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Making IBM i Modernization Easier with Mass Conversions – Part 2

Posted by Jordan Antonoff on Apr 24, 2014 7:11:11 AM

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In part 1 of this series we talked about what a Mass Conversion is. Now it's time to get to the really interesting stuff - how a Mass Conversion works and how to get started!

So, how does a Mass Conversion work? Well, it’s pretty straightforward. The project begins with an assessment of your system including: RPG programs, CL programs, DDS source, display files and record formats. We then work closely with your development team to build a unifying conversion theme for the look and feel of your new UI. Once the theme has been defined, we work to convert your entire system from DDS to a “Rich Display File”. The new screen definition data, which is JSON, JavaScript Object Notation, is stored in a traditional DDS member using the HTML keyword supplied by the operating system. The JSON metadata outputs HTML5 to the browser. The next step is to work closely with your team to test the conversion. From there, it’s on to the really exciting part – the capability to make custom enhancements to your screens that were never before possible in green screens. Here is a list of the possibilities:

  • Merging of multiple screens into a single screen
  • Adding collapsible panels or tab panels
  • Significant screen layout change and de-abbreviation
  • Adding new input controls
  • Autocomplete text boxes
  • Dropdowns
  • Check boxes and radio buttons
  • Adding drag and drop capability
  • Adding static and/or dynamic images
  • Adding charts and graphs
  • Adding subfile column sorting

To summarize, after only a period of months, all your DDS will be converted to HTML 5. Along with this, your green screen menu system will be converted to a web based system. Here is a summary of the results:

  • Complete browser based application
  • All green screens retired
  • Display attributes converted into CSS classes that can be adjusted through external style sheets
  • Conversion of all subfiles into HTML5 grid widgets
  • Conversion of function key indicators into clickable buttons or links
    • Conversion of RPGIII to RPGLE (mass conversion requires RPGLE)
    • Optionally converting all backend code to the newer Free Format Syntax

You are most likely starting to see the benefits of a Mass Conversion, but here they are, clearly laid out for your reading pleasure:

  • Your entire IBM i system will be modernized in a fraction of the time it would normally take. A matter of only months, in comparison to 5, 6, 7 plus years saving you millions of dollars, high risk and years of frustration.
  • Remove all ties to green screen and replace with UI with HTML5 – for more benefits link to article about benefits of Profound UI
  • The risk of having to re-write custom code is completely eliminated
  • All of your backend logic that has been successfully running your business for years will be maintained. At the same time, it will be modernized to a format that will make it much easier to attract new programming talent from a variety of different backgrounds besides just RPG
  • Your green screen menu system will be replaced with a web based one, bringing forth the following benefits:
    • Providing capability to bring multiple pieces together under single-sign-on
    • Giving users the ability to search through a menu, which is very helpful for multi-level menus with large sets of options
    • Giving users customized menus based on programs and options they are authorized to
    • Providing an alternative to a traditional green screen menu where users have to drill down through multiple menus just to get where they need to and then, have to back out to the main menu, just to drill back down to get to another program
    • Allowing users to run multiple programs at once and easily switch between tabs to access them

So, if you’re evaluating ways to modernize your IBM i, or contemplating a move off the platform, reach out to us to explore a Mass Conversion. We are more than happy to do a no cost assessment that will provide you with all the details necessary to make an educated decision on what is best for your business. We’ve helped companies large and small, from a variety of industries, modernize their large scale business application systems in a fraction of the time it typically takes to modernize. The next modernized IBM i company on the block could be you!

 

Topics: RPG Development, Development

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