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Archive for November, 2013

Geekish Garrulous Grumblings blogs › Talking to Authorize.net using XML, RPG from IBM i

November 30th, 2013 Comments off

So, for the last few weeks I've been working on adding credit card handling to a legacy RPG application with an static HTML website over the top. The application code itself was written in the eighties and has evolved through a number of different versions of RPG (a mix of RPG2, RPG3, RPG400 and even a liberal splash of RPGLE) so I've had an enjoyable task of taking a bunch of old code, re-factoring to RPGLE/free and then adding some funky web services.

Now I've added the Authorize.net CIM functions and windows to my website pages, I can manually test the payment process. Now, the authorize.net documentation is not for noobs and makes an awful lots of assumptions, so implementing this technique on IBM i (AS400) using RPG, without a modern PHP Server on the front, is not as clear as it seems.  After reading everything I could on the various SOAP, XML, JAVA, RUBY techniques - I've opted for the XML route.

The next step is setting up the XML conversation to this lovely IBM i System talk to Authorize.net. After two days of googling, reading, studying, prototyping, re-prototyping, going down dead ends, trying sample code that doesn't work and repeating moaning and smacking my forehead with a wooden paddle.

So I want to


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You and i › IBM i and RPG — in China, Japan

November 18th, 2013 Comments off
For the past several weeks, I have been very busy with customer engagements. I was in Orlando for the Enterprise 2013 conference, where I had...


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Geekish Garrulous Grumblings blogs › Shall we Disqus why Drupal Comments are Dead?

November 14th, 2013 Comments off

Spammers... I bloody hate them.

Over the last few weeks, I've had a rash of spam attacks. The modules I was using to modulate spam (Mollom, Antispam, Botcha) worked very well in blocking the huge portion of it. The downside was a big upsurge in CPU utilization on my webserver and finally getting a 'cease and desist' warning from the website abuse folks over at ICDSOFT. *sigh*

So, rather than continue to fight the evil Spam OverLords I decide to travel a different route and let someone fight the battle for me. Why handle the website comments myself when I can let an third party handle them for me.... after a little investigation I was left thinking "Facebook comments or something else to handle it?"

Facebook integration is cumbersome and my memories of doing it last time were not something I want to play with again. There is not enough hours in the day.

DISQUS is very cool.

Enough Said.

Integration of DISQUS in a Druapl7 install is simple. Grab the module from here and plop it into Drupal, then create an APP over on disqus.com for your website and add the APP Keys into your Drupal and VOILA fully managed commenting service. 

Instruction from Disqus are easy to walk through:

 


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Geekish Garrulous Grumblings blogs › Latest version of RPG is RPG7.1 right?

November 13th, 2013 Comments off

 

RPG is not a Rocket Propelled Grenade

RPG2 is that Logic Cycle Thing

RPG3 is the System/38 version

RPG400 is the revamped RPG3 that came with AS400

​everything after that is RPG... unless its ILE then its RPGLE or sometimes RPGiV, or its free format so its RPGLE /Free... or its SQL so its RPGSQL or SQLRPGLE... or as many people call RPG/Free - RPG FIVE..... aaaargh

Why doesn't IBM just have a simple version number for each iteration of the wonderful IBM RPG programming language?

IBM i 7.1 Technology Release 7


I love the enhancements to RPG with IBM i V7.1.7. RPG finally looks and reads like a normal modern language. With the advent of this latest version of IBM i, RPG has been neatly upgraded to be a fully free format language. This is a long overdue and a significant change to the language itself. 


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Geekish Garrulous Grumblings blogs › RPG gets a facelift with IBM i 7.1 TR7

November 13th, 2013 Comments off

I'm loving the new changes to RPGLE with IBM i 7.1 TR7 (that is Technology Release 7). Not to be confused with the awesome Triumph TR7, the sexy pop-up headlight car from the eighties, but I digress...

  • Removal of many unnecessary specifications like F, or P
  • /free /endfree is gone
  • the long procedure and variable names are gone and replaced by dcl-pr instead

Looking at RPG code in the editor, and it actually looks like a modern language *shock*

RPG upgrade with ibmi 71

IBM, quite predictably, is pushing the use of Rational Developer for i (RDi) as all the new coding functions are not available from SEU, PDM or SDA etc. Green screen is dying, get with the program. RDi (Rational Developer for IBM i) is supposedly solid and has been rewritten from the ground up to be smooth and error free. IMHO - it needs to be $free to be an explosive success. Can you hear me IBM?

