Open Source Technology Stands On The Shoulders Of Legacy Applications
May 3, 2021 Michael Killian
From microservices to the cloud, executives often want to follow all the latest IT trends. Application developers are no different, except that they want to preserve all of the hard work they and their colleagues have done, while still meeting the new demands of the business. How can this be done? The answer could lie in employing open-source technologies, but in a manner that acknowledges that these technologies would never have been able to flourish without business-oriented languages such as RPG and the applications that millions of programmers have created and supported over more than four decades.
RPG Gave Us The Foundation
The vast estates of monolithic, legacy application code in the world represent the history of the organizations that run them – and that literally run those organizations. But the monolithic and legacy nature of those applications are the two top reasons for IBM i shops to start working towards application and system modernization. RPG gave businesses the ability to build truly custom functionality and add business value. Since “legacy” code has already done so much for us, why would you want to change?
Sometimes, people change for the sake of change, but most of the time people change because they have to or they see a benefit from that change.
The term “legacy” can definitely carry a negative connotation, but that legacy is what built hundreds of thousands of companies in the IBM i market alone into what they are today, transforming them from what they were many decades ago and in many cases before they had automated their back office, sales, manufacturing, and distribution operations. The thing is, legacy code is not bad! Legacy is where we came from, it encapsulates the very business and it represents code that works so long as you don’t mess with it, which is important. And as such, we should embrace it and give it the credit it deserves. It is the legacy that makes the future brighter.
Some businesses claim that .NET and Java are modern alternatives to other IBM i programming languages. That’s pretty funny, considering that both languages are close to three decades old. Languages such as Node.js are much newer, are understood by younger developers, and make modernization, integration, and portability of business systems drastically easier. Also, age is not everything. Node.js has an incredibly active community of people that are constantly updating and improving the language. Age brings fit and finish and refinement, which definitely has value, but there is always a new language coming along that is tailor made for specific languages.
Legacy IBM i programming languages such as RPG, Java, and .NET have built the foundation of application development, but now is the time to use that foundation to push your business into the future. RPG programming development resource availability is at an all-time low, and forecasts do not look promising for any resurgence. That fact, combined with the reality that a full-blown transformation initiative can take several years on average, simply means that putting off aggressive digital transformation activity is no longer an option for most organizations.
Maintaining and updating your systems is exponentially simpler with an open-source language that allows you to add and update functionalities over time without any downtime. Node.js allows you to expand your business capabilities while still preserving the years of custom functionalities build with RPG.
Spaces is built on top of Profound Logic’s low-code solution, Profound.js. Profound Logic has been in the code transformation for over 20 years, and our staff of experienced developers are here to help you build a custom solution for your business needs.
To learn more about Profound Logic’s solutions and services and to contact our professional team, visit www.profoundlogic.com.
This content is sponsored by Profound Logic.
Michael Killian is vice president of strategic accounts at Profound Logic.