Quickly Produce Progressive Web Apps To Manage Logistics Systems

Progressive web applications provide a way for developers to create universal experiences across mobile and desktop applications alike. They let developers view and utilize the web in a completely new way. A way that increases a product’s marketability while ramping up the speed of logistics systems deployment.

Using a vast array of web APIs, progressive web applications can rapidly accomplish much of what a native application can provide. For example, with technologies such as WebRTC, a progressive web application can be a chat client that connects via a peer-to-peer interface.  It can stream real-time logistics data down to the application, and also enable live video chat. Progressive web apps are web apps created using extra components — a service worker and app manifest. This allows the web app to be installable on desktop and mobile devices, work offline, and access native features of the device it is on. This is a great solution to use for any legacy application modernization project.

What are progressive web apps?

Among other things, progressive web applications are fast. Taking advantage of this, one of their main goals is to reach the next level —  access the billion users worldwide who have limited network connectivity. Obviously, end-users need their applications to be a fast, seamless online experience.  They also expect the most recent content and want to interact with their other applications with as little friction as possible.

The progressive web app centers itself around core principles that enable the web to be more user friendly, performant, and interactive. The web has become a set of powerful standards that provide almost endless possibilities for your web applications. These include everything from interacting with native device features such as the camera, to being installable on desktop and mobile devices.  Because of their versatility, progressive web apps provide a whole host of possibilities.

Even if you are familiar with progressive web apps, however, you may not know that many of the standards that these applications possible are not new. What has changed is that because e of emerging key technologies such as the service worker, PWAs are more poised than ever to create scalable, reliable, and flexible experiences within the browser.

What are the benefits of Progressive Web Apps (PWAs)?

Download a the Progressive Web Apps white paper!

All of this sounds great, but what are the benefits of PWAs for the enterprise logistics environment? That question can be answered readily by Pinterest, Twitter, Nikkei, and a host of other businesses with varying models that have found that providing a progressive web app increases retention and acquisition of new users, while decreasing your data usage. There are plenty of use cases in favor of progressive web apps.

How PWAs can be used for your business practice:

There are a number of ways progressive web apps can help you and your business. here are just a few of the highlights.

  • Crafting new user experiences for employees to access and query the information they need on any platform
  • Creating a web-based ticketing system for support agents, enabling work to be completed on a desktop or mobile environment
  • Utilizing Web NFC to communicate with IoT devices and retrieve information about manufacturing and logistics equipment performance
  • Creating a Content Management System (CMS) to deliver student content that can be available offline, enabling students with limited internet connectivity to view, edit, and complete assignments
  • Enabling E-commerce with the Web Payment API and Paypal integrations
  • Supporting Mobile accident assessment applications with the ability to take photos and videos of an accident, use audio recording to record testimonies, and more.

Download a Progressive Web Apps white paper!

How can Progressive Web Apps Help Manage Logistics Systems?

Visual LANSA makes it easy for companies with logistics systems to build progressive web apps using its drag-and-drop user interface design. In addition to reducing an app’s time to market, with Visual LANSA your developers don’t need to worry about how a new app will interface with the device it is on. Simply put, this means a developer can focus on creating their logistics solutions rather than worrying about device compatibility.

The result is that low-code developers can comparatively quickly create enterprise-level PWAs. Accordingly, for businesses, this means higher ROIs from their low code investments.

Logistics companies that have found success with Visual LANSA include:

  • Eagle replaced their dispatch board with Visual LANSA
  • Federated Group deployed Windows CMS portal
  • Geodis Wilson Australia saved money with Visual LANSA
  • ITT-TDS reduced development budgets with LANSA low-code solutions
  • Nulogx apps are more agile and responsive with LANSA
  • DSI customers reduced spend with virtual supply chain solution
  • Royal Wagenborg manages ship and shore with LANSA
  • Walon boosted workshop productivity with LANSA
  • More case studies!

“With a development team of two and LANSA, we have delivered systems that let our customers run their logistics in a very efficient way” – Port Logistics Group

It’s easy to quickly produce progressive web apps using Visual LANSA V15+, assuming that you already developed a web application on Visual Lansa.

How can I build a PWA with Visual LANSA?

Go to the Web Pages and Click the page you want to enable PWA as a homepage.

Click the “offline support” tab.

On the Bottom left click “Details”. Then click the “None” on the Offline Support Dropdown. Finally, choose “Web App Manifest /Service Worker” on the Top Left Dropdown of the Details Menu.

Caching by the service network allows PWA to work offline and load reliably off the user’s network connection. For instance, a service worker can be programmed to always serve content from the cache first. Then it falls to the network. There is an added benefit to this strategy. If the content is not available in the cache, then the service worker reverts to the network. It then clones the information it is served into the cache for future use.

Once you have set up offline support, click Compile and Execute the app on the Visual LANSA Software. This will automatically open a new tab in the browser. At the URL bar, you’ll see a plus sign. Next, click the plus icon and install it. Voila! You already installed the Web App as a Progressive Web App! Congratulations on your First PWA!

 

Want to take a deeper drive into progressive web apps? Download the whitepaper!

 

 

Developing Stunning Hybrid Low-Code Solutions with Visual LANSA

In order to stay at the top of their game, application developers naturally keep track of emerging trends in the software industry. If you have been paying attention, you have certainly noticed that one of the hottest trending words in the app dev community in 2021 is low-code.

But what is low-code, what does it mean and how can it help you as a developer?  Have you ever wondered if low-code will allow you to develop your apps more quickly? Or better yet, have you ever questioned what impact low-code will have on your own or your client’s businesses? Is it one of your application modernization strategies?

Here are some of the answers you are looking for.

How can Visual LANSA  help me?

LANSA’s hybrid low-code application development platform puts you back in control by accelerating the development and delivery of your enterprise web and mobile applications. In other words you can typically build your apps are typically built 10x faster than you could by using traditional methods. Simply put, LANSA makes you and your team more productive with its unique hybrid low-code language which converts your coders into full-stack developers.

Here’s how low-code and Visual LANSA will enable you to quickly respond to demands from users and executives:

  • Speed app development by up to 10x for new web, mobile, and desktop apps.
  • Complete more projects in less time utilizing your existing staff and without adding headcount.
  • Quickly deliver attractive, modern apps with UI and UX that drives user adoption.
  • Easily integrate with existing systems through LANSA’s powerful hybrid integration platform.
  • Extend the longevity of your apps by being able to port/migrate them across on-premises servers and the cloud. These include Windows, IBM i, Linux, and AWS/Azure.
  • Enforce system-wide standards, controls, and business rules that ensure app quality.

Watch this on-demand webinar with LANSA Product Marketing Manager, Tony Graham. In it, you will learn what low-code is and what its benefits are. You will also understand why you should choose Visual LANSA for your low-code solutions.

Head over to check out more information about the Visual LANSA hybrid low code solution.

Visual LANSA IBM i Industry 4.0

Hybrid Low-Code: Efficiently Implementing Industry 4.0 on the IBM i

The need for optimization and to implement industry 4.0 concepts has never been greater than right now. The year 2020 was quite challenging for manufacturing as businesses had to deal with several issues stemming from the global pandemic. From workforce shortages and supply shortages to a downturn in the economy, 2020 was quite the hurdle. The need to automate, optimize, and become more efficient in all aspects of manufacturing became rather apparent. 

Saying you need to optimize and actually implementing those changes effectively are quite different though. What should be optimized first? What exactly do we need to analyze? Too much data and irrelevant data can be as bad, if not worse, than not enough data. How can manufacturing really be agile? 

Performing internal audits at each point in the manufacturing process is a great way to start —  from bringing in the raw material to how it gets delivered to the shop floor, the efficiency of the production machines, the process of transferring finished goods to the warehouse, billing and receiving, quality control, staffing, training and customer service. Odds are, all these areas can be improved, but focusing on a few that can make the biggest impact first is key.

So how can LANSA help manufacturers become more efficient, more agile, and better optimized? Simple — by enabling IT departments to create applications critical to every aspect of manufacturing quickly and efficiently. 

Experience the power of hybrid low-code first hand for free! Check out our free trial.

Real-Time Data from Your Production Processes

Visual LANSA can create real-time applications that interface with your production machines’ PLCs via SQL or ASCII. This data can be stored on the IBM i, Windows servers, or the cloud. Real-time data at the fingertips of production supervisors or the production workers themselves means adjustments can be made before costly problems occur. Before quality checks and before a catastrophic failure, making adjustments in real-time means valuable production time and resources are not wasted. This data can be displayed on phones, tablets, or even monitors located near the machine where the machine operators can constantly assess them.

