Tesla Teases IBM i Software Vendor Into Some Experimental Coding
April 16, 2018 Dan Burger
First of all, let me assure you this is not Car & Driver. You’re going to hear about a car and a driver, but the resemblance stops there. The driver is Alex Roytman and the car is a Tesla Model 3. I’d describe the car as a “cross-over” because it appeals to driving enthusiasts and technology geeks. I’d describe Roytman as an enthusiast, more so in the second category than the first.
Loyal IT Jungle readers are familiar with Roytman because he’s the CEO of Profound Logic, an IBM i modernization company specializing in Web and mobile application development. Profound is one of the leading myth busters of the misconception that “you can’t do anything modern with legacy code.” Node.js is as important to Profound and batteries are to Tesla.
“The Tesla is more a piece of software than it is a car,” Roytman says in a short video titled How I Controlled My Tesla Model 3 with Node.js. As you know, Node.js has been supported on IBM i for about three and a half years. Roytman’s interest in the open source development language and framework extends beyond that. “The car is always connected to the internet and I can remote control the car through a Tesla-provided app that uses REST APIs and JSON for communication. So, I can create a Node.js app that talks with my car.”
In a 2016 interview with IT Jungle, when Profound Logic was announcing its developmental interests in Node.js, Roytman predicted Node.js would have a noticeable impact in the IBM i community based on what he had already seen. “I wouldn’t say every RPG shop should start converting all their code to Node, but it might be a good fit for a subset of RPG shops.
“The benefits of using Node.js on IBM i are numerous,” Roytman said a year later when his company introduced Profound.js 2.0. “With Profound.js, companies will be able to integrate new or converted Node.js applications with their existing RPG applications, as well as open up a whole new world of open-source possibilities on IBM i, including Watson and the Internet of Things.”
But back at the wheel, the Tesla’s list of software-oriented features include automatic driving and parking, unique user identification, continuous internet connection, and its own remote-control user app.
Inspired by the amazing software development that Tesla has put into the Model 3, I decided to do something a little crazy. I wondered, “Could I create a Node.js browser interface to control my Model 3?”
The fully electric motor (not a hybrid) was part of the attraction for Roytman, but it was the advanced software capabilities that really sealed the deal. Inspired by the software development Tesla put into the Model 3, Roytman decided to do his version of “tinkering in the garage,” a term familiar to a big percentage of IBM i users who remember when cars were simple enough to performance tune and repair by their owners.
In the video, which you can view here, Roytman takes viewers on geek-ish joy ride that includes a look at the node.js code he used to create an interface with his automobile, which is truly nothing like any of our fathers’ Oldsmobiles, Fords, or Chevys.