Midrange Dynamics Dives Into REST With Acquisition
October 2, 2019 Alex Woodie
Change management specialist Midrange Dynamics this month announced that it has acquired Rest4i, the UK-based developer of a native IBM i framework for integrating RPG and SQL applications with REST-based APIs. The move positions Midrange Dynamics as a player in the rapidly evolving world of microservices.
Rest4i was founded several years ago by Stuart Milligan, who headed up DB2 database modernization firm Databorough before selling it to Fresche Solutions (then Fresche Legacy) back in 2013. Milligan foresaw the coming wave of microservices and developed software to “turn the IBM i into a complete REST API server and the RPG developers into the most modern workforce, who happen to use RPG,” Milligan told IT Jungle in 2018.
The company’s primary offering was LXR (pronounced “Lexer”), a collection of software designed to automate and simplify the development of REST-based APIs from existing IBM i assets. The software shields much of the complexity of creating REST Web services, the company says, including parsing, translating, authentication, encryption, allowing the IBM i developer to focus on the business logic instead of the plumbing. The code generated by LXR adheres to Swagger, open source framework for REST Web services, as well as the OpenAPI Specification 3 (OAS3).
The acquisition was a natural move for Midrange Dynamics, which was already moving to support Web services with its flagship change management system, MDCMS. With the delivery of MDCMS 8.2 earlier this year, the company added a new API generation feature that automatically creates a REST API from IBM i code that’s managed in the product.
With MDRest4i Accelerator Software Development Toolkit, as LXR is now known, the company takes its API story up a notch, according to Michael Morgan, the CEO of Midrange Dynamics, which is based in Switzerland.
“IBM i developers don’t really have to understand what REST is because we take care of the whole framework around it, including token authentication and dealing with the Apache services,” he says in a press release. “All they have to understand is how to write the RPG code.”
In addition to generating the code, MDRest4i assists the user in documenting the new APIs, building developer portals, and generating interactive documentation in their Atlassian Confluence pages, the company says.
Midrange Dynamics is also using MDRest4i to help its MDCMS customers in another way. When customers want to connect their MDCMS environment with other solutions, the company can use MDRest4i to rapidly spin up new integrations. “With this built-in REST framework, the rich DevOps and CI/CD solutions of MDWorkflow are rapidly and easily extended as technologies and requirements evolve,” the company says.
Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. But we do know that Mulligan and other Rest4i employees are now working for Midrange Dynamics. Mulligan will continue to work on helping IBM i shops modernize their systems and expanding the ways that REST can impact their operations.
“Since project turnaround with MDRest4i is so much faster, businesses quickly receive full value from the opportunity that the API economy presents,” Milligan said in a press release. “By following the REST standard, we enable all of the constituencies involved − customers, partners, mobile developers − to interact and contribute. Best of all, RPG developers already have the skillset to participate. Using structured, standard architecture integrates IBM i developers with the real world. This is a much easier strategic direction for larger companies to embrace.”