Better Warehouse Operations 

Accurate warehouse data is vital to a company’s bottom line. Knowing exactly how much of a product is in stock and the exact warehouse location means less manual checking, better production planning, and a reduction in human error. The ability to quickly create applications that can run on the latest scanners is a major step in ensuring warehouse data is correct and up to date. You don’t need to be limited to an MC9090 and a 5250 emulator. You can also create progressive web applications that run when network connectivity is low or nonexistent, so warehouse data does not need to be kept manually, then added manually later.

Analytical Dashboards for Everyone

Create real-time dashboards for production, sales, and even the CFO to make decisions based on the most accurate data. Visual LANSA installs directly on the IBM i or Windows so you can access your data anywhere with an internet connection. You can even set different dashboards based upon the user login credentials. Combine data from different sources, SaaS platforms, CMMS, EHS, ERP, IBM i, and SQL into one easy-access dashboard as needed.

Streamline, Optimize, and Save 

Running an IBM i doesn’t mean you can’t integrate the heart of your business with your industry 4.0 initiatives. In fact, it is easier than ever to include the IBM i in all your optimization and IT objectives. Visual LANSA can turn any developer into a full stack developer, creating the most intuitive web apps in a matter of weeks. Equip your IT department with the tools to quickly and efficiently complete the apps you need to meet your optimization and automation goals.

Try if free and experience the power of hybrid low-code!

5 Best IBM AS400 Modernization Solutions

Today, organizations use the IBM AS400 systems, now known as IBM iSeries, to run critical business activities. For example, they can manage business processes such as enterprise resource planning, general ledger, client maintenance, pharmacy benefits, blockchain solutions, and inventory management. There have been few temptations to modernize what has worked for years in these vital applications.

However, modernizing these monolithic systems requires a long time to implement. In addition, organizations don’t have enough resources to modernize their legacy systems. Modern technical skills are required for IBM application modernization, which is becoming harder to obtain. Modern developers are unable to maintain columnar legacy code developed for a “green screen”, posing a severe continuity risk to critical procedures. A new IBM AS400 replacement can take  years and requires more IT budget.

We will explore in this article the five best IBM AS400 Modernization solutions offered by LANSA. These solutions help you modernize the legacy IBM i applications.

Are there automation tools to modernize the IBM AS400 applications?

The maintenance of the AS400 legacy systems is becoming more challenging. Today, organizations rely on IBM-powered IT infrastructure. They realize that the legacy IBM AS400 systems must be replaced. So, the demand for IBM  AS400 application modernization talents and services is higher than ever before. The best way is to modernize your IBM i or AS400 applications using some automated tools

If you’re looking to modernize your IBM AS400 applications, you’ve come to the right place! LANSA IBM i modernization solutions not only modernize the existing IBM i applications but also improve productivity.  

Below we have briefly discussed the five best LANSA tools for IBM AS400 application modernization one by one.

1. How can we modernize existing IBM AS400 5250 greens?

LANSA aXes tool transforms existing 5250 screens into web pages without modifying the source code. It builds applications to operate online, 5250 screen-based RPG and COBOL applications in a batch. It also integrates the existing functionalities in modernized applications with.NET, Java, or other 5250 applications. 

The LANSA aXes solution allows you to build new IBM i applications. It enables you to integrate new mobile functionalities into the existing ones, for use on any mobile device, such as smartphones or tablets. Organizations can easily access spooled files and databases via a browser from their computers. 

If you are looking for the best IBM AS400 modernization solution, aXes is a good choice, whatever your organization level.

Download a free trial of aXes in order to create a modern web UI and add new business functionality to the existing IBM AS400 applications.

2. Is there a low-code development platform for IBM i?

Visual LANSA is a low-code development platform. It enables developers to create on-premises and cloud-based web, mobile, desktop, and server applications. Maintain great coding control while achieving low-code productivity. This LANSA solution offers several features for IBM i application modernization, such as an active repository engine, a Visual Development Environment, business-ready performance, data services independence, and flexibility with the cloud.

Visual LANSA makes the modernization process easy for modernizing the IBM AS400 applications. This tool keeps the development process as simple as possible and it also reduces the requirement for technical expertise to complete an application development project.

3. Is here an IBM i business process integration solution?

LANSA Composer is a highly specialized business process integration suite designed to handle a wide range of process improvement and integration challenges.

LANSA Composer offers a cost-effective solution for modernizing the IBM As400 applications with fewer human interventions. It runs on both Windows and IBM i Servers. However, IBM i deployments can leverage the power of aXes functionalities. LANSA Composer activities can use aXes to retrieve and send data to interact with 5250 applications.

LANSA Composer reduces the development time by introducing a set of ready-to-use activities that most organizations require for business process integration. Built-in activities let your network communicate more efficiently. Any executable on the same server, or across several Windows or IBM I servers, can be invoked by processing sequences.

4. Is there an IBM AS400 mobile app builder solution?

LongRange is the first native mobile application builder for the IBM i community that is phasing out now. It allows developers to easily construct native mobile applications for iPhone, iPad, and Android devices that completely interact with their IBM AS400 and data using their current RPG, COBOL, and DDS expertise. LongRange does not require mobile device programming, so developers do not need to learn new languages like Java for Google Android, Objective-C for Apple iOS, or other coding range techniques like HTML, CSS, or JavaScript.

Long-range apps can still take photos, record audio or video, capture signatures, scan barcodes, synchronize documents, use maps and geo-location data, and integrate these features with IBMi (otherwise known as “IBM i”) AS400 data and applications.

5. How can we transform our IBM AS400 apps FAST?

 

Portalize is a fully functional and fully customizable portal framework that comes with pre-build portal functionality. Developers may focus on creating solutions instead of spending time implementing complex features required in today’s application portals.  

Portalize provides several advanced features such as advanced navigation, security, administration, and managing user accounts. Security is a key feature of LANSA for IBM i application modernization. It includes request validation checks to enhance the application’s security, such as IP monitoring, banning, and rigorous security testing features in your applications. Organizations can easily manage user accounts, email notifications, security settings, Google analytics, and session logging.

Portalize also enables you to manage your accounts, such as sign-in, signup, security validation questions, modify your profile, and set preferences.

Ready to revamp your IBM AS400 applications using LANSA IBM i modernization solutions?

LANSA platform incorporates all of today’s top trends in software development and digital transformation, allowing businesses to fully use automation and digital transformation technologies. LANSA provides IBM AS400/IBM i modernization solutions for businesses who need to modernize IBM i applications and enable fast data integration, reliably, and with minimum developer resources.

aXes and Visual LANSA are solutions designed for IBM i users. It’s a custom tool for automating the development of web-enabled IBM AS400 applications. It enables organizations to convert their existing IBM i-5250 apps into web pages without having to change the source code.

Ready to begin? Get in touch with us to start utilizing LANSA IBM i modernization solutions for your app development and business modernization needs.

Application modernization for the IBM i with LANSA.

Why You’re Failing At IBM Application Modernization

It’s been more than 11 years since Paul Conte, a reputable application development strategist, formulated the main lessons of IBM application modernization. Summarizing the knowledge gained during the initial legacy business app modernization boom, he came up with ten reasons why these projects fail

Back then, most problems with IBM application modernization derived from misunderstanding the concept of modernizing legacy business apps or simply approaching this in a careless and rushed manner, lacking qualified talent, tools, and field knowledge. 

What’s the state of IBM application modernization in 2022?

The world is not standing still, the tech world especially, and we can probably say that many things have changed since 2011. Business leaders are much more informed about enterprise IT. IBM application modernization didn’t go anywhere, however, and remains relevant in the 2020s business environment. 

Thousands of organizations around the globe are still in the process of updating the old IBM AS/400 legacy, or fixing and rebuilding the results of previous app modernization attempts. 

Just like in 2011, it’s not that uncommon for companies to go through a series of failures or challenging issues when trying to finally modernize all parts of their IBM i infrastructure. This is largely due to the same underlying reasons as well. 

Why do IBM application modernization projects fail?

But you can’t look at IBM application modernization from the same 2011 point of view today. Following is an updated list of the most common and frequently observed reasons why business app modernization projects fail in 2022.

Failing to encompass all aspects of IBM application modernization 

We can’t deny that significant and undeniable progress has been made since 2011 in terms of modernization-related knowledge in the business environment. The most fundamental problem is the failure to grasp the concept of business application modernization. 

Most organizations today realize that IBM application modernization is much more than simply changing an old green-screen interface to a new one. They know you have to also address legacy RPG code, fix outdated business logic, and redeploy IBM i apps to modern host environments. 

At the same time, we can’t say that the perception of app modernization as a concept among IT leaders and business managers has evolved that much. So, it is typical to have a situation where those executing IBM application modernization on different levels across organizational structures have vastly different levels of understanding. This can create a disconnect.

