Talsco Weekly: The Risks of Shadow IT and Technical Debt

Welcome to another edition of Talsco Weekly

Technical Debt:  Can Technical Debt be qualified as Financial Debt?
Training:  The Smart Way To Train RPG Developers.
Security:  The Risks of Shadow IT and Technical Debt.
Python:  HTML and CSS for Python Developers.

Technical Debt

Can Technical Debt be qualified as Financial Debt?

As modernization projects are in full swing in the IBM i community, technical debt is a hot topic among developers.

This article has an interesting take on Technical Debt in that, “Technical debt can be quantified in various ways, but you cannot precisely quantify the associated financial debt.”

It highlights the original intent of the code vs the quality of the code.

As the IBM i (AS/400) community dives into modernization projects, developers will without a doubt have to think about the intent of the code as well as the quality, and the unintended consequences that resulted from it.


The Smart Way To Train RPG Developers

There seems to be a lot of concern with how we are going to deal with the shortage of RPG Developers in the future.

In reality, the solution is really not that difficult.

Find individuals with natural talent, then train them in RPG.

Sounds simple enough. But, the execution of this is not as straightforward. Learn More


The Risks of Shadow IT and Technical Debt

While we serve IT departments that are over 100+ staff members, the majority of the clients we serve in the IBM i community have anywhere from 2 to 25 staff members.

Regardless of the size, shadow IT and the risks of technical debt are real.

“IT infrastructures contain a growing number of user accounts and devices.”

Thus, “security teams have an overwhelming responsibility for constantly tracking and monitoring these elements.”

What is Shadow IT?:

Shadow IT “is basically any unknown or unmanaged system within an organization’s IT infrastructure, whether it’s cloud accounts, business apps, personal devices, communication channels, or code repositories. Shadow IT exists without the knowledge or attention of the security teams, creating a high risk of data exposure and unauthorized access.”

The top causes of Shadow IT are:

Remote working
Unmanaged Browsers
Third-Party Applications
Fast Production Cycles
Lack of Collaboration and Integration

Shadow IT leads to Technical Debt

The best way to understand the cause-and-effect relationships is to understand the definition of technical debt.

“Technical debt” refers to the cost of additional rework, which is a result of initially choosing an easy or limited solution over a sustainable one.”

Has your organization ever invested in or used technology and overlooked the potential gaps? Or was a short-term solution implemented before considering the long-term ramifications?


“Shadow IT is fundamentally caused by a lack of effective and streamlined management.”

“Prioritizing policy-based solutions for application and access control” is the key. It will allow security teams to have oversight of all networks and application systems.


HTML and CSS for Python Developers

With Python becoming more and more popular in IBM i environments, you might want to build a website. In doing so, “there’s no way around HTML and CSS. Almost every website on the Internet is built with HTML markup to structure the page. To make a website look nice, you can style HTML with CSS.

“If you’re interested in web development with Python, then knowing HTML and CSS will help you understand web frameworks like Django and Flask better.”

Check out this tutorial for all the details.


Sign up for Talsco Weekly to get the latest news, insight and job openings for the IBM i professional.

Contact us

If you are an RPG programmer looking to explore opportunities or a client who is looking for a talented IBM i professional, please contact us. We look forward to assisting you.


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The post Talsco Weekly: The Risks of Shadow IT and Technical Debt appeared first on IBM i (AS/400, RPG) Recruiting, Staffing & Consulting.

Intro to ViTL

A quick intro to LaserVault ViTL virtual tape for IBM Power Systems. Automate your backup and recovery to save time and improve your ability to recover from a disaster or cyberattack.

System Cleanup: My QUSRBRM/QA1ALI2 File is Large

Backup, Recovery, and Media Services (BRMS) is a great tool for backing up your system and keeping track of what data lives on what backup media. You can quickly look up libraries that you have backed up, see what day they were backed up on, what time, and the volume number they are on. As well, you can look up the times that you’ve backed up the Integrated File System (IFS), and if you tell BRMS to do so, it will keep track of all the objects you have backed up – every single one of them! While being able to look at every backup and drill down to a specific IFS object for a restore sounds FANTASTIC… it does come at a cost:  disk space.

Each day, your system should be running BRMS maintenance, which expires any volumes that have reached their expiration date.

When volumes expire, BRMS deletes the records it was keeping on that now expired volume. Because of this, you should also be running BRMS maintenance with a file reorganization as least once a week and at most once a day alongside maintenance (RGZBRMDB parameter in the STRMNTBRM command). The file reorganization will remove deleted records from the BRMS database files, which will return space back to your system.

