A few weeks ago, a customer of ours asked if Eradani could provide them with a dashboard for tracking all the API calls that were coming into their IBM i. They wanted charts and graphs that would show them at a glance how much API activity was occurring, what kind of response times their customers were experiencing and the rate of errors in API calls. If there were errors, they wanted to be able to drill down into the error messages to trouble shoot the problem. It was a big application that would take a lot of time to build. Rather than spend months designing and coding this dashboard, our developers asked the question: Has someone already built this?
With a brief web search, they found a widely used, open module for providing exactly that kind of dashboard. The module (https://www.npmjs.com/package/swagger-stats) was being downloaded over 15,000 times per week so they knew it would be well tested and secure. They downloaded the module and within minutes had integrated it into our Eradani Connect API Enablement software for IBM i. By using an existing component, we were able to deliver a great new feature to our customers in just a few days rather than in the several months it would have taken to develop comparable capability. And the best thing was that since it is open, it is free to our customers!
We had a similar experience when a customer asked for help in replacing IBM’s deprecated Advanced Function Print capabilities for printing bar codes. We were able to find a popular open source component that provided all the functions they needed. With Eradani Connect, they were able to call the Open Source code right from their RPG application – it only took a few lines of code.
We have other customers who have asked to add graphical dashboarding and analytics to their applications…same story, why build when easily available open source components are available to assemble?
These are just a couple examples of the significant impact the Open Source world is having on the IBM i community. The time savings and productivity increases your development team can realize using open source components for ecommerce, for connecting IoT devices, for enhancing user interfaces, for machine learning are dramatic and growing. And more components are being created every day. By accessing these components from your RPG code, you can dramatically increase the speed of innovation on the IBM i.
IBM’s great support for Open Source on the IBM i combined with the availability of several million open source components creates a powerful new way to enhance our existing applications. The possibilities are practically unlimited. When end users ask us for new capabilities, rather than jumping in and writing code, we should ask the question “Has somebody already written this?”