Crooked legacy code modernization 

Updating legacy RPG programming language code, or refactoring, is one component of IBM application modernization that seems to remain consistently problematic. Many automatic tools that transfer original RPG code into modern object-oriented languages often fail to provide value.

Refactoring is probably the second most common strategy organizations use as part of their application modernization projects nowadays. Refactoring involves changing the original programming code of legacy business applications to restructure and optimize it. It also includes removing parts that are not functional and eliminating technical debt.

Simply translating RPG code into Java or any other modern language is a task that most automated tools can handle. However, this alone hardly ever resolves any of the related issues. In most cases, a code refactoring solution keeps the same structure and volume of code as in the original app.

As a result, the code still keeps most of the legacy-related qualities, even though technically IBM legacy code modernization has been implemented.

Overreliance on re-hosting and re-platforming

It’s quite natural that re-hosting and re-platforming, also known as lift-and-shift scenarios, are among the most widely implemented modernization strategies. This is because they are among the most simple, easy to implement, and risk-free methods.

In re-hosting, organizations simply redeploy all the application components—its code, features, and functions—to other hosting environments without any modifications. Re-hosting typically means shifting the app from legacy on-premise hosting infrastructure to a public cloud or into a container on a new runtime (re-platforming) when it comes to legacy business application modernization strategies.

Re-platforming can be a great initial solution to protect IT infrastructure from performance, data loss, and security risks associated with relying on outdated on-premise hosting platforms. But it also solves only one legacy-related issue. Companies that just implement re-hosting or re-platforming and call it modernization often realize it’s a mistake soon enough.

Challenges establishing version updates and cross-platform deployment 

Another major mistake is generally overlooking all the aspects of IBM application modernization that come after the solution has been implemented. This is why some companies face the most challenging issues when it comes to version updating deployment of new apps.

Since business apps need to support all major platforms – desktops, and mobile – in the modern-day environment, deploying modernized apps to each one of them isn’t always a success. Suppose the support of some platforms turns problematic. In that case, it also means that version updating will be a problem as well.

What is the key to successfully completing IBM application modernization?

Thus, the underlying reasons for the failed IBM application modernization are the same as they were ten years ago. But having over a decade of experience, we are able to see and describe them from a different angle.

The approach to fixing all these and other modernization mistakes is the same as well. However, the tools and solutions by LANSA have evolved quite a bit over the years. They now encompass a selection of advanced solutions designed for fixing IBM application modernization mistakes. All this is an addition to the Visual LANSA platform that utilizes the increasingly popular low-code approach to development.

Visual LANSA

Visual LANSA is a low-code, rapid application development platform for building enterprise-grade mobile, web, and desktop apps. LANSA’s platform has been a key component powering the successful delivery of IBM modernization projects for hundreds of organizations throughout the years. Utilizing Visual LANSA allows organizations of all sizes to use their existing development resources to build new apps. It also aids users to integrate their apps with other parts of their IT systems. 

Visual LANSA enables easy IBM app modernization by simplifying this process as much as possible. It also minimizes the need to have technical skills in order to complete an app development project.

The arsenal of development instruments and features offered by LANSA include several tools that were created for the IBM i platform exclusively. The modernization of IBM i apps and related systems are then accessible to any business. 

RAMP (Rapid Application Modernization Process)

Rapid Application Modernization Process (RAMP) is an incremental modernization approach that implements the best of refacing existing applications and new development. You can consolidate existing functionality with new capabilities inside RAMP’s application framework. With this, you get the applications you want without having to throw everything away. Modernization is performed in stages. New functionality can be introduced incrementally without serious impact on business operations. With this, the user interface becomes consistent across all the applications.

aXes

One of LANSA’s solutions created for IBM i users specifically is aXes, a tailor-made tool designed to automate the creation of web-enabled IBM i applications. It allows organizations to easily transform their existing IBM i 5250 apps into web pages out-of-the-box without changing source code. 

aXes includes an API that allows developers to create programs able to operate applications written with RPG or COBOL automatically. Additionally, applications can use aXes to simulate a person’s actions entering data on screens in an IBM i application.

100% free guide to IBM application modernization 

Want to catch up on IBM application modernization knowledge?

Modernization is an overwhelming process that can either make or break your company. That’s why planning and strategizing for IBM modernization is so important. We combined all the fundamental knowledge about enterprise app modernization in one white paper titled “Application Modernization For Dummies, LANSA Edition.” You can download it for free on this page

Who can fix all your IBM modernization issues?

LANSA’s platform combines all the right trends in modern-day software development and digital transformation. This helps organizations succeed in IBM application modernization. LANSA’s solutions have been used by companies of all sizes and across industries for more than three decades.

Not sure if LANSA’s tools meet all your business requirements? You can get a free Proof of Concept (POC) implemented by LANSA based on your input data. Just fill-up the form on our website

Ready to begin? Get in touch with us to start utilizing Visual LANSA for your app development and modernization needs.

10 Things About IBM i Modernization Tools You May Not Have Known

Today different organizations rely on IBM i software to run their operations. With the rapid increase in IT, legacy or existing IBM i applications require technology modernization. Different IBM i modernization tools are available to revamp the legacy applications or to meet new business challenges. Modernizing applications improve their security and fault tolerance, as well as their compliance with procedures and ever-increasing audits.

Modernizing IBM i applications is a challenging task. Specific IBM i technical skills, such as RPG programming or CASE tools, are becoming harder to obtain. New developers are unable to maintain columnar legacy code developed for a “green screen”. To meet these kinds of challenges, LANSA offers various IBM i application modernization tools that increase the organization’s productivity. 

This article will discuss different features of IBM i modernization tools that help transform your existing application into modernized apps.

What Are The 10 Facts You Should Know About IBM i Modernization Tools?

If you’re planning to modernize your existing IBM i applications, here are 10 facts you should know about your IBM i modernization tools:

  1. Allow to integrate new features with IBM i existing data and modernize applications
  2. Reduces the digital transformation risks
  3. Resist hacking and security threats
  4. Support for hybrid cloud environment migration
  5. Ability to design seamless user experience
  6. Provides flexibility to achieve unique business outcomes or improves productivity
  7. Modernize faster and cost-effective
  8. Increase reliability and robustness 
  9. Allow APIs integration
  10. Increases the scalability

1. Allow to integrate new features with IBM i existing data and modernize applications

The IBM i modernized applications are compatible with the legacy and modernized solutions. So, you don’t need to worry about rebuilding the core applications to move towards digital transformation.

With LANSA’s IBM i modernization tools, you can operate modern, next-generation workloads like artificial intelligence (AI), big data analytics, machine learning (ML), and blockchain on modernized IBM i systems without affecting your existing mission-critical applications.

2. Reduces digital transformation risks

Organizations use the digital transformation process to revamp or modernize their existing IBM i applications by adopting new digital technology.  So, migrating projects is a challenging task that requires a huge budget and risks. In most cases, the new platforms may fail to deliver the functionalities they promise.

When you modernize legacy applications using the IBM i modernization tools, there’s no need to worry about developing solutions at the expense of your business-critical tasks. You may use new technologies to stay competitive without having to rewrite your applications, which can be costly and ineffective.

3. Resist hacking and security threats

One of the significant features of IBM i modernization applications is high security.  LANSA’s IBM i modernization tools include an integrated security layer during the digital transformation process. It keeps your applications and data safe, even when remote access to critical systems is enabled.

4. Support for hybrid cloud environment migration

If your company is migrating to a hybrid cloud environment, LANSA’s IBM i Modernization tools provide what you’ll need to make the transition go smoothly. This gives you the agility of the cloud while keeping the existing IBM i application’s power, reliability, and security.

5. Ability to design seamless user experience

Organizations want to provide intuitive, simple, and painless user experiences to satisfy the expectations of today’s customers and employees.

LANSA’s aXes modernization solution allows you to add new web user interfaces to the existing 5250 IBM i green screen applications to access them through the web browser.

6. Provides flexibility to achieve unique business needs or Improves productivity

Organizations reconstruct the entire workflow or modernize the existing applications using the IBM i modernizations tools. Adopting modern development processes and open-source tools increases productivity and the IT team can easily develop and deploy modernized IBM I applications to meet the unique business requirements.

LANSA’s Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) product is an open-source enterprise resource planning software solution for modernizing or redesigning the IBM i (System i, iSeries, AS/400) applications for different organizations. 

7. Modernize faster and cost-effective

Existing IBM i systems require more effort when it launches new software or hardware updates.  When you need a complex portal but don’t have the time, cost, or resources to build one from scratch, the LANSA Portalize IBM i modernization tool gives you the optimal solution.