Where BRMS can often chew away at your disk space is when you have a BRMS backup that runs often, backs up the entirety of the IFS, and then retains that data for a long time due to a long expiration date. Over time, this can cause your BRMS IFS database file (QUSRBRM/QA1ALI2) to swell to an enormous size. To control whether or not BRMS keeps information on IFS backups, you must look in your control groups you are using. Find all the items in your backups that are *LINK (all of IFS) or have a List Type of *LNK (often a subset of IFS data). Take a look at the Retain Object Detail column. If this is set to *YES for these items, then BRMS, by default, is keeping track of everything backed until it is cleaned up during maintenance. This adds up to hundreds of thousands to multiple millions of records per backup.

Retain object detail inside a BRMS control group. A copy of the *SYSTEM control group will have this set to *YES by default.

My recommendation for anyone that has lengthy retentions of …

The post System Cleanup: My QUSRBRM/QA1ALI2 File is Large first appeared on iTech Solutions Group.

Obtaining Your Last IPL Details

Sometimes, I’ve found myself needing to check the last time a system has done an IPL. That information can be obtained a few ways – by checking the start date and time of the SCPF job, or by looking at the QCTL subsystem. This doesn’t necessarily show you the full details though.

IBM has a neat little program, which gives you the last time the system performed an IPL, along with how long each step of the IPL took. This information is produced in a relatively small spool file. It can be a little intimidating to look at but is relatively straightforward. This data can be beneficial for maintenance planning, or after an abnormal system shutdown.

To generate the report, enter the following on the command line:


The spool file produced by the QWCCRTEC program is called QPSRVDMP. The first 85 characters are a hexadecimal presentation of the data that we are looking for. Just to the right of that, starting at column 90, are the details are we are after. In this example, you can see when the power down of the system began – as indicated by ‘XPF PWRDWN’, as well as when the power down was completed, ‘End PWRDWN’.

Further along, we can see all the details of our last IPL on this system. The beginning of the IPL is marked with ‘XPF IPL’, and the end is marked with ‘End of IPL’. Each step of the IPL is listed in between, using the same C6xx and C9xx status codes that you would find on an HMC, front operations panel, or LAN Console during the IPL process. These codes can be referenced on IBM’s reference codes site. Note that the exact link to this reference material will vary depending on your Power System model.

From this report, we can tell that the last IPL on this system was rather quick, with a power down at 11:01 and the IPL finishing at almost 11:05.

If you want to find the type of IPL performed (unattended, attended, after abnormal system end), you can find that information in the system log. Rather than scroll through several pages of the system log, I’ve found a simple SQL query will do the trick.





WHERE MESSAGE_ID IN (‘CPF0903′,’CPF0905′,’CPF0997′,’CPF0998’)

More from this month:

Obtaining Your Last IPL Details
Five Costly Mistakes that IBM i

The post Obtaining Your Last IPL Details first appeared on iTech Solutions Group.

What Is Low Code? Development Platform Guide

Today, the demand for low code software application development is increasing rapidly. Businesses are now looking for the best low code development platform that meets their future needs.

Low-code is a method of application development that transforms coding from textual to visual. An IBM i Low-code platform operates in a model-driven, drag-and-drop interface rather than a technical coding environment. Professional developers, novice developers, subject matter experts, business stakeholders, and decision-makers of all skill levels can use low code to build value-driven enterprise business applications.

This post will discuss everything about low-code development platforms.

What Is Low-Code Development?

Low-code app development is a model-driven or visual way to build and deploy software applications. These low code solutions allow developers to deliver applications faster and with low or no code development.

What Is A Low-Code Development Platform?

The low code development platform eliminates repetitive and tedious operations like dependency management, code validation, and complex builds. It automates the code development workflows and builds software applications with a maximum degree of freedom.

What Are The Low-Code Features And Benefits?

Low-code development automates every single step of the software application lifecycle. in addition, using a low code development platform, software development is more accessible to business users without technical expertise, with features that accelerate the growth of the development process.

Features and Benefits of Low Code

A low code application development platform offers the following features:

Visual IDE (Integrated Development Environment) for visual modeling. It includes the drag and drop progressive web app builder and visual UI (user interface) functionalities that increase the developer’s productivity.
Reusable components and connectors to add various components and services. Moreover, this feature helps in building cross-platform business apps with pre-configured modules, logic, templates, and connectors.
Collaboration and governance tools for revision tracking, feedback loops, managing roles, user stories, messaging, and more.
Scalable environments for deploying new apps or modernizing existing apps quickly with changing needs of customers or businesses. In addition, low-code cloud-based solutions provide flexibility and support for continuous delivery. These cloud-based applications offer dev-time and run-time scalability on demand.
Provide secure data integration and artificial intelligence rules. We can securely integrate data and logic from any service, source, or system — including your core legacy systems.
Low code support in every step of the Application development lifecycle with automated tools. These components streamline the project management activities: version control, requirement management, testing, deployment, and maintenance. Moreover, some powerful low-code platforms incorporate DevOps tools and agile development practices.

