Why I Dislike Code Generators

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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CAAC Bends IBM’s Ear

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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SOPA / PIPA Blackout

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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Perhaps I spoke too soon?

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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Al Barsa Challenge 2011 – Follow up

I’m pleased to announce that we met all the goals set for the 2011 Al Barsa Challenge!

We received $2330 in contributions and had $4050 in matching donations for a total of $6380.

Thanks to …

Amanda Shaw, Leo Whitakar, Laura Ubelhor, Jon Anglis, David Willenborg, John Voris, Sharon Bodine, Guy Vig, Jenniefer Halverson, Marty Acks, Ilena Ayala, Michael Ryan, Carl Novit, Kirk Goins, Bryce Martin, Michael  Smith, Henrik Rutzou, Mike Naughton, Glenn Erickson, Diane Saunders, Rory Hewitt, Ronald Sposito, Paul Rogers / New Hampshire Midrange Users Group, Sharon Bodine, Philip Seay, and two anonymous donors (and apologies to anyone I might have missed, please email me if you would like to be mentioned).

And special thanks to my matching donors …

Pete Helgren – Value Added Software
Jerry Adams
Larry Bolhuis – Franken i
Jim Obherholtzer – Agile Technology Architects
Pete Massiello – iTech Solutions
John Earl – Townsend Security
Kevin Mort – Flagship Solutions Group

I’m confident that Al would be proud of our community.

Now that we’ve raised funds for the Al Barsa Memorial Scholarship … we need people to actually RECEIVE the scholarship.

If you know someone who exemplifies the commitment and passion to IBM i and it’s community that Al had, please consider nominating them for the scholarship.

You can download the nomination form from the COMMON Education Foundation section of the COMMON web site.

Please note: While the Al Barsa Challenge is over for this year … contributions can still be made via the COMMON Education Foundation page and, to the extent allowed by law, are tax deductible in the year that they are made.

Al Barsa Challenge 2011

Last year, I challenged the IBM i community to raise funds for the Al Barsa Memorial Scholarship. Thanks to your contributions and some generous matching grantors, we raised $2,860.

I think we can exceed that excellent figure.

This time, we have even more matching grantors on board, each one contributing a dollar for dollar match. For example, midrange.com and Jim Oberholtzer of Agile Technology Architects will match up to $300, while Larry Bolhuis of Franken i, Pete Helgren of Value Added Software, Jerry Adams, and Pete Massiello of iTech Solutions will each match up to $500.

So if we can raise $500 … we’ll have a total of $3100.

Ratcheting up the generosity, John Earl of Townsend Security will match all contributions above $500 (up to $500).

This would make the total $4100.

Update 5-Dec: Kevin Mort of Flagship Solutions Group / GlobalMind Technology Consulting (and one of Frankies minders) is raising the bar on the challenge … he’s offered to do a dollar for dollar match on everything we can raise over $500 (to a maximum of $500).

This makes the grand total $4600!

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IBM Power Systems Champions

Recently IBM announced a new category for their Champions program … Power Systems Champions.

I was honored to be one of the first community members inducted into the new category.

IBM Champions are IT professionals, developers, and educators who lead and mentor others and help them make best use of IBM solutions and services. Get to know the IBM Champions for Power Systems! Start by clicking their photos to see their full profiles in the developerWorks community.

In addition to myself, the following IBM i community members were inducted …

The announcement was made at the IBM Technical University conference in Miami … although I was unable to attend, someone did get a video and posted it to YouTube … you can view it here:
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The Green Screen Sucks, And Other Heresy

For years we have been hearing of its demise, even IBM tried to drive a stake through it’s heart with the much fangled Java? but ye old 5250 emulation, also known as green screen, and the programs written to run on it just won’t die.

After eleven years as an administrator, programmer and manager using the AS/400 and now the IBM i Power System, I still hear that frequently murmured phrase; green screen what? Frankly people need to realize that to do things the right way it’s about using the right tool for the job.

It’s not new, cool and it is definitely not sexy. The CIO might not like to talk about it at the IT steering committee meetings, but the character based green screen programs excel particularly when it comes to heads down data entry which typify most development on the IBM i. That is just a fact.

Do you want something flashy and alluring or something that actually works?

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RPG Open Access: Free Trial

Well … it’s getting closer at least.

According to Jon Paris & Susan Gantner’s blog iDevelop, you can now get the standard 70 day trial for RPG Open Access.

Details can be found on the IBM Announcement letter.

I still think the feature needs to be included in the OS … but at least you can trial a vendors product that uses the feature without having to buy it.