8. Increases reliability and robustness

Organizations need to increase the data integrity or processing power of their existing IBM i applications. In this scenario, IBM i modernization tools can customize and modernize your existing applications to securely and reliably manage large quantities of transactions. 

LANSA Rapid Application Modernization Process (RAMP) tool enables IT Teams to provide users with continual enhancements using targeted updates only to new components or enhanced existing components. 

9. Allow APIs integration

Organizations can extend IBM i application’s data and functionality to other applications or external users by adding APIs to existing apps. Furthermore, this strategy can help you upgrade legacy systems, decouple internal systems, improve user and customer experience, and increase ROI.

LANSA IBM i modernizations tool Visual LANSA makes REST API implementation simple and LANSA Integrator moves data between diverse platforms and applications. It manages data transformation, email, communication, messaging, SOAP, and REST web services.

10. Increases the scalability

IBM i modernization tools enable organizations to build scalable applications or portals. It means if you start your business with a small solution, you can easily scale up your business according to the changing business environment.

LANSA’s Portalize allows you to improve the existing IBM i application’s scalability to meet your constantly changing business requirements.

What do LANSA products do?

If you’re looking to further reduce operating costs, the LANSA IBM i modernization tools are available to modernize your IBM i applications. LANSA’s products include Visual LANSA, aXes, Portalize, ERP framework, RAMP, Composer, and Integrator that are compatible with third-party solutions and increase the efficiency and time savings for your workforce. 

The LANSA products offer the following characteristics for application modernization:

  • Boost efficiency with scalability and agility
  • Gain greater insights
  • Improve security and reduce risk
  • Optimize IT costs
  • Innovate faster
  • Create an agile and strategic workforce

Why should you choose LANSA in your application modernization?

LANSA Products helps organizations handle the most significant business tasks while maintaining the integrity of crucial transactions and data. The LANSA IBM i modernization tools come with rich business functionality, an Executive Dashboard, Desktop integration, Ongoing project support, and advanced workflow. 

LANSA application modernization solutions enable different companies to Build more efficient and accelerated business line applications that support cross-platform or flexible deployment and integrations. 

Ready to modernize your IBM i applications with LANSA modernization tools?

LANSA is the solution for businesses that need IBM I modernization and data integration done fast, reliably, and with minimal resources. 

Another LANSA IBM I solution is aXes which automates the implementation of web-enabled IBM I applications. It enables enterprises to quickly transform their legacy Synon/2E-based and green screen of 5250 applications into web pages without changing the source code.

aXes enables organizations to build new applications or add mobile features to existing applications to use on ant smartphones, tablets, and mobile devices.

Portalize, a scalable, flexible, and full-featured IBM I portal framework, is one of LANSA’s technologies designed specifically for IBM I users. Because of Visual LANSA’s flexibility, Portalize is ready to use as soon as you set it up, and it can be readily modified and upgraded as technology and user demands change.

Ready to get started? If you answered yes, contact us to start using Visual LANSA for your application development and IBM i modernization needs.

Common Mistakes Of AS400 Automation

Today, in 2022, automation in its various forms is no longer an exciting new trend in the global business environment. The benefits of automating digital and physical work processes have been well-reported and documented. Managers and corporate decision makers are now much more aware about the needs to modernize legacy and implement automation. 

So by now, the majority of organizations relying on IBM-powered IT infrastructure realize that legacy systems from the IBM AS/400 era should be replaced. Safe to say that the demand for AS400 automation and IBM i application modernization skills and services today is booming today more than ever. 

Why sometimes AS400 automation projects fail 

In this environment, AS400 automation and IBM i app modernization projects are often implemented hastily. Without proper planning, by developers who are not equipped with the appropriate tools and/or skills. 

Needless to say, rushed and poorly executed modernization projects hardly ever produce great business outcomes. The results of failed AS400 automation are not as widely reported, for obvious reasons. But they are nevertheless as real as the advertised benefits of modernizing IBM i legacy. 

Of course, rushing with modernization and poor planning are not valid reasons when it comes to business investments and potential losses. To dig a bit deeper in trying to explain why AS/400 automation projects fail, here are some of the most common mistakes. 

Deadliest mistakes of AS400 automation 

They occur on different levels of business structure and steps of implementation. This isn’t always the case, but making any of these mistakes can easily sabotage the outcome of an AS400 automation project. 

Failure to address the skills shortage problem 

One common mistake is initiating AS400 automation and IBM i application modernization projects without having enough qualified employees to implement them. Legacy systems rely on software from the same era, with code written in outdated programming languages. In the case of AS400 automation and IBM i modernization, the code is written in RPG. Many of those green-screen apps are programmed in language used by Synon, a legacy IBM i rapid app development tool. 

You can’t automate and modernize these legacy components having no or not enough engineers with knowledge and experience in RPG and other IBM i technologies. Nevertheless, it’s not uncommon for organizations to initiate and start implementing such projects without properly addressing this problem. Which can be solved not just by hiring increasingly rare and very expensive RPG programming experts. Today, it makes a lot more sense to modernize legacy RPG code first, replacing it with a modern object oriented language. 

Bad choice of processes to automate 

When it comes to AS400 automation, the choice of specific components and processes to automate also plays a major role. If you are dealing with original or partially updated AS/400 legacy systems, it means that architecture and business logic belong to the 1980s era as well. 

That’s why automating AS/400 legacy rarely produces the desired business outcome without IBM i application modernization. Ideally, IBM i modernization should come first and include up-to-dating the software architecture and logic of modernized apps. 

Inability to properly integrate AS400 automation with internal and external systems 

You could say that the most difficult part of automating a business process is not the automation itself. It’s integrating all these automation components into the existing system. Naturally, it is also the case with AS400 automation

In fact, not being able to properly integrate AS400 automations in business processes is rather common. After an AS400 automation is built, you need to establish the data exchange and process flow execution across multiple IT layers and business systems. The integration of AS400 automations across the internal enterprise network can be challenging due to large diversity of data formats. Connection to external services and platforms is even more difficult to establish. 

Poor choice of tools or no investments in modernization tools 

The choice of platforms, technologies and specific solutions, naturally, is another central element in any AS400 automation or IBM i modernization project. In some cases, this mistake originates closer to the decision-making level. For example, a modernization project gets approved and financed by top management, but legacy modernization tools investments are not part of the budget. 

It’s not uncommon for this mistake also to occur on the IT management level, as a bad choice of tools or development approaches. Which can be a result of limited knowledge of modernization technologies by internal IT staff or them selecting instruments they are most familiar with. 

LANSA’s powerful tools for AS400 automation

Visual LANSA is a low-code, rapid application development platform for building enterprise-grade mobile, web and desktop apps. LANSA’s platform has been a key component powering the successful delivery of AS400 automation projects for hundreds of organizations throughout the years. 

Using LANSA’s high-level language, the same skills can be applied to write client-side code, server-side code, and everything in between. LANSA saves organizations the expense of hiring costly specialized software developers to deliver a modernization project or create a new app. It allows even developers with limited skills and experience to contribute to the app creation process without worrying about the technical aspects.

LANSA incorporates a variety of powerful tools. Including several instruments that were created for the IBM i platform exclusively.

RAMP (Rapid Application Modernization Process)

Rapid Application Modernization Process (RAMP) is an incremental modernization approach that implements the best of refacing existing applications and new development. By consolidating existing functionality with RAMP, you get to have the apps you want without having to throw everything away. Modernization is performed in stages. New functionality can be introduced incrementally without serious impact to business operations. And the user interface becomes consistent across all of the applications.

LANSA Integrator 

LANSA Integrator is a toolset that serves as a strategic middleware for transforming and transporting data across systems and applications. It simplifies exchanging data between applications. Or transferring files and documents from one business to another. 

This set of tools and services was developed by LANSA for IBM i users primarily. It provides the developers with everything required to build powerful data integration solutions. Including data transformation, transport and infrastructure. And simplifies integration design by providing the tools needed to receive, extract, transform and send data. Developers only need to define the data, the transformation rules and choose a data transport. Integrator takes care of the detailed work that ensures the data is delivered in the desired format.

LANSA Composer

LANSA Composer is a specialized business process integration suite, designed to handle the integration and process improvement challenges. 

LANSA Composer is a simple and cost-effective way to implement AS400 automation with less human effort. It reduces development time by including a set of ready-made activities that most companies need for business process integration. You simply assemble business processes. Assembling a process is much faster than writing program code to manage the process.

Let’s fix those mistakes of AS400 automation?

LANSA’s IBM i modernization tools combine all the right trends in modern-day software development and digital transformation. LANSA is the solution to implement IBM i modernization and AS400 automation quickly, reliably, and with limited resources. 

