Facelifting IBM i Applications Using Modernization Tools

Oct 08, 2020 Anjan Barman

Ever since its arrival over three decades ago, IBM i/AS400 has been synonymous with performance and reliability. It’s not without reason that major corporations around the world continue to bet on it for hosting mission-critical tasks of their organizations. However, as with all good things, IBM i users have their reasons to worry, causes of concern, and areas of improvement.

IBM i boasts of a solid core that’s capable of handling complex and heavy workloads but when viewed from the user’s lens, there is a desperate need for enhancement of the user experience to maintain the expected productivity levels. 30 years ago, concepts such as user interface and graphical user interface were alien to the majority of the users, with core functionality as the primary factor driving usage. Today, besides functionality, users are obsessed with the look and feel of the applications (or anything for that matter) they use. Serving the purpose is only half of the engagement equation, aesthetic value makes up for the other half.

With modern users pushing hard for the user experience of digital applications, organizations on AS400 find themselves in a desperate state of affairs to switch from the traditional green screens to GUI while retaining the sturdiness. Users no longer wish to encounter the 5250 screens which they consider archaic, bland, and even a pain to work on. They are happy with what the application can do but not with the way it looks. Also, with the experienced lot of IBM i users already retired or approaching retirement, the technology leadership is left with no choice other than embracing IBM i modernization.

Modernization might mean creating a user interface, refactoring the database, changing existing codes, and/or integrating new applications. Respecting the limitations of the blog, here we stick to green screen re-facing (for others, the website’s resources tab should help you navigate).

Due to the scarcity of IBM i/RPG specialists these days, modernizing the system is complex, inconvenient, and resource-hungry. Besides planning and budget, a major concern for businesses seeking AS400 modernization is the identification of the right AS400 modernization tool.

Enter IBM i Modernization Tools

IBM i modernization tools are used by industry experts to align RPG applications in line with the expectations of the modern user. Among the most widely-used ones, LongRange and RAMP from LANSA and Profound UI from Profound Logic top the list. Depending on the requirements of the user, whether they wish to continue with RPG or explore something like .NET, whether they want just Web tools or mobile, they can make an informed choice.

What Do IBM i Modernization tools Do?

IBM i modernization tools are leveraged by IBM i experts to transform existing RPG applications into web applications as well as build new web and mobile, GUI-based applications for IBM i/AS400 users. A reliable modernization tool helps users in

  • Transforming outdated 5250 green screen interfaces into feature-rich desktop and mobile interfaces.
  • Empowering in-house RPG teams to develop new, rich applications quickly using drag and drop interfaces.
  • Adding modern, centralized navigation to RPG applications and integrating open-source development with PHP and Node.js.

More Reasons to Embrace IBM i modernization tools

An all-encompassing tool for the modernization of IBM i applications is a user’s delight.

  • Ease of use – Drag and drop features eliminate dependency on TML, CSS, or JavaScript specialists.
  • Time/cost-efficient - Automated source code conversion and the ability to produce RPG or Node.js code without starting from scratch boost productivity and reduce costs.
  • Enhanced aesthetics – DDS Conversion tool helps retire the outdated green screens.
  • Future proof – Access to interactive charts, graphs, etc. and integration with Google Maps and other apps.
  • Native & intuitive – Native and graphical development interface to build simplified workflows for an enhanced experience.
  • Comprehensive & secure – Tool repository to build and modernize apps with built-in security measures from SQL injection.

Count on our IBM i/AS400 Expertise

At Nalashaa, we boast of seasoned IBM solutions specialists who are helping clients across industries to keep their IBM i/AS400/i Series applications current and future-ready. We help clients with modernization, migration, and long-term support of IBM applications and keep them ready to take on modern business challenges.

Join forces with us to combat your AS400/IBM i challenges.

Anjan Barman

Anjan Barman is a technology enthusiast with primary interests in the applications and possibilities of Cloud, RPA, AI, CRM, and the like in modern businesses. He loves exploring how innovations help organizations improve their efficiency while reducing the operating costs and presents the same in an atypical way. His other indulgences are non-fiction paperbacks, oriental music, and cricket.