Talsco Weekly: Why is Node.js good for the IBM i?

Welcome to another edition of Talsco Weekly

News:  IBM Senior Leadership Changes.
Modernization:  Application Modernization Field Guide.
Development:  Why is Node.js good for the IBM i?
Data:  Set a Smart Data Strategy for Success. The Embedded Future of Analytics and AI.

News

IBM Senior Leadership Changes

Here are some recent leadership changes at IBM.

Obed Louissaint, IBM’s SVP of Transformation and Culture, will become Aptiv’s CHRO on December 31. And, Joanne Wright will be the new Transformation and Operations SVP.

Obed Louissaint
Obed launched Watson’s culture and people processes at IBM after 21 years. He created Consulting Delivery Centers and IBM’s enterprise skills management model, including AI Academy and Cloud Academy, with senior leadership.

Joanne Wright
Joanne has led IBM procurement, manufacturing, supply chain, and operations for nearly 25 years. She automated the quote-to-cash process and made IBM client zero for our advanced analytics technology. She will continue with business transformation and focus on streamlining the company with automation and intelligent workflows.

Modernization

Application Modernization Field Guide

Here is an Application Modernization Field Guide put out by IBM. As the IBM i community already understands, application modernization is no easy task. Like many things in life, modernization projects have been either kick down the road or started and restarted. While this guide seems to be focused on the cloud aspect of modernization, it does offer some good, in-depth guidance on how to choose the approach that best meets your needs.

Development

Why is Node.js good for the IBM i?

Over the past couple of years, Node.js has really gained some traction in the IBM i community. And it’s more than just IBM. Various software vendors or consulting firms are talking about Node.js. It’s the customer base.

Many of our clients have requested that we find full-stack IBM i developers with experience in modern RPG, SQL RESTful, Javascript, and Node.js.

The History of Node.js

Node.js made its debut back in November 2009 when Ryan Dahl (creator of Node.js) did his original Node.js talk. To learn more, go to “the History of Node.js.” You will find a year-by-year history of Node.js.

Open Source and the IBM i

Open source development on the IBM i has been around since the early 2000s, if not before.

“It started with the Apache web server, then Java, then PHP and MySQL, Ruby, Node.js, Python, and even more you haven’t even heard of”

History of languages on the IBM i (rough timeline):

Java goes back to around 2004. (It was kind of a mess. See the “Java Quagmire” to learn more.)
PHP goes back to around 2005.
Python goes back to around 2006.
Ruby goes back to around 2009.
Node.js becomes available on the IBM i in 2014“.

Node.js catches its stride

Node.js became mainstream in 2017, which is around the same time we started seeing it pop up in the IBM i community. The date on the linked article here is May of 2016.

Why is Node.js good for the IBM i?

Node.js has one big advantage over other languages in that you have a single language for both the client and the server.

This is significant because,

“web applications usually have “front-end” and “back-end” developers because few people can do both. There is simply not enough time in a day to keep up with ever-changing languages, syntaxes, and frameworks. In the RPG green screen programming model, a single developer could code a complete application (i.e., order entry, inventory, shipping, etc.). How? because the technology wasn’t as complicated. I don’t think web programming will ever be as straightforward as RPG plus *DSPF, but Node.js is the closest we’ve come on a handful of fronts because it reduces the amount of technology one person needs to maintain.” – Aaron Bartell

What Aaron Bartell wrote about back in 2016 seems to have played out and is gaining steam.

JavaScript and Node.js are starting to become the go-to choice for web application development on the IBM i.

Is Node.js the only path forward for the IBM i? Of course not, but it, along with “Javascript, are starting to become the go-to choice for web application development on the IBM i.”

Regardless, the future of the IBM i is here.

Data

Set a Smart Data Strategy for Success

Data is at the heart of the business. There is a debate about where that data should live on-prem or in the cloud. But, does it really matter?

Many experts say where your data lives is less important than what you do with it.

The discussion should center around defining business objectives then determining if the cloud or on-prem is the best choice.

“Wherever you put your data, remember to start at the end — that is, the outcome you wish to achieve — and work backward from there.”

The Embedded Future of Analytics and AI

The Big Data Revolution has been around for while, though access to data and data tools is still largely restricted to a select few.

In most companies, “It’s the BI dashboard-wielding business analysts who ask tough questions and the data scientists who really dig in to spot patterns and anomalies that can be monetized.” In other words, they are a small part of an organization’s day-to-day work.

What about all the other workers? The ones that do the day-to-day work.

Currently, “80% of all employees don’t leverage BI or insights because it takes skills and learning, according to Gartner.”

This will all change in the future with embedded analytics and artificial intelligence. It will be the next push for Big Data.

To learn more how embedded analytics and AI could help your organization click here.

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