One of LANSA’s solutions created for IBM i users specifically is aXes: one of our IBM i modernization tools. It’s a tailor-made tool designed to automate the creation of web-enabled IBM i applications. It allows organizations to easily transform their existing IBM i 5250 apps into web pages. 

aXes includes an API that allows developers to create programs able to automatically operate applications written with RPG or COBOL. Applications can use aXes to simulate the actions of a person entering data on screens in an IBM i application. This feature makes it possible to integrate existing 5250 apps with .NET, Java and other platforms. 

Thinking about investing in LANSA’s low-code solutions, but need to ensure they meet all your business requirements? You can get a free Proof of Concept (POC) implemented by LANSA based on your input data. Just fill up the form on our website

Ready to begin? Get in touch with us to start utilizing Visual LANSA for your app development and modernization needs.


AS400 Application Modernization: Guide

Organizations are looking for IBM i modernization or to modernize their legacy IT infrastructure, particularly their IBM AS400 application servers, also known as ‘IBMi’ or ‘IBM iSeries’ systems. These IBM systems allow different companies to run mission-critical legacy business applications that are expensive to operate and difficult to maintain. 

For IBM i modernization, organizations need to adopt emerging modernization approaches and functional design patterns to achieve the maximum scalability, agility, security, and cost reduction benefits. This will also be useful to any IT decision-maker at a company looking to upgrade or modernize their existing AS400 systems.

This guide will give you information about the IBM i/AS400 system modernization. Moreover, we will also discuss different strategies you can use to modernize the hardware/software of an AS400 system.

Existing IBM AS400/IBM i application systems

The IBM i/AS400 application servers have proven robustness, scalability, reliability, security, and low cost of ownership compared to MIPS in IBM Mainframe (also known as ‘IBM z’). The adoption of newer technologies requires a larger set of challenging requirements for AS400 application modernization to maximize the IBM i system’s performance.

What replaced AS400 application systems?

The hardware and the software of AS400 have experienced multiple updates and revisions in name changes. Now, it is replaced with IBM i or IBM System i. While many people still refer to the system as an AS/400 or an iSeries IBM server, it is a Power System that runs an updated operating system known as IBM i or IBM System i.

A brief history of As400 / IBM i systems

What is the AS400?

Beginning in 1988, IBM began manufacturing and distributing the AS/400 (Application System/400) line of computers with its own OS/400 operating system and embedded database. They were created by IBM for small and mid-sized organizations due to their scalability, robustness, reliability, security, and low-cost features. 

Why is AS400 still used and does it need to be modernized?

Many businesses still use AS400 used for mission-critical systems specific to fields that depend on reliability and stability. It powers vital applications in places like hospitals, banks, and government agencies. Instead of running common applications like employee-based tasks or office functions, AS/400 servers host core applications and ERP systems, that are the backbone of many organizations.

Is AS400 outdated? or Is AS400 in demand?

The AS/400 is often regarded as obsolete, but in reality, it is far from it. The fact that it was introduced to the market in 1988 and has undergone multiple re-brandings hasn’t helped promote the impression that it is a current platform. Despite this, it is still an essential element of many of the world’s top companies’ computer architecture. It has continued to evolve and incorporates demanded technologies nowadays like Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, with new powerful CPUs and software enhancements.

Can AS400 move to the cloud through application modernization?

Yes, you can move AS400 applications to the cloud by using the three different methodology patterns such as Re-Hosting, Re-Engineering, and Re-Architect, etc., to modernize the IBMi/AS400 applications to increase scalability, agility, and performance in the cloud.

Is AS400 user-friendly? Can it be after modernization?

Original 5250 applications are not particularly user-friendly by modern-day standards. Although efficient to many, it features a command line-like user interface (also known as a green screen) that is not particularly appealing to newer generations. Also, they require two types of experts: those who can program it and those who can operate it. Application modernization can help soothe those pains and inject new life into the applications by leveraging the investments of many years and adopting new use cases that exploit web and mobile technologies.

Is AS400 a legacy system ripe for modernization?

The AS/400 or IBM i is not a legacy system, but considering that many of the applications hosted on these systems were created 20 or perhaps 30 years ago, they are likely to benefit from the application modernization tools and techniques available. The assessment of your application strategy versus the current state-of-the-art is a crucial exercise for IT managers nowadays.

What programming language does AS400 use?

RPG is the most extensively used programming language for IBM’s AS/400 series, and it has a long history of functions and capabilities. The COBOL and C/C++ were also used in AS/400 application systems.

What is application modernization?

The practice of upgrading existing software for newer computing methodologies, such as newer languages, frameworks, and infrastructure platforms to modernize IBM i/AS400 applications.

What key challenges arise for AS400 Application Modernization?

Every organization that uses AS400 systems wants to make use of the massive amount of valuable data that is stored within. Unfortunately, limitations such as the code-based monolithic architecture, 5250-based ‘Green Screens’, tightly coupled Business Logic, and the high cost of Server/OS upgrades make the operation of legacy AS/400 application modernization challenges. 

IBM i/AS 400 system modernization can be a complex task and requires diverse methodologies depending on the company’s requirements, risk profiles, and workload. The most common reasons we discussed in this article that can delay the AS400 application modernization projects are:

  • Lack of a comprehensive business plan to handle future company requirements.
  • Limited display view of the existing AS400 application landscape
  • Unaware or ignoring the potential risk that may be involved
  • Insufficient or lack of funding for long-term modernization business plans
  • Lack of knowledge of real-time monitoring and analytics 

LANSA’s IBM i modernization toolset provides a more efficient method to modernize your AS400/IBM i applications.

How do you apply AS400 application modernization?

Organizations can use the different modernization strategies to modernize the AS400 systems:

  • Re-Hosting (lift-and-shift)
  • Renew existing Application
  • Re-Platform/Re-Engineering
  • Re-Architecturing/Re-Factoring

To complete the AS400 application modernization task successfully, organizations must have a clearly defined set of rules with a dedicated plan, modernization strategy, and detailed knowledge about future architecture. 

Different approaches to modernize the existing AS400/IBM i applications

Re-Host (Lift and shift)

In the re-hosting methodology pattern, organizations migrate the AS400 legacy systems to the new cloud platform to reduce costs and scale up business use cases. 

In this approach, existing AS400 applications can be executed on a cloud-based platform to modernize the AS400 systems. 

Using an AS400 emulator that consists of a set of the compiler, OS (Operating System) services, and packages that allow application programs (RPG and COBOL for AS400 and database) to migrate with source code. These programs are recompiled and executed on the AWS platform, including the complete database (DB2/400) replication.

Third-party tools used by application components, such as message queues, backups, Reporting, schedulers, printing, and tape management, are also migrated to the cloud.

Re-new/Re-facing existing Application

In this methodology pattern, organizations prefer to adopt DevOps and upgrade the existing version of the Programming Language, Database, and User Interface. For UI modernizations, the 5250 screens are converted into a web interface without changes to existing application support. Organizations can upgrade the application’s RPG, and DB2 modules into modernized modular and decoupled components to modernize the existing AS400 applications.

Using a web portal and some User Interface adaptation, convert green screens DDS files to High Rich Display files. Using LANSA’s aXes, the AS400/IBM i 5250 screen panel can be converted into a modern web user interface. It transforms the existing 5250 screens into web pages out-of-the-box, without changing the source code. 

Re-Platform/Re-Engineer-Migrate Batch Jobs

Batch jobs often form a large portion of the As400 application portfolio (such as ETL data processing, EDI file processing, and ad-hoc report generation), and while some are business-critical, usually a significant number of these jobs are of low business value due to their high cost and low agility. 

Using any candidate solution, whether they are file-based or near real-time processes, to modernize the existing As400 application, physical files or real-time data streams are sent to the AWS cloud, respectively. It enables the customers to gain additional data insights in the form of reports.

Re-Architecture/Re-Factor

When an existing IBM i/AS400 application is no longer able to fulfill future business requirements or an agile target architecture, the reengineering or refactoring approach is used for AS400 application modernization. This methodology pattern will lead to a new application with similar performance and approximately equal or improved functionality. 

Typically, the AS400 application is modernized using cloud-native techniques, such as microservices, docker containers, decoupling, data analytics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning services.

With Visual LANSA and RAMP’s ability to combine the old with the new addresses both your immediate tactical issues for green screen to GUI modernization as well as your long-term redevelopment and replacement strategies for 5250 modernization.

Want to learn more about application modernization techniques?

Download Application Modernization for Dummies, LANSA Edition eBook. Application modernization is not only about putting a pretty face to a 5250 screen.  Application modernization also includes the transfer of legacy applications or platforms to modern applications or platforms, as well as the integration of new functionality to give the company the most up-to-date features.

Ready to get started modernizing your IBM i applications?

