Talsco Weekly: The New Development Toys for the IBM i

Welcome to another edition of Talsco Weekly

Development:  The New Development Toys for the IBM i. Visual Studio Code and RPGLE.
Db2:  The hidden history of Db2.
AI:  IBMs Strategic Partnerships help AI Adoption.
Hiring:  Why It Pays to Be Sceptical About Behaviour Tests.

Development

The New Development Toys for the IBM i

“From Merlin and VSCode to RDi and RPG, good IBM i boys and girls who do their own development will get new toys to play with before Christmas, thanks to a range of new features and functions unveiled by IBM last week as part of its latest Tech Refresh for IBM i.”

I think the best way to summarize the news about the latest TRs is the feedback that IBM i Product Manager, Allison Butterill, is receiving.

“The community is so excited about this. It’s absolutely phenomenal, “I can tell you, we the IBM i leadership team are all taking multiple emails and calls a day. It’s truly an amazing tsunami of interest, is the best way to describe it.”

If you are an RPG developer and looking to take Merlin, the Modernization Engine for Lifecycle Integration, you are in luck. IBM Garage is a new sandbox environment that will let you test it out.

Other key takeaways from the article are:

IBM decoupled the official IBM i Debugger from RDi. It is now a plug-in for Merlin.
“VSCode (the Web-based development environment at the heart of Merlin)” has several enhancements to IBM i extensions that are being included with the latest TR.
“enhancements to the ILE compilers”
IBM also added support to the COBOL compiler

Visual Studio Code and RPGLE

“As RPGLE developers move into the world of git and developing in VS Code, we need to ensure that the developer tools are up to scratch alongside that. So not only do you get the power of git, but you also get these nifty developer tools.”

Here is a quick look at Project Mode, an exciting new feature of VS Code.

Db2

The hidden history of Db2

“In today’s world of complex data architectures and emerging technologies, databases can sometimes be undervalued and unrecognized. The fact is that databases are truly the engine driving better outcomes for businesses — they’re running your cloud-native apps, generating returns on your investments in AI, and the backbone supporting your data fabric strategy.”

IBM has been the forerunner in data management for decades, from commercial databases to quantum computing systems. And, IBM Db2 has been a key part of the journey.

This article tells the hidden story of a database that has been “designed to handle billions of transactions per day, powering today’s largest global operations, from banking to sustainable energy…has now turned into a hybrid, multi-cloud data ecosystem.”

AI

IBMs Strategic Partnerships help AI Adoption

IBM is building a robust ecosystem of partnerships to help increase AI adoption across all industries. They are “working to equip companies with the AI technology that they need to create more successful businesses.”

Embedded AI

“Embeddable AI is an initiative at IBM that includes a set of flexible, enterprise-grade AI products that developers can easily embed in their applications to provide an enhanced end user experience.”

There are two main products: Flexible libraries and APIs

AI as a technology is advancing at a record pace, however, organizations are asking “how important will embedded AI be in the context of IT, Automation and Modernization?”

As this piece points out there is not:

“…a single industry that AI won’t transform in the next several years. Every application and solution — from CRM, ERP, and cybersecurity to HR, e-commerce, and process automation — will have AI built into them. Some companies may be able to build their own AI from the ground up, but it requires significant investments, resources and time.”

While there are many solutions in the market, IBM is focusing on its ecosystems, specifically the independent software vendors (ISVs) for one main reason.

“The pace of innovation happening in AI across the industry is incredibly rapid and would be nearly impossible for every company to keep up with on their own – it requires a continued investment that is hard to sustain. With IBM’s embeddable AI initiative, ISVs will now be able to bring novel AI solutions to market faster at reduced costs with fit-for-purpose embeddable AI.”

“The future of AI is very uncertain, but it is coming, and we need to be prepared for it.”

Hiring

Why It Pays to Be Sceptical About Behaviour Tests

“Recent years have seen a sharp rise in interest in the field of behavioural economics, which studies how psychological, cultural and social factors can potentially influence people’s actions and behaviour. This line of thinking has entered the mainstream through popular books like 2011’s bestselling Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman, which explains how cognitive systems shape how we think and guide our everyday decision-making.”

Both policy makers and industry “have a keen interest in understanding which individuals make rational decisions, be it to design effective policies or improve talent selection processes. But while there has been much attention devoted to the potential of behavioural economic tools, there has been a lot less research into the veracity of the results derived from using such tools.”

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