Modern RPG, App Dev, and DB Topics Popular at Omni Conference
September 26, 2011 Dan Burger
Just a couple weeks ago, the Omni User group, based in Chicago, presented its annual one-day technical conference. So I checked in with Jerome Hughes, an Omni User board member, for a quick review of how things went.
From an attendee standpoint, speakers and topics are what put people in the seats and in Hughes’ judgment there were several top speakers. This included Scott Klement, one of the best-known and best-liked presenters on RPG topics. “There are always a lot of meat and potatoes RPGers attending our conferences and they pick up a lot of information from Scott,” Hughes says. Klement presented five sessions on topics that included ILE, Web services, RPG integration with the Web, use of the Integrated File System, and user defined functions.
Also popular were the Rational Developer topics presented by Charlie Guarino. Not a lot of folks in Chicago know Guarino, a New Yorker who is well-known at COMMON and becoming a more frequent presenter at local user groups across the country.
“Charlie had a big crowd all day long,” Hughes noted. “He got them thinking about how to use RDP to replace the green-screen stuff and challenged them to show him something they can do with the old PDM and SEU green-screen tools that he can’t do better with RDP.”
Another popular guy was Dan Cruikshank, one of IBM‘s database gurus. Cruikshank’s topics focused on database performance. One example was getting batch jobs to run faster by fetching data in sets rather than individually. Cruikshank’s topics included, SQL Data Definition Language (DDL), transferring I/O to SQL functions, the strengths of SQL and RLA, and accessing non-relational data with SQL.
COMMON president Pete Massiello was also a presenter. He had a session on upgrading the OS/400 and i5 operating system to i 6.1 and 7.1 and another session on the Systems Director Navigator Console. Massiello also had a keynote address that lauded the attendees for their efforts to learn new skills and making things happen for themselves and the IBM i-based companies that employ them.
There were more than 50 paid attendees and 15 vendors at the event, which this year was billed as the Omni Technical Conference. In past years, the local user group held an annual event called The Day of Education. Dating back several years ago, Omni User hosted two conferences each year.
“There was enough vendor interest this year that we could reduce the price in hopes of getting more people through the door,” Hughes said. “One of the biggest issues is getting people to take the day off. It’s tougher than it used to be. People are working on skeleton crews. It doesn’t seem to be as much about the price as it does getting away from work.”
One of the changes Omni has made is an attempt to be more accessible to non-members. “More folks are interested in non-member pricing for the annual event and no commitment to membership. We had a significant number of people take this option,” Hughes said.
Plans for a conference in 2012 have yet to be determined. The board of directors and the in-coming officers will make that decision in the coming months.