a few grand, but that's with relatively slow drives and a consumer grade operating system. Try building a decent box with 15K RAID drives and something stable (even Windows Server and something like SQL Server or Oracle) and you're looking at perhaps $10K. If you get a second box for redundancy, you can get a nicely sized iSeries for a comparable price. The Price and Proprietary arguments just don't hold water, and if you can't counter them succesfully you're doing your clients a disservice. Ah well, enough on that. This horse is pretty well beaten. Joe
Perry (not verified)
on Apr 3, 2006
The Name Change is meaningless. It's almost like let's hope the customer is stupid enough to not know that this box is really not an AS400. If I told the customer that they had to get and ISeries the next question is "Oh can I can run your app on any PC Server I have"...or if they don't ask that the next question is "Why does this box cost so much compared to a Dell server? And then the next question is "Can I run Outlook and use EXCEL?...The name change is just a means of concealing the fact that the underling architecture is the "OLD AS400"...and as long as people feel they are not buying NEW TECHNOLOGY they will no buy or develop new APPs even if the price or name was right!!!!
Perry (not verified)
on Apr 11, 2006
Angel, Thanks for your posting. Very knowledgeable ... First I tried expanding my business out of a niche market to a larger playing field...investors would not put a dime in because of perception of AS400....propietary and limited was their thoughts...no convincing would work with THE MONEY MEN...they said if I were on a "relevant" platform they would reconsider...hence the C#..what's more relevant to the outside world? The RPG sucks debate goes nowhere with me. That's all I need. I like the fixed format and there never was anything I could not do with the OLD RPG. In fact one of my plans is to create a RPG/C# fixed format editor(for me to work in)...Believe I am not crazy about C# or .NET but I feel like it's possible to cash out with it.....I saw many of my competitors cash out when switching to a JAVA platform 4 years ago even thought the application sucked. So I figured for once I would try and be relevant. And I thought learning object orientation and C# even if I were not to use it would still be a great experience. As far as third party products...I am not crazy about stuff like ASNA and California software. I need to be in control of the application the way I like it...And their products are just too expensive to integrate. My company does not outsource and the cost of the software has come down over the years as it has matured. The million dollar_ projects are almost impossible to get nowadays...especially when you mention AS400...Yes..It's crazy but REALITY. And as far as making the machine transparent-who is going to absorb the 75K charge(for a small machine and licenses)? I tried creating a portal but people wanted to own their own servers so that ended that. So I am left with the proverbial cat chasing it's tale. I love the AS400...been faithful to it but the lack of committment by IBM worries me and my business has to reinvent itself in a hurry. I had opportunities overseas in China but noone could tell me how to incorporate UNICODE easily and there went that market. It's the lack of information that is killing me. Steven gave me the name of a great CGI book earlier today. I gave it out to all the AS400 people I knew. Most did not even have a clue of the AS400 capabilities...Who is to BLAME..If it was just my ignorance then I could accept it. But I feel IBM is to blame that all the AS400 community hasn't a clue about direction, about the real future of the AS400 and about the real future of their OWN jobs..not to mention how they treated theor business partners years ago...Abandoned them!!!!..Believe me it's a tough situation for companies like mine that DO NOT OUTSOURCE!!!!!A very tough situation......and not a GOOD one....
Perry (not verified)
on Apr 11, 2006
Angel, One question that I may ask you, you seem very knowledgeable You don't think the intergration of database support and query language(LINQ) in the C# native language support as part of release 3 is appealing and that this is what will will separate C# from Java and at least give C# a chance of being real industrial strength platform?..the lack of this internal plumbing has always stopped me from coding in Java....

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