What Are The Challenges Of Low-Code?

A low code development platform is quite different from a traditional coding platform. But, few challenges that we may face while choosing a low code development platform for IBM i application development and modernization:

Limited Integration options and Creative Freedom

One of the most common problems which may arise in many low code platforms is vendor lock-in. Therefore, They don’t allow moving products or code from one low code platform to another. So, they offer limited creative Freedom. It is more challenging to preserve simplicity while adding advanced features.

Lack of Customization

Some low-code platforms restrict editing options while others allow access to the source code. Therefore, before working with any platform, be careful to understand all restrictions.

Security Concerns

The security of the underlying data is the main concern with low-code no-code. Some people might want to restrict how or what kind of knowledge is shared. However, it varies from platform to platform.

Rigid Templates and Components

Users can adjust available components and templates in the low code platforms based on the application’s use cases. But, in some situations, it is hard to apply business logic to a lack of building blocks.

Governance Issues

The development of apps on these low-code platforms may pose certain governance problems. because it could be challenging due to the standalone nature of no-code applications.

Low-Code, No-Code, And High-Code (Traditional Development) Platforms: What Are The Differences?

Low code development provides a platform where both non-technical users and experienced developers can collaborate with co-developer solutions and use their own skill sets.

Who Can Build With Low-Code?

The majority of low code users are from enterprise IT departments, also known as professional developers. Low code allows business users (citizen developers) with little to no coding experience to create simple productivity apps.

With separate integrated development environments (IDEs), anyone can use a low-code platform to deal with today’s business challenges. The Low-code platform is targeted at both professional developers and business developers.

All low-code platforms are equal. The main important difference we need to understand is the low-code providers they target. If we want to implement complex functionality, we need to write a certain quantity of code. Furthermore, low code enables subject matter experts, business analysts, process owners, and company owners to become application developers.

What Are The Best Low-Code Development Platforms?

There are several low-code development platforms available on the market. We have enlisted the code development platforms that are currently popular in 2022.

Visual LANSA
Microsoft Power Apps
UI Bakery

Visual LANSA is one of the most popular low code IBM i software development platforms. It enables businesses to update their outdated systems according to modern customer needs. Businesses may more rapidly and simply create new enterprise-level applications such as mobile applications, web, and desktop applications with LANSA. Furthermore, Visual Lansa offers some important features that we listed:

Single Low-Code Language and powerful Visual Development Environment
Provides low code tools and services for digital transformation
Powerful capabilities for legacy modernization
characteristics for flexible integration
Easy deployment across multiple platforms

How To Pick A Low-Code Platform To Improve IBM i Developer Productivity?

Our low code platform should be equipped to help us meet the increasing demand for software solutions. So, when you pick a low code platform for the development of IBM i series applications, you can use the below evaluation criteria:

Use the low code platform in which separate collaborative IDEs should be available for both professional and citizen developers. Furthermore, the low code platforms should have built-in tools to facilitate real-time collaboration between IT and business throughout the development lifecycle.
Our Low code platform should have the ability of data integration with internal or external sources without compromising data security. Moreover, Check the use cases and what kind of applications we need to develop and deliver.
Low-code platforms should incorporate some set of tools and services for continuous support throughout the application development lifecycle.
The platform should offer a no-code IDE with drag-and-drop features, real-time collaboration tools, and reusable components to support developers of all skill sets. in this way, it enhances IBM i developer productivity.
The low code platform we choose should offer operational and development support for web, mobile, and conversational experiences to optimize the end-user experiences.
The platform should provide cloud support to develop scalable cloud-native apps.

Are you looking for the best low-code development platform for IBM i application development?

LANSA offers different IBM i modernization tools. Visual LANSA is one of the most popular low code platforms that enable organizations to design applications with excellent user experiences, implement workflow automation solutions, and update legacy systems.

Are you ready to begin? However, for choosing the best low code development platform for your business, Visit LANSA to experience the best low-code platform today for the low code development and the modernization of IBM i legacy solutions.

The post What Is Low Code? Development Platform Guide appeared first on LANSA.

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