Krengel Technology Is Ready For Ruby
October 20, 2014 Dan Burger
Krengel Technology, a custom software company in the IBM i community since 1996, is getting into the Ruby on Rails Web development/application modernization business. And if you’ve been paying attention to Rudy and Rails and how they apply to IBM midrange shops, you won’t be surprised to hear that Aaron Bartell is in the middle of Krengel’s plans. Bartell was instrumental in getting Ruby on Rails ported to IBM i and supported beginning with Technology Refresh 7 of the i 7.1 release. Now the time has come to see if the IBM i community is ready for Ruby.
For Bartell, who has recently accepted the title of director of IBM i innovation at Krengel, the next move is to eliminate the barriers that stand between Ruby and IBM i developers.
“We are working on giving IBM i developers easy access to open source tools and access to runtime on IBM i without having to be on their own systems,” Bartell says. “Developers can use a PC to sign up for a portion of an IBM i instance where they can do open source development, have access DB2, and be backed by the IBM i and Power Systems.”
For the past year, Bartell has been spreading the word about Ruby, and particularly PowerRuby, the version supported on IBM i. During that time he was employed by PowerRuby, a company that hopes to as synonymous with Ruby as IBM is with PHP. Bartell says that in his new role at Krengel he will continue to collaborate with PowerRuby.
Krengel has its sights set on becoming a Ruby and Rails services organization and software development company. Depending on the business objectives of an IBM i shop, Krengel could provide the Web development in total or train employees to do the development, or it could be a mixture of those things.
Organizing design documents that detail the phases of Ruby-based application modernization projects and explaining how the short- and long-term objectives will be met is the basis of the services side. The consultancy will have an on-demand aspect to it. Bartell describes it as companies being able to “turn us on when they need us and turn us off when they don’t.”
He expects the natural progression of multiple service engagements will lead to discoveries that lead to product development. He estimates 90 percent of his time at Krengel will be devoted to helping IBM i companies set up and adopt Ruby (the language) and Rails (the framework).
Although there’s not a lot of open source software adoption going on in the IBM i community, there’s a lot more than people recognize. PHP is the most obvious, but Java is open source and so is Linux. There’s also the MySQL database. IBM is turning to more open source alternatives, which can be seen in the Apache and Liberty servers and the Eclipse development environment. Doug Balog, general manager of IBM Power Systems talks about the impact of open source and open systems in a separate article in this week’s edition of Four Hundred Stuff.
Open source adoption, like anything else, is about evaluating risk and evaluating what is the best avenue for your company. It also means evaluating how much risk you can take on compared to how fast you can move forward.