We explored different approaches such as Rehosting, Re-engineering, Re-architecture, and Re-new for AS400 application modernization. These methods enable different organizations to increase their business agility and performance and reduce cost and manual dependencies that enable their IT to drive business growth. If you want to modernize your IBMi/AS400 applications, you can contact us. Thanks!

 

LANSA Open for .NET – now supporting .NET 6

LANSA Open for .NET enables .NET developers with capabilities to incorporate IBM i (AS/400, iSeries, System i) services in Windows rich-client and Web applications, allowing them to view the IBM i data and programs as resources within Visual Studio.

Now, we are pleased to announce that LANSA continues to improve LANSA Open for .NET – now featuring the newly added .NET 6 support. This new capability enables IBM i modernization and integration with applications built with .NET 6.

LANSA Open for .NET – now supporting .NET 6

Building on the solid foundation and success of accessing your IBM i applications for .NET, LANSA Open for .NET new release extends support to include .NET 6. .NET 6 incorporates new features and performance enhancements, and with the benefit of Long Term Support (LTS) of three years to support longer sales cycles.

In addition, the LANSA Component Model Designer Visual Studio plugin has been updated to work in Visual Studio 2017, 2019 & 2022. Also, DotNet monitor and OpenTelemetry, LANSA Open for .NET provide better Cloud diagnostics, and WebAssembly support is more capable and efficient.

With the launch of this product, LANSA confirms its long-term commitment to updating its products to introduce the latest and greatest technologies to the legendary reliability, security, and performance of the IBM i architecture.

About LANSA Open for .NET

LANSA Open for .NET is a Visual Studio plugin that provides Windows developers direct access to IBM i (AS/400, iSeries, System i) resources within their .NET applications at full speed and without leaving Visual Studio.

Have a project that requires integrating IBM i applications with .NET applications? Please reach out to LANSA if you’re interested in sharing your plans.

 

The Evolution of Analytics And Reporting Tools

As the digital transformation continues to unfold, the generational shift has already occurred or is currently ongoing in virtually all fields of technological and software industries. Even though there is certainly no shortage of issues and challenges arising in the process, software development gradually gets more and more functional, accessible and agile. 

Analytics and reporting tools, that always were an important component of software development technology stacks, are undergoing a generational shift as well. Complex solutions that required users to write code and have a considerable technical knowledge to use them, are now a part of software legacy that is being replaced by the new generation of products. 

What is the role of data analytics and reporting tools?

Analytics and reporting tools are used to process raw data, summarize and organize it, displaying information in a visually attractive, easily digestible manner.

Today, the importance of data analytics and reporting is widely emphasized and well-communicated in the business environment. Of course, the benefits of collecting, analyzing and displaying various kinds of data have always been reasonably clear. But the actual level of technological development provided organizations with very limited capabilities to really unlock the potential of data.

Software analytics and reporting solutions emerged as part of the very first components of enterprise IT infrastructure, and are going up the evolutionary road along with the rest of technologies. Like original IBM i business applications and other tools that were designed and implemented decades ago, old software analytics solutions today can’t match the requirements of the new digitization era. And just like legacy IBM i apps, without full-scale modernization, analytics and reporting tools restrict organizations’ ability to get maximum value from their data.

How to know when your analytics and reporting tools need modernization?

The following are several fairly straightforward signs of using legacy analytics and reporting tools. They are easy to identify by problems and challenges that commonly arise in the process.  

Limited functionality

Old analytics and reporting products typically have only the most basic features and capabilities. They don’t support the latest technologies, which are essential for such products in the modern business environment. 

Outdated and unattractive visuals

As any legacy software, outdated analytics and reporting tools look old, with interfaces and visuals elements that were top-notch a few decades ago and distinctively unattractive today. 

Hard to use

Excessive complexity and high technicality are also typical for software analytics designed when software only had to provide functionality, without needing to support it with proper accessibility and user-friendliness. 

Costly to build and maintain

You can also distinguish legacy solutions by looking at them from the financial point of view, as they tend to require significant expenses for the development and maintenance. In order to function and deliver value, organizations typically needed to build them in-house, allocating considerable internal resources for the support of such a product over the years. 

In a nutshell, problems and challenges caused by analytical and reporting tools that belong to previous generations of technological development are very similar to the issues with legacy business apps. And they also require modernization with pressing urgency in today’s dynamic business environment. 

The good news is that a new cycle of technological evolution has brought us a fresh new generation of products to replace the legacy. 

The new generation of analytics and reporting tools 

No surprises here: the evolution of analytical and reporting tools is going in the same direction as the industry as a whole. They are getting much easier to set up and use, strive for seamless integration, and rely on low-code and no-code technologies to be accessible to non-technical people. 

Yellowfin is the solution that encapsulates all the accomplishments the new cycle of evolution in analytics technologies has to offer. Yellowfin is a web-based business intelligence platform that deploys on-premises and in the cloud via the Amazon and Azure marketplaces

Here are some features and technical capabilities that make Yellowfin just the right choice for analytics and reporting tools modernization. 

Automated monitoring

Yellowfin allows users to implement automated real-time monitoring with threshold-based alerts or fully automated AI-driven signals. 

Action based dashboards

The platform provides embedded operational workflows using a no-code/low-code development environment, enabling users to create impactful dashboards and data visualizations.

Self-service business intelligence options

Yellowfin provides self-service BI options to accelerate discovery and allow anyone to create reports in a governed way. 

Data stories and management reports

This tool helps organizations to reduce the amount of time it takes to tell insightful data stories with rich data visualizations, and build professional data-driven management reports and presentations fast and with little effort. 

application modernization for dummies

How do I modernize legacy Db2-based data management with LANSA and Yellowfin?

As you may or may not know, LANSA is one of the oldest and most experienced IBM i support providers (since 1987), offering a low-code application development platform and a large selection of tools for IBM i legacy application modernization. 

Knowing about all the aspects of IBM i modernization projects first-hand, we are well-aware that modernizing legacy analytics and reporting solutions used in IBM i systems can be a long and highly problematic process. 

And, in our opinion, Yellowfin is the just the right solution for organizations that are struggling to modernize legacy Db2-based data management with modern and powerful technology. 

Supporting both REST and SOAP-based communications, Yellowfin can be easily added to the Visual LANSA platform, augmenting its already unmatchable arsenal of legacy modernization solutions with next-gen analytics and reporting. 

Visual LANSA 

Visual LANSA, a powerful low-code development platform. Visual LANSA enables accelerated application development by simplifying processes and minimizing the technical skills needed to develop apps. Using Visual LANSA allows organizations to build and deploy new PWAs rapidly and with minimum resources. In fact, it often takes only a few days from a project’s start to the successful deployment of a PWA. 

Using the Visual LANSA platform delivers proven and well-documented results. In some cases, it increases development productivity by 10X or more. This is because Visual LANSA allows organizations to turn any programmer into a full-stack developer. More importantly, developers don’t have to master and support a dozen different languages and server technologies. With LANSA, they use the same language and IDE for all parts of an application—client-side, server-side, and everything in between. This increases the speed and cost-efficiency of the development process. 

The LANSA platform makes using REST APIs and integrating them into new apps as easy as possible. Here is a sample code as an example.

Executing the Google Geocode REST API from within Visual LANSA:

Define_Com Class(#XPRIM_HttpRequest) Name(#Req)

Define_Com Class(#XPRIM_RandomAccessJsonReader) Name(#Reader)

#Req.DoGet Url(‘https://maps.googleapis.com/maps/api/geocode/json?…’)

* Check if request is successful

If (#Req.Response.IsSuccessHttpStatusCode)

    * Set the JSON reader source for response from the HTTP request

    #Reader.SetSourceHttpResponse HttpResponse(#Req.Response)

    * Navigate to the ‘location’ object (containing the ‘lat’ and ‘lng’ values)

    * We’ll specify a navigation path to navigate to the ‘location’ element

    * Names and indexes in a path are separated by forward slashes

    #Reader.BeginObjectWithPath Path(‘results/1/geometry/location’)

    * Get the latitude and longitude value

    #Latitude := #Reader.ReadNumberWithName(‘lat’)

    #Longitude := #Reader.ReadNumberWithName(‘lng’)

    * Close “BeginObject” with “EndObject”

    #Reader.EndObject

Endif

To make this task even less challenging for organizations and teams, read the detailed and extensive documentation covering all the aspects of this process available for all Visual LANSA users. 

No need to postpone modernization of IBM i analytics and reporting tools any further 

Want to test how the new generation of analytics and reporting tools feels like first-hand? Yellowfin provides users with a free trial. Submit your details on this page to get the free access to Yellowfin.

Interested to learn more about LANSA’s solutions for quick and affordable IBM i legacy apps modernization? Get in touch with us to start utilizing Visual LANSA in combination with Yellowfin for your app development and modernization needs. 

