midrange.com – In My Humble Opinion

Words of wisdom and insight from the IBM i (System i / iSeries / AS400) community

Happy Birthday IBM i!

This video was taken during the 2013 COMMON Annual Meeting & Conference in Austin.

Unfortunately they didn’t include my wishing IBM i a Happy Birthday (where I promised not to sing).

I have to say, IBM i (formerly System i, iSeries, & AS/400) has been extraordinarily good to me and my career.

I got involved in the IBM ‘midrange’ platform while working for my uncle’s company (ALP Lighting) reporting to my dad, who was the IT manager, as a Jr. Programmer.

From there I worked as a developer for a number of companies … starting on the S/36 and advancing to the AS/400 almost as soon as it was released.  I remember going to the product announcement event down town at (I think) the Blackstone Theater.  The “Silverlake” was such a poorly kept secret, they started the event by playing Marvin Gaye’s “I heard it through the grape vine”.

As it happens, midrange.com will be 20 years old this September.

Recently the Power Systems Academic Initiative launched a Power Systems Job Board featuring entry level and internship positions:  powersystemsjobs.com.

If you are a Job Seeker you will find a list of computer-related technology jobs available today in business, health care, government, and other organizations that are looking for skills to satisfy their Information Technology needs. Each posting clearly defines the opportunity, requirements and preferred contact information. Our IBM Power Systems Academic Initiative staff updates the page daily.

If you are an employer we encourage you to list your IBM Power Systems/IT-related job opportunities with us.  The IBM Power System Academic Initiative membership in North America includes over 50 colleges and universities teaching IBM i, AIX and Linux skills. Students learning these skills are eager to reach out to you and become part of your business team. Job posting is very simple – no registration, no membership, no password, and no fees. Simply contact our IBM Power Systems Academic Initiative staff and we’ll do all the work involved.

19 Years


Today is midrange.com’s 19th birthday (using the domain registration date).

Next year will (obviously) be 20 years that midrange.com will have been providing free resources to the IBM i (System i, iSeries, & AS/400) community.

We need something to mark the event.

I’ve got some ideas … but would be interested in hearing what the community thinks.

Post your ideas in the comments section.


Command Defaults


This may seem to be a no-brainer … but it’s very important to NOT change command parameter defaults on commands in the QSYS library.

This is especially true if you use 3rd party software that may not expect your commands to have different defaults.

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If you are still cranking out the traditional physical and logical file with DDS I think it’s time to get up to speed with SQL for both creating and querying files. For a long time I held onto using DDS, but with the capabilities in SQL if you are still clinging to DDS I think you are blowing it big time like I was. Let me explain.

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Editors note: The following is a post by guest author Justin Porter who is a candidate for the COMMON Board of Directors.

COMMON has survived quite well through the financial crisis—in no small part due to the dedication of its members, volunteers and staff who wish to see COMMON continue providing top quality education into the future.  Now past its fiftieth birthday, COMMON’s future looks as bright as that of the platform we represent.  Looking to the future, we must begin to answer the question of “where is our next generation of members?”  This very question is the reason I have become involved with COMMON as a volunteer over the last several years—I want very much to be a part of the answer to that question. continue reading…

NOTE: The following is an OPINION and does not have any bearing on how easy or hard a particular language / application is to use.

Those of you who follow the midrange.com lists probably are aware that I’m not a big fan of application code generators.

This includes (but is not limited to) …

  • Case Tools (AS/SET, Synon, etc)
  • EGL
  • SQL Pre-processors (RPG SQL, COBOL SQL, etc)
  • JSP (to a limited extent)
  • Various 3rd party application generators

The reason is simple … the code you write is not the code that executes.

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This post is written by guest blogger Michelle August

The CAAC (COMMON Americas Advisory Council) called snowy, icy Rochester home for three days in early December. They started off the meeting with a warm welcome from Dave Nelson and a Power Systems Update from Ian Jarman. This great start to the meeting set the tone for the remaining days as the CAAC heard from the Power Systems Application Development team, the Systems and Technology group, and the Marketing group, as well as participated in a tour of some of IBM’s environmental test labs.

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Update 16-Jan-2012: Looks like the SOPA bill has been killed in the house, although the senate version is still alive.  We will still be observing the blackout on the 18th.

Just a word of warning … on January 18th, between the hours of 8am and 8pm, the midrange.com mailing list archives will be observing a temporary blackout.

Don’t worry, the archives won’t be totally unavailable … but the first time you visit the archives that day you will be presented with a screen demonstrating what could happen to midrange.com if SOPA is passed.

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At work I’ve been splitting my time between two projects … one project is IBM i based using RPG … the other is Windows/*nix based using Java.

One of my gripes about the other project is that that some of the error messages we get are difficult to figure out because we don’t get enough information.  The errors tend to be quite general without any specifics as to what caused it.

Errors on IBM i are never like that … there’s tons of details as to what caused the error, including what program … details as to the cause, reason codes, etc.

So today I’m looking at a joblog, related to a customers problem, and see the cause of the issue … a CPFA0A2 error.

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