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September 17, 2016: Volume 18, Number 38|
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Yes, RPG can talk to Watson. No special software required, nothing to install, nothing to configure. You just need to be on V7R1, have the ability to use embedded SQL and write just a few lines of code--none of which are complicated. To see how it works, all you have to do is copy/paste the display file and RPG code in this article, compile and call.
The SQL Procedures Language, or SQL PL, is a proprietary procedural language that IBM designed to work with the DB2 family of database management systems. I believe that it's a good idea for anyone who works with DB2 to learn SQL PL. If you know RPG, CL, or COBOL, you'll find it easy to learn.
Google "what shall we do about" and you'll find a lot of issues that people are concerned about. Now that RPG has gone fully free-form, the question of concern for RPG programmers is "what shall we do about MOVE and MOVEL?" Faithful reader Mark sent me a solution he used in his shop and gave me permission to pass it along in case it may be of help to you.
The IBM i community was born and raised with platform-specific tendencies. That was the way of the IBM IT world for many years. It's not the way anymore. The strategy for IBM Power Systems, running i and AIX, is much more open. It's OpenPower and OpenStack oriented. Its roadmap has cloud and cognitive computing highlighted. The IBM Edge conference last week left no doubt about that. So what's left for i?
And then there were three. For the past several years, the two dominant master resellers of Power-based systems--that would be Avnet and Arrow Electronics--who also sell a whole lot of other kinds of IT gear into datacenters, got a little competition from Tech Data and Ingram Micro joined the fray and started peddling Power gear and related storage.
Nobody likes VIOS, not even AIX administrators, admits Anthony English, an AIX expert who was named an IBM Champion for Power earlier this year. But with the proper mindset, a good coach, and a few key pieces of knowledge, even career IBM i professionals can learn to get along with the Virtual I/O Server.
They say it's not just about the technology. It's really about the business. But that brings to mind an old adage from the car industry: You sell the sizzle not the steak. Right now the sizzle is cognitive computing. It has edged out big data and analytics in the one-upsmanship match of IT leadership and the next big thing. At the Edge conference last week, when IBM executives talked strategy and road maps, cognitive computing was on the tip of tongues.
It seems increasingly likely to us that over the long haul IBM will get out of manufacturing all but the largest of its Power-based servers and its System z mainframe line, which by definition is big iron. There are a number of implications of this strategy for IBM i shops, of course, but let's be honest here. Connect the dots and this seems inevitable.
In the IBM i world, no software vendor has found as much as success as JD Edwards. Sold to PeopleSoft for $1.8 billion in 2002 and now a part of Oracle, JD Edwards was the gold standard by which other ERP packages on the platform were measured. Now the principle founder of JD Edwards, Ed McVaney, is involved in another software startup in the Denver, Colorado area called Nextworld. But what does the company do?
It would be great fun to begin this article with news that IBM i enthusiasts were virtually lined up like box cars on freight trains to download Rational Developer for i (RDi), the modern graphical design tool for application development. It's not that dramatic. Sheer numbers don't tell the entire story, however. There's a bit of detectable momentum. What are the chances IBM will help that momentum grow? It's actually better than the pessimistic answer: slim and none.
The chilling reality of IT security weaknesses is widely overlooked and often assumed to be something that only affects someone else's business. A close look at our own organizations makes us uncomfortable. So do stories that include expert opinions that every business should begin its security review with the realization that a security breach has already occurred. That's how real the threat is. And your current security policy, if you even have one, is probably obsolete.
I'm an RDi fan. I make no secret about that. Even so I occasionally find things that I need to do that just seem easier or faster to do with PDM in the green screen. I don't really mind that. I nearly always have a green screen session sitting just next to my RDi workbench anyway. But when I can find a way to do a function as easily in RDi, I prefer to do that so that I don't need to switch modes as much.
The SQL Procedures Language (SQL PL) has an effective error-handling mechanism--condition handlers. When a statement returns a certain SQL state or a certain type of exception, the condition handler takes control. However, determining which SQL state to test for can be problematic. Here are two ways.
I have a table with a long list of column names and I want to build a SELECT statement from the catalog metadata. If I supply schema (library) and table (physical file) names, is there a way to generate a SELECT statement?
When Bernie Madoff's massive Ponzi scheme collapsed in 2008, erasing $65 billion in supposed wealth, the midrange community was somewhat surprised to learn that an AS/400 was at the heart of the operation. Soon thereafter, FBI agents called Rochester, Minnesota, with a request for IBM: Give us an expert witness who can untangle the ancient RPG II code and explain how it works to a jury. That job eventually fell to longtime IBMer Rich Diedrich.
Two years ago, Micro Focus started building out its software empire in legacy systems with the acquisition of the Attachmate conglomerate, a company that was bigger than itself at the time. And now, Micro Focus has done it again, this time by eating the bulk of the software that is currently owned by Hewlett Packard Enterprise, which has lost all urges to try to build a complete hardware-software-services stack like IBM used to have back in the 1990s and 2000s.