 

An Introduction To Application Modernization Automation Services

Running its 6th IBM i marketplace survey, HelpSystems, asked their respondents (500 IBM i users), “what are their top IT initiatives for the coming year?”. According to the results, leveraging application modernization services ranked third. This means that the need to modernize is not going away as companies look to thrive in a constantly evolving environment.  

When it comes to data exchange and integration, ensuring security and compliance while making processes efficient can be challenging, especially for companies who rely on the IBM i to run core mission-critical business operations. Note that this is not an attempt to dent the quality of the IBM i. On the contrary, it is a testament to its robustness, reliability, integrated database, and much more, that many businesses still rely on this platform today. Particularly those running data-heavy applications. However, it is an indication that you must modernize to remain competitive in your respective market. 

One of the challenges faced by these companies is “human error.” Unfortunately, many businesses still use pc based tools for data exchange. However, these often involve manual processes and are, therefore, prone to natural human errors. For example, your users may send a wrong file, send one at the wrong time, or be unavailable to ship data when needed. Data exchange and integration often involve business-critical financial data, and any delay or mishap could prove costly. Fortunately, there are application modernization services that solve these challenges. This article introduces such services. Before we dive into the nitty-gritty, let’s define application modernization services.

What are Application Modernization Services?

Application modernization services are services that address the challenges associated with legacy applications. These challenges can include difficulty integrating, modern usage limitations, lack of developer resources, high maintenance and operation costs, etc. For a successful modernization project, you need services that minimize risks and leverage existing resources. One of such services is aXes-Robot. 

What is the aXes-Robot application modernization service?

aXes-Robot is an application programming interface (API) that developers can leverage to create applications that automate 5250 IBM i applications. Using aXes-Robot, you can simulate data-entry actions on any 5250 screen. This functionality facilitates data exchange and integration between existing IBM i applications and other new applications (for example, .NET, Java, etc.)

This application modernization service provides a wide range of programming options with three APIs; 

  • .NET APIs for Windows
  • JAVA API for IBM i and Windows
  • RPG API for IBM i  

Both .NET and Java versions are written in managed code, and the RPG version is wrapped in aXes-Robot Java API. However, none requires ActiveX controls. 

aXes-Robot has no user interface, but you can quickly leverage it to create the application that manages the user interface and interact with your existing IBM i applications. Additionally, .NET, Java, and/or RPG skills are required to use this solution. 

How Can You Automate Data Exchange and Integration Using The aXes-Robot Service?

Here are a few ways you can take advantage of aXes-Robot to achieve your integration goals.

Automate data entry

aXes-Robot enables the automation of data entry in IBM i applications. You can leverage aXes-Robot with an application (RPG, Java, .NET) to execute any data entry tasks. The RPG application takes the data from the data source and uses the aXes-Robot API to complete the data entry. You can see the complete data entry workflow on your applications’ screens as aXes-Robot simulates the process.

Retrieve data from IBM i applications using web services

You can use web services to extract data from IBM i applications, reformat the data, and make it accessible to new applications. Combining your web services with aXes-Robot, you can simulate a request and retrieve the corresponding data. For example, a Java web service would require the aXes-Robot Java API to execute this task. 

Use IBM i applications from your ASP .NET website.

You can use aXes-Robot directly from your ASP .NET site and interact with a 5250 application to get and update data. For example, developers can write C# code for forms that collect user data from an ASP.NET website. Users interact with the website using forms, and the C# code behind the site uses the aXes-Robot API to get, insert and update information.

Application Modernization Services

Why use aXes-Robot as your application modernization service?

aXes-Robot facilitates the automation of seamless data movement in and out of IBM i applications without impacting the application. This means that you can easily integrate modern solutions with IBM i applications even without the source code. Here are more reasons you should consider aXes-Robot;

Reduce risks and costs using aXes-Robot

Putting data to use is critical to the growth of any organization. However, many companies delegate these tasks to data operators. Therefore, making the process prone to human errors. Not to mention how expensive it can get. Also, in a bid to reduce costs, others opt for customer and suppliers’ data entry through the use of forms on websites and electronic data exchanges, respectively. Yet, these measures are only effective if data entry processes are automated. 

Integrate existing IBM i applications with modern solutions

One major challenge IBM i users face is incorporating modern solutions. Although the IBM i is reliable and robust, with integrated databases, it is monolithic. This makes it difficult for users to integrate new technologies. However, aXes-Robot provides an integration interface that allows you to easily retrieve data from IBM i applications and make them accessible to new solutions. What’s more, aXes-Robot does not need the source code.

Ready to Leverage the Right Application Modernization Services for Data exchange and Integration?

The right “application modernization services” minimizes risks and leverages existing resources. Offering a wide range of programming in three APIS, aXes-Robot lets you leverage your existing developer resources. Also, by eliminating human intervention, aXes-Robot reduces risks. 

Here are other interesting aXes-Roboti features;

  • .NET API for Windows for use by .NET developers
  • Java API for IBM i and Windows for use by Java developers
  • RPG API for IBM i for use by RPG and COBOL developers
  • .NET API written in managed code and does not require the use of ActiveX controls
  • Registration for screenshots
  • Logging for exceptions, communications with the aXes server, and its messages

Ready to automate your business processes? You can download and try aXes-robot for free. To ensure that this solution meets your business requirement, you can easily request a free proof of concept (POC). For more information about our application modernization services, contact us.  

3 Steps To Developing Successful Synon Application Modernization Strategies

You don’t hear about CA 2E (also known as Synon) technology very often these days. It was once, however, by far the most popular third-party application development solution for IBM i. In fact, the Synon company was a pioneer in rapid application development. Fast forward, and now people only talk about it in terms of application modernization strategies.

Synon/2E, released in 1987, remained one of the most popular solutions used to develop apps for the IBM i platform — originally launched as AS/400 — for years. Many long-time IBM i users tend to think of Synon/2E with great affection. In the early days of IBM i, Synon/2E allowed organizations to rapidly create custom applications and systems that were considered cutting-edge business technology. Synon apps powered some of the most critical business operations. The majority of them have proven extremely effective and reliable over the years. So much so, in fact, that many organizations continue to rely on CA 2E apps to this day. 

No matter how functional Synon applications may be, however, you can’t ignore that CA 2E is already 35 years old. The majority of Synon apps were developed decades ago. They can only be described as legacy, They have features that often make them obsolete and problematic in the modern-day business environment. This, of course, is not news for the majority of organizations that are using Synon apps as part of their IT infrastructure today. As a result, many are actively looking for Synon application modernization strategies and the tools to implement them. 

What are the key elements of the best Synon application modernization strategies?

There are certain things you should not forget when you discuss the modernization of outdated CA 2E applications. Firstly, most of them provide organizations with great business value. Second, in most cases, they are deeply rooted in the existing internal IT infrastructure. As a result, it is not uncommon for companies to face significant challenges when they develop their Synon application modernization strategies.

LANSA has been providing IBM i support services since 1987. Based on our more than extensive experience with transforming legacy IBM i app solutions, three areas are key to truly effective Synon modernization strategies. 

Preserve existing CA 2E and IBM i investments 

Modernizing Synon applications and other legacy solutions while preserving your investment in IBM i infrastructure is a very tricky thing to do. The most radical approach is to migrate away from IBM i entirely.  With this approach, you find a new platform rather than modernizing your outdated solutions. Organizations that decide to migrate completely off IBM i often end up regretting this decision. 

There are multiple reasons why, for the majority of companies, modernizing your IBM i software is a better idea than migrating to another platform. First of all, IBM i remains relevant today. It retains its main strengths — an unmatched level of security, superb performance, and reliability. Migration away from IBM i would not only take these away, it also would nullify the years of investment in your IBM i infrastructure. 

In addition to the platform investment, Synon legacy apps themselves have a lot of value to preserve. This includes the wealth of data related to business processes you have accumulated over the years. Also consider the business rules and logic incorporated in these tools, a result of years of deep understanding of operations and the specific needs of your company.

Eliminate issues with legacy CA 2E code and IBM i talent shortage 

There is another major cornerstone of success in Synon application modernization strategies. That is focusing on fixing the problems related to reliance on legacy programming languages like CA 2E apps and IBM i. 

Original CA 2E apps, created in Synon use a specialized language to define an application’s data model and business rules. It is challenging to modernize this legacy code, replace it with a modern programming language, or even RPG. One of the ways to address this is to use a third-party tool able to convert your CA 2E code. Quite often, however, these solutions end up producing very low-quality code that needs manual modification. 

In addition to Synon-specific legacy code issues, there is a more general IBM i skills shortage problem. It’s well-known that the talent pool of IBM i developers is shrinking rapidly as senior RPG programmers retire. At the same time, new coders understandably choose to focus on learning modern programming languages. 

