Aldon’s LMi Gets a Web Portal, Mobile Device Interface
September 27, 2011 Alex Woodie
New software unveiled by Aldon last week allows IBM i developers to manage and monitor the code deployment process from any location–even the neighborhood pub. Thanks to new Web portal and mobile device user interfaces unveiled by the Rocket Software subsidiary, many of the administrative tasks that previously required a 5250 green-screen interface can now be handled in a friendly Web GUI, or even on the go from an iPhone or Android device.
The new functions delivered in Aldon Web Portal Plus should make life easier for harried development managers, who are constantly worried whether the rollout of code changes to their IBM i server are going well, or if they’ll arrive at the office in the morning to find that things went horribly wrong.
With a quick glance at the new Web portal’s cleanly designed dashboard interface, the manager will be able to see the latest status for deployment sets and deployment targets. A green check mark on the dashboard signals that everything is going smoothly. A spinning circle indicates that an update is in process. A red “x” means something has failed. A red explanation mark signals trouble.
Aldon has even arranged the items on the portal’s screen in the order that is most important to the user. “We want you to be able to see from this screen immediately if there’s something that you need to do, if there’s something that needs your attention,” Aldon executive Dan Magid says.
In addition to monitoring deployment processes, some of the steps of the deployment process can also be initiated from the Web portal (although a Windows or a 5250 interface is still required to start the promotion or deployment process). After a deployment has been initiated, users can use Web Portal Plus to control steps, such as code extracts, creating save files, initiating the send, and loading the save files on the target. A “rollback” button is available for when something goes wrong during deployment.
Anything that can be done through Aldon Web Portal Plus can also be done through the new mobile interfaces. The mobile interface supports Apple i OS devices (iPhone and iPad) and Google Android devices. The software automatically adapts the screen size to fit the device it detects.
The new software marks a major foray into Web-based interfaces for Aldon, whose only previous Web interface in LMi was the 2009 release of its Report Manager component. In an upcoming release, the software will give managers the capability to initiate code promotes and deployments.
“This is part of our whole rebuilding of the interface of LMi so that we will have the ability to access our functions from a variety of very modern interfaces, so that people can work with the system in places they sent them in doing their job,” Magid says.
Any activity done through the Web portal or mobile interfaces generates an e-mail sent to the user’s account, or the email account of his or her manager. The emails have hyperlinks back into the Web portal, making it easy for users to pick up where they left off.
Aldon designed the portal with tight hooks into the LMi change management system, which keeps track of code for developers and handles deployments. A separate Web portal will be developed for Aldon’s open system change management system, called Lifecycle Manager Enterprise, or LMe. At some point, some portal functions will be merged, providing benefits to Aldon customers who run both environments, Magid says.
“We’ve been in this IBM i business for a long time and our customers tell us that release management and deployment is often the most vulnerable part of the application lifecycle,” he says. “Our goal with Aldon Web Portal Plus is to make that process pain-free and turn-key–whether you are deploying to 10 targets or 10,000 targets; whether you are on the road, on your couch, or in a restaurant.”
The new Web portal and smartphone interfaces require the latest release of Lifecycle Manager (IBM i Edition), version 7.5F. The company is already working on version 7.6, which will bring a host of new filtering capabilities to the Eclipse plug-in, and be the first major new release of the software since version LMi 7.5 shipped in 2007.
For more information, see www.aldon.com.