Welcome to another edition of Talsco Weekly
- News: What Experts See Coming in 2023.
- Development: IBM i and Node.js Hackathon. Node v19.3.0 (Current) | Node.js.
- Modernization: The Mindset for Addressing Technical Debt in IBM i shops. Yet Another case for Modernization.
As we enter 2023, the experts have made a number of predictions. These predictions cross over technology, economics, and macro events.
This infographic paints an interesting year ahead (It’s not like we have not had a couple of interesting years lately).
The predictions that stand out to me as they relate to the IBM i space are the following:
Economy (inflation, GDP, recession, markets): We have been through this drill before, it will be my third pass. Challenges lie ahead, and how they affect you will depend on your company’s stability, industry, and the skills you bring to the table. We are in a reset, though I am optimistic for one main reason, there is a dire need for IBM i talent.
AI – Specifically, Open.ai with ChatGPT: If you are not familiar with ChatGPT, it will either make you nervous or curious. I am curious, and it will be interesting to see how this plays out in the IBM i community. We will touch on this later.
Energy: “The global system that supplies us with energy is breathtakingly complex, with a lot of unpredictable factors at play.” While energy here in the US is relatively stable, I believe the IBM i community in Europe, specifically, will see a more direct impact.
It is important to keep in mind, with change, comes opportunity.
What is Loopback?
Loopback is a popular Node.js framework for rapid development of REST APIs.
What is a Hackathon?
A hackathon is an in-person or online event that brings together experts to create a collaborative environment for solving a certain problem.
There is a “three-day Loopback Hackathon that starts on Tuesday, January 17, and will be held online.”
“Mark Irish, an advisory software developer with the IBM lab in Rochester, Minnesota, will lead 90-minute presentations on Loopback and IBM i for two days, and then participants can get their hands dirty with the Node.js framework running on live IBM i systems on the third day, January 19.”
The event is free for all, but you must reserve a spot by registering at this “link“.
If learning about how to use Loopback to build REST APIs based on Db2 for i tables sounds exciting to you, then you won’t want to miss next week’s free Loopback Hackathon.
For IBM i Developers coding in Node.js or those starting to dabble, there is a minor update with Node v19.3.0. Find the release notes here.
At the heart of IBM i modernization is technical debt.
It is important to keep in mind that technical debt is the Achilles’ heel of virtually any IT shop, no matter what your technology stack looks like.
As IBM i shops look towards modernization and digital transformation, it is important to have an “investment mindset” to avoid technical debt.
This article highlights five ways that IBM i shops can combat wasted “platform expenditure and the cost of technical debt.”
1. View your IBM i ecosystems as an investment, not a cost.: “Using investment optics means taking a long-term view, being prepared to spend on platform maintenance, and adopting a continuous delivery mindset.”
2. Avoid capturing technical debt.: “Adopting a continuous improvement mindset helps companies manage performance and avoid technical debt from day one.”
3. The mindset of continuous improvement: Once a new platform is launched, it is important to be “constantly examining and reviewing performance, and ensuring it is meeting agreed metrics. If you don’t, it won’t be long before you will again be looking at issues created by technical debt.
4. Data-Driven Approach: CTOs will need to prove how “technology enablement contributes to the business’s growth and performance. A data-driven, service-oriented and investment-based approach means the link between expenditure, performance, and revenues can be routinely monitored and improved.”
5. Embrace Continuous Delivery: “As enterprises move away from monolithic IT architectures to more agile composable models, they can find themselves pushing in different directions. A continuous delivery mindset will focus on maximizing each of these moving parts’ performance and preventing the entire IT ecosystem from becoming sub-optimal or gridlocked.”
IT Jungle’s article this week, “Lessons from Southwest’s IT Debacle,” highlights the devastating costs of not modernizing legacy systems.
There was a breakdown with “Sky Solver, the application designed to match airline crews with flights in the Southwest network.”
“The volume of transactions exceeded what the application was designed to handle, and it essentially crashed, forcing the airline to manually build flight schedules.”
While there was a call to replace Sky Solver (or modernize it) back in 2017, nothing was done. Sound familiar?
This “has exposed a major weakness in the company’s operations, one that is expected to lead to the public company taking an estimated 3 percent to 5 percent hit on fourth-quarter earnings.” Not to mention their reputation.
Like in many organizations, the call to modernize applications is there, but unfortunately, many never get started due to a lack of understanding, commitment, and most importantly, leadership.
The Silver Lining.
This should be a wake-up call to the rest of us that issues from aging legacy applications happen all of the time. Don’t let it happen to you.
“As tedious as modernization initiatives tend to be, they are necessary exercises to prepare the company for the real-world conditions it will inevitably face.”
The first step is to “prioritize our technological needs, figure out where the pain points are, and start to attack those now to get some quick wins.”
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