Solving both these issues with a smart choice of tools and software development approaches is a part of a successful Synon application modernization strategy. 

Enhancing old Synon app design and business logic to make them more agile

To enhance old Synon app design and make systems more agile there is a third key component. This is to enhance and modernize CA 2E apps as opposed to just creating new versions with the business logic. Modernizing Synon apps is not just changing their code. It is also about making sure they have both modern design and modern business logic. 

Making the new apps easy to integrate with software tools and solutions that are part of enterprise IT infrastructure is also crucial. That is why your Synon application modernization strategies should focus on making your new apps as agile as possible. 

How to comply with all 3 key components of Synon app modernization strategies? 

If complying with all three of these requirements seems difficult to achieve, it’s because it is. For many, choosing the right tools isn’t a component of their application modernization strategy. But, in many cases, it is even more important. Simply put, the solutions you choose for your Synon modernization strategy will make or break your modernization initiative. 

Visual LANSA 

Visual LANSA is a comprehensive low-code rapid application development platform. It allows companies to build enterprise-grade mobile, web, and desktop apps. LANSA has been working with the IBM i platform since its release at the end of the 1980s. Its extensive knowledge of IBM i ecosystems shows in all its products. The Visual LANSA platform provides several exclusive solutions for IBM i developers. These include tools that enable the easy creation of IBM i web apps. 

Visual LANSA empowers your current RPG developers. It provides them with a set of tools for creating universal enterprise solutions without learning new programming languages or coding techniques. It also supports the modernization of legacy IBM i apps and migrating them to the cloud.

LANSA uses your existing systems and developer skills, so it doesn’t require costly investments into IT infrastructure updates to transform Synon legacy apps. LANSA also has multiple tools to enable the digital transformation of your IBM i systems at little to no cost.  It has been helping enterprise technical teams modernize and expand the functionality of the IBM i since its initial release.

RAMP (Rapid Application Modernization Process)

Rapid Application Modernization Process (RAMP) is an incremental modernization approach that combines the best aspects of refacing existing applications and new development. By consolidating existing functionality with new capabilities inside the RAMP application framework, you get the applications you want without having to throw everything away. RAMP performs modernization in stages. You can introduce new functionality incrementally without a serious impact on your business operations. As a result, your user interface becomes consistent across all of your applications.

Looking for more information on AS400 Application Modernization? Check out our guide.

How Eagle Systems modernized its core Synon 2E-based logistics system with LANSA 

Here’s a case study showing how proper Synon application modernization strategies can deliver great business results when combined with the LANSA arsenal of low-code tools and rapid app development solutions. 

Eagle Systems, a leader in intermodal transportation with locations throughout the USA and Canada, chose the Visual LANSA Framework to build a dispatch system called eDray. eDray integrates with its core Synon 2E-based logistics system. Eagle Systems uses LANSA Integrator to exchange dispatch information via SMS with drivers and send real-time EDI status updates to customers.

You can download a full version of this case study here

Bulletproof your Synon application modernization strategies with LANSA and aXes 

The LANSA platform combines best practices in modern-day software development and digital transformation. It helps organizations leverage the power of automation and digital transformation technologies. LANSA is the solution for organizations that need to implement IBM i modernization and data integration quickly, reliably, and with limited developer resources. 

One LANSA solution created specifically for IBM i users is aXes.  aXes is a tailor-made tool that automates the creation of web-enabled IBM i applications. Out-of-the-box, aXes allows organizations to easily transform their existing Synon/2E-based applications into web pages, without changing source code. 

aXes includes an API that allows developers to create programs that automatically operate applications written with RPG or COBOL. Applications can also use aXes to simulate the actions of a person entering data on screens in a Synon application. This feature makes it possible to integrate existing Synon apps with .NET, Java, or 5250 applications without changing their source code. aXes caters to a wide range of automation options with versions of the API for .NET for Windows, Java for IBM i and Windows, and RPG for IBM i.

Get first-hand LANSA knowledge on legacy app modernization 

Modernization is an overwhelming process that can either make or break a company. That’s why planning and strategizing for IBM i modernization is so important. We combined all the fundamental knowledge about the enterprise application modernization process in a whitepaper titled “Application Modernization For Dummies, LANSA Edition.” You can download it for free on this page

Ready to begin? Get in touch with us to start using Visual LANSA for your app development and modernization.

11 Things About IBMi You May Not Have Known

Many of the world’s top 500 companies have relied on IBM i, correctly known as “IBM i,” for decades. They acknowledge its reliability, robustness, and security, alongside the many other perks associated with running on the IBMi platform. Others see the IBM i as legacy 5250 green screen systems that are limited to RPG, COBOL, and DB2. In reality, however, many popular opinions about this computing platform are simply myths. 

This article takes you off the beaten track to some lesser-known truths about IBMi—from life before the IBMi to its “un limitations” today. 

So without further ado, let’s dive in.

1. What is IBMi used for?

Most people associate IBMi (also known as “IBM i”) with RPG and COBOL applications. That said, you can do just about anything with it that you can do on any other platform. Because of its flexibility and stability, organizations often choose it for ERP and other mission-critical tasks. This is especially true for industries with heavy-data processing requirements, like manufacturing.

 IBMi has also evolved into an increasingly popular cloud solution due to IBM cloud and other IBMi modernization solutions. Some solutions for IBM i are also low-code platforms.

Ultimately you can host anything on the IBMi. Your deployment method, however, depends on your use cases. For example, a manufacturing firm could use hybrid cloud solutions to gain extreme latency. On the other hand, a retailer might benefit from the scalability of a mobile and web-based application. 

2. What is as400 called now?

In 1988, IBM launched the as/400, an easy-to-use computer series, with the os/400 as its operating system. Since then, IBM has released other modifications and versions of this combination. The first was to iSeries in 2000, then to IBM system i with i5/OS operating system in 2006, and lastly, to IBM power systems and the IBMi (IBM i) in 2008. 

3. What came before as400?

Before the as/400, in 1978, IBM introduced the System/38, a mid-range computer for general business use, with the CPF operating system. In 1983, in a bid to create a more inclusive environment for small businesses, they released the System/36 before launching as/400 in 1988. 

4. What is IBMi training?

IBMi training offers much-needed insights into the maintenance and administration of the IBM iSeries. This can include command-line utilities, work management, device maintenance, IBMi security, data recovery, etc.

5. How much does an IBM iSeries cost?

The costs of an IBM iSeries depend on your hardware and software options. For the P05 Power S814 machine, the price of a base license ranges from $7,985 to $11,985, depending on the number of users. 

6. Is AS400 the same as iSeries?

Over the years, IBM has changed the name of its computing platform as a brand initiative. From as/400 to iSeries to System i. Although there have been some modifications with each name change, they all have their basis in the same as/400 and are often used interchangeably. 

7. Why is AS400 still used?

Although as/400 systems are often criticized as legacy and outdated, many enterprises today run their mission-critical business operations on the IBMi (or IBM i). This is because most criticisms are far-fetched, and the reward of keeping the platform far outweighs the risk. Some of these rewards include;

  • Being able to continuously leverage the many perks associated with the IBMi —reliability, security, integrated database, scalability, fast transaction speed, ability to handle data-heavy applications, etc.
  • Avoiding the risk involved with the capital intensive re-platforming 

8. What OS runs on iSeries?

The iSeries operating system has seen many changes over the years —from os/400 of as/400 to i5/OS of iSeries, and then to System i in 2008. Also, IBM integrated its System i and System p into IBM Power, which now supports IBMi, Linux, and AIX.

9. Is AS400 the same as a mainframe?

While many may consider the as/400 a mainframe, technically, it isn’t. Mainframes involve different components interacting within a network to form a massive computing platform. The as/400 isn’t that at all. Rather, it is a standalone system.

10. How old is IBM AS400?

IBM released its first server, System/38, in1978, which paved the way for the release of System/36 in 1983. On June 21, 1988, they launched the as/400, which accounted for both enterprises and small businesses.

11. What language is AS400 written in?

The majority of IBMi applications are in RPG (a frequent topic of IBM i modernization), those that aren’t are either COBOL, C, or C++.

 

How Can You Make the Most of Your IBMi Systems?

Gaining the most from your existing IBMi (otherwise known as IBM i) applications lies in the ability to empower end-users or employees with the tools and environment that’ll make their work easier. 

You can start by adding a graphical user interface to provide a more compelling user experience. LANSA’s aXes allows you to quickly add modern UIs and web-enabled your IBMi applications within minutes. You can also add more functionality as your business time frame allows. For more information on how you can leverage your existing IBMi applications to thrive in your respective market, contact us.