BVS Unveils Jabber-Based Messaging Tool for IBM i
November 27, 2012 Alex Woodie
BVS Tools is rolling out GreenJab, a new utility that enables two-way communication between the IBM i server and any client device that supports the Jabber (XMPP) instant messaging (IM) protocol. The product, which is entering beta, will give administrators another way to get critical alerts from the IBM i server, and even to submit commands or execute other tasks on the IBM i server.
Jabber, officially known as Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP), is an open source, XML-based IM protocol that’s also an official IETF Internet standard. There are more than 100 XMPP/Jabber clients available on the market, and a couple dozen servers, according to the XMPP Standards Foundation. The biggest and most well-known implementation is Google Talk, which uses XMPP/Jabber for IM chat and as a base for its VoIP functionality.
According to BVS Tools, GreenJab is the first and only XMPP/Jabber client for the IBM i server. The software allows users to communicate to and from the IBM i server from another XMPP/Jabber client residing on a Web browser; Windows, Mac, or Linux PC; and iPhone, Android, and Windows Phone devices. This eliminates the need to directly sign on to the IBM i server to do simple things with it, such as monitor queues and restart jobs.
To get started with GreenJab, a user enters the GREENJAB command to start a GreenJab listener job that is associated with a XMPP/Jabber account. Once registered at Google Talk or other freebie IM chat providers, this XMPP/Jabber account becomes the account that GreenJab uses to send and receive chats with a separate XMPP/Jabber account used by the administrator.
Once the two Jabber/XMPP accounts are connected and are “friends,” GreenJab can be used to send alerts when messages appear on specific IBM i queues, such as MSGW. This would allow the user to be automatically alerted when a job has failed, completed, or is in a wait status. GreenJab can also be used to automatically execute tasks, such as issuing a command or returning information to the user, when the user sends a reply to the GreenJab software.
BVS Tools principle Brad Stone wrote a set of ILE functions that allow programmers to integrate GreenJab functionality into their RPG, COBOL, and CL programs. GreenJab also includes several sample programs that can be tailored by the user to accomplish tasks.
GreenJab will be most useful in enabling human-to-machine communication, and automatically monitoring the IBM i server and automatically responding to commands sent from the administrator. But GreenJab can also be used for human-to-human IM chats though a green-screen interface.
But keeping an eye on the IBM i server is GreenJab’s main job at this point. “It would pair nicely with a job-watching tool, like our JOBWATCH tool. It could send a message or messages via Google Talk or other Jabber chat client instead of, or along with, email when a job enters MSGW, or locks up, etc,” Stone says via email. “You could also use it to send requests to your AS/400 to check on jobs. For example, you could write a ‘listener’ job that sits and runs waiting for messages.”
In fact, a GreenJab user could set up a whole host of commands to run backups, IPL the machine, start a server, or run a report and email a PDF to yourself–maybe even by using another BVS tool, such as SPLTOOL. “That’s what I find interesting about a tool like this,” Stone says. “The options are really limitless and I find my customers find some pretty interesting uses for them.”
Stone is currently accepting applications to participate in the beta test for GreenJab. Interested participants should inquire at Stone’s BVS website at www.bvstools.com.