IBM i Modernization Redbook A Must Read
March 31, 2014 Dan Burger
Take a bow Tim Rowe. Rowe, the IBM i business architect for application development and systems management, just had a baby. Its name is the Modernize IBM i Applications from the Database up to the User Interface and Everything in Between Redbook. If you think the title is long, you should see the list of authors. A dozen names made the cover. It was released last week in draft Redbook form, which means it is still be edited and comments are being solicited.
When it is released with full Redbook status, it will be the biggest Redbook in IBM history. That’s my opinion. It’s not official. But this book is big. It’s 18 chapters and 687 pages. It probably should have been three or four or more Redbooks, but all-in-one is convenient. And because it is digital, you don’t have to lift it or carry it around.
In September, Rowe told me his optimistic goal was to have the book completed and available by the end of 2013. Optimistic goals are good. They provide incentives. I’d say completing a book this size with this many authors within three months of an optimistic deadline is a victory. I’m sure Rowe would call it a relief.
Regardless of the above-mentioned target dates, this book is overdue. It would be just as accurate to say the IBM i community’s attention to the topics in this book is overdue.
The published description of The Mod Book (a title I prefer) refers to modernization as “a sequence of actions” and “a process of rethinking how to approach the creation and maintenance of applications.” Much of the focus is on application structure, user interface, data access, and the database. There’s a lot of out with the old and in with the new here. You’ll find an emphasis on modern tools and methodologies connected to improved productivity and reduction in long-term cost. It’s a road map for migrating an IT environment designed for the world as we knew it 20 years ago to an IT environment for 2015, 2020, and beyond.
“It is time to put the past away. Tools and methodologies have undergone significant transformation, improving functionality, usability, and productivity,” according to the description on the “System i” Redbooks website. “This is true of the plethora of IBM tools and the wealth of tools available from many Independent Solution Providers (ISVs).”
Viewpoints on modernization are clearly led by IBM, but Rowe noted the importance of including opinions from a variety of IBM i experts because “there’s not a single right way to do modernization.” Viewpoints come from IBM development and lab services, IBM i customers, ISV solution providers, and business partners (modernization service providers).
The Redbook will include solution guides that explain different ways to implement a modernization strategy. There will be agreements and disagreements on this you can be sure.
The purpose of this book is to create a discussion on topics that need to be at the top of the IT priority list at many companies. How apps are being accessed has a major impact on users. That’s an important consideration that affects the value of the app, and it most certainly affects business processes and long-term investments. IBM i advocates should jump into this with both feet.
The link to the PDF version of the Redbook is right here.