The Future Of Web Apps On IBM iThe Future Of Web Apps On IBM i

The Future Of Web Apps On IBM i

According to a forecast by global market intelligence firm IDC, more than 500 million digital apps and services will be developed worldwide by 2023. What’s more, the majority of these apps are for industry-specific digital transformation use cases. IDC also predicts that by 2024, over 50% of all IT spending will go directly to digital transformation and innovation projects, growing at 17% every year. 

Looking at this report and other studies, it is easy to see why enterprise application development and the modernization of legacy business apps are rapidly gaining importance for companies across all industries. This is also true for thousands of businesses around the world that rely on the IBM i platform to power their IT infrastructure and serve as a foundation for their most critical business operations. 

What is wrong with traditional IBM i app development? 

When it comes to building new applications for IBM i as part of digital transformation initiatives, companies that rely on traditional application development processes and approaches face a number of issues that are getting more and more common every day. 

Based on multiple reports from IT leaders working for companies that use IBM i, here are some of the most crucial challenges they have to deal with when tasked with the development of new business apps for this platform.

Growing needs for versatile high-qualified software engineers

As modern-day enterprise web applications get increasingly complex and multi-functional, completing an app takes multiple developers with expertise in several programming languages. As a result, IT departments constantly face a need to hire new software engineers specialized in different languages and technologies. 

Javascript, HTML5, and CSS are the most common requirements for front-end development. Python, Java, PHP, and Ruby are among the most popular choices for the back-end. There is also a need for database technology experts (MySQL) and other niche specialists. The fact that popular programming languages tend to change every few years puts additional pressure on teams developing new business apps for IBM i. 

Rising web app development costs

Rising app development costs caused by growing complexity and diverse programming languages are another pain point. The need to allocate greater budgets to build an app hurts small and medium-sized businesses in particular. Inadequate financial resources often restricts their ability to implement technological innovations. As a result, they lag behind in their digital transformation efforts. 

App quality issues

Growing app complexity and the need to implement comprehensive business logic in enterprise web apps also lead to a growing number of bugs and usability problems. This is especially true with newly created products. These issues tend to accumulate over time. They sometimes leaving companies no other choice but to completely rewrite an app to fix errors and adapt it to newer technologies and components. This, of course, results in IT budgets being stretched even further. 

App integration difficulties 

Almost any enterprise application created today requires integration with at least one other system or specialized software package. As a result, it is not unusual for IT departments to experience issues when trying to implement completed apps and make them part of business operations. 

Problematic and expensive maintenance 

Maintaining new IBM i applications is another source of problems and additional costs. This is due to the fact that updates and revisions require time and often can’t be done without third-party involvement.

Why is low-code the future of IBM i web app development? 

The problems discussed above as well as issues linked to a reliance on traditional app development methods to build enterprise solutions for IBM i  make low-code very appealing. 

The majority of these challenges can be solved or minimized by switching to the low-code app development approach. According to a forecast by Gartner, low-code and no-code platforms will account for 65% of all app development by 2024. 

When it comes to creating IBM i apps, however, it is crucial to select the right low-code tools. You need a solution that fully supports the IBM i platform. The tools must be IBM i specific. 

One of those tools is Visual LANSA. Visual Lansa is a hybrid low-code development platform that combines the flexibility and control of traditional programming with the benefits and concepts of low-code principles.

Here are five key Visual LANSA features that enable the quick and efficient development of new IBM i apps for businesses of any size. 

1. Programming language independence

Visual LANSA has its own programming language. This allowing developers to create entire IBM i applications inside LANSA’s IDE. They can use the same development approach with every Visual LANSA application. Because of this, developers no longer need to learn several web development languages when building new apps. Moreover,  companies don’t have to hire expensive front-end and back-end developers. 

2. Flexible IDE

LANSA’s hybrid low-code approach is the most versatile method for developing IBM i applications. Developers can code both client-side and server-side apps from inside the IDE. They can create entirely new apps, from planning the app logic to deployment, inside a single IDE. They can also easily migrate existing applications written in other languages using LANSA’s bridge capabilities. Locating all development tools within a single IDE maximizes the efficiency of the development process. 

3. Convenient integration with legacy systems

Another crucial advantage of Visual LANSA for IBM i apps development is the hybrid low-code approach. This allows developers to easily integrate new tools with legacy systems and components without creating time-consuming workarounds.

4. Single app components repository

Visual LANSA has a unified repository for all its app development components. This means software engineers reduce development time and increase efficiency by defining business logic in one location. They can also use the same modules and components for every new IBM i app they are working on. 

5. Cross-platform deployment

Finally, unlike many other low-code platforms, Visual LANSA enables easy cross-platform deployment. IT teams can quickly deploy newly created IBM i apps to the cloud and other platforms, such as Windows and Linux.

Progressive Web App

Want to know more about how progressive web apps can be easily built for the IBM i?

These are only a few use cases for progressive web apps on IBM i. Let’s take a look at how you can use PWAs in your business:

  • Crafting new user experiences for employees to access and query  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 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
  • E-commerce with the Web Payment API and Paypal integrations
  • Mobile accident assessment applications with the ability to take photos and videos of an accident, use audio recording to record testimonies, and more

Access the full progressive web app whitepaper.

Want to know more about the benefits of low-code IBM i development? 

LANSA has been providing enterprise technical teams with tools to simplify the modernization and engineering efforts of IBM i solutions for over 30 years now. Visual LANSA includes a number of proven tools designed for IBM i users specifically. That is why it is the best low-code platform for developing new IBM i apps as well as modernizing existing ones or even creating an entire ERP. 

Watch this video webinar if you want to learn more about the power of LANSA’a hybrid low-code approach and its benefits for IBM i enterprise development teams.

Ready to begin? Get in touch with us to start utilizing LANSA for the digital transformation of your IBM i solutions today. 

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