Rational Developer for i V9: RPG & Cobol Tools + Modernization Tools + Java Tools


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Geekish Garrulous Grumblings blogs › SQL RPG and the annoying compile COMMIT *NONE thing

November 12th, 2013 Comments off

SQL has been a major game changer in the RPG programming world.

I first played with SQL back the golden days of RPG3 and RPG400 when we were all wrapped up in using Commitment Control. Journalling files and making changes to data in our RPGSQL programs before issuing a COMMIT or ROLLBACK was exciting and new. Roll forward a few years and database access times have massively increased and the entire concept of commitment control is not something we focus on so much in the RPG programming world.

Because of this history, in modern RPG4 SQL programs, we still have to tell the program not to use commitment if we don't want to use it. This also means you can use embedded SQL in RPG4 programs without journaling your files.

COMPILE TIME PARAMETER

The easiest way is to enter the create parameter of COMMIT(*NONE) thing so it turns it off after the first commit without the isolation level nonsense.

CRT RPG SQL


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Bob Cancilla on IBM i › What is happening to IBM?

November 6th, 2013 Comments off
Read Bob Cringely's blog on IBM! He talks about some failed IBM consulting projects and the reason for the failures.  Cringely points out that IBM works very hard to spell out a services contract that spells out exactly what the customer wants and that is exactly what they do.

On the surface it sounds exactly like what you would want from a services vendor doesn't it?

Well, what if, what the customer wants is not what they need or what they really meant?

In over 40 years of systems analysis, design, and managing multi-million dollar system projects it has become crystal clear that users can rarely articulate their requirements clearly.  In fact many system development methodologies today work on defining, reviewing, and revising requirements, often based on prototypes of the proposed applications.

Often the user who defines the requirements is not the user of the system and while doing the best they can does not really understand the requirements.

A good consultant or employee performing project management and development or even implementing vendor software must understand the requirements of the user and make sure everyone involved understands them also.

IBM's entire culture today is to "give the customer what they want" or at least "what they ask for" even if that is not the right thing.  IBM of old worked hard to give the customer what they needed and guide them to what was the right solution…  Sadly, not today's IBM…


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DB2 for i › Big Data Analytics: an Example

November 1st, 2013 Comments off
During virtually ever presentation I've made this year I've been asked about "big data"...

What is it?
Why is it?
Can IBM i do it?

My brief answer usually takes the form of both a description, followed by a question back.

The subjective and objective description of Big Data and the notion of analytics have been covered here and in many other places, so I'll spare you the repetition. Do be aware that Big Data is so hot right now, everyone is jumping on the band wagon - using the phrase as a way to associate their products and services with the latest trend. Combining "Big Data" and "Cloud" results in a hurricane of marketing hype that is vast and powerful.

In my quest to provide clarity and understanding, the question I pose back to the audience goes something like this:

"Do YOU have big data, and do YOU have a requirement to analyze it"?

Most folks stare back at me, wondering whether they do or not. To help them really understand my question, I offer a simple (and favorite) example of Big Data Analytics:

"Imagine the capture and analysis of every tweet flowing through Twitter on a daily basis".

To be sure, most folks in my audience are not taking full advantage of the data they have in house now, much less able and willing to make use of the truly massive amounts of data flowing past their internet doorstep.

A Real Live Example


Lo and behold while traveling this week, I read an article that crisply illustrates my default example of Big Data Analytics.  The article highlights a new startup, Social Market Analytics, that looks at all the tweets pulsing through the world wide network.

They analyze the messages to develop a profile based on the Twitter "chatter" about a given company traded publicly on the stock market. The resulting profile and corresponding scoring of the dialog will (hopefully) provide to investors a crystal ball of sorts. At least that's what they are telling potential users of the service.

If you want to read the article for yourself (and I recommend you take time to do so), it appears in the October 15, 2013 edition of American Way Magazine.

And if you are still wondering what it takes to handle big data, imagine trolling through 400 million tweets per day, looking for the few pearl laden oysters, in near real time!


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