IBM i, being an integrated operating environment, has tremendous capabilities. A few of us in the development lab in Rochester have wanted to find a more direct way to share all of the great things done to improve and enhance IBM i. We document the enhancements in the IBM i Information Center, but outside of our marketing information, it's hard to find a nice summary of "What's new in IBM i 6.1" (or whatever release you’re interested in.) You have to scour the IBM i Information Center for the "What's New" topics scattered throughout the documentation, or look through the information and see what has been identified as being changed. And even then, not everything may be there. Many enhancements have been delivered via PTFs for current releases and the documentation is generally in the PTF cover letter --and I suspect most of you don’t read all the PTF cover letters! Plus there are no change flags on command documentation, so you have to manually compare to figure what, if anything, has changed. The documentation provided by IBM also tends to be very task oriented -- it tells you how to do something, but it may not tell you why you care. In fact, the same concern was raised in the blog by Susan Gantner and Jon Paris a while back, and it pointed out to us that there was a need for a more interactive, direct method of spreading the word about the capabilities of IBM i.
The intent of this new blog is to share the “hidden gems” within IBM i. The name “i Can” is to convey the fact that IBM i can do even more than most realize. The updates to this blog will generally be information about the latest features in the most current releases of 5.4 and 6.1. I hope to also provide some insight into why you may actually be interested in something you didn't realize you should know about.
As I’ve been planning what I'll be
writing about, I discovered something -- there are a lot of enhancements and
features that even the leading experts within the development lab weren’t aware
of. If we within the development lab have a hard time knowing the full
capabilities of our beloved operating system, how much more challenging it must
be for those of you who are users of it!
And who am I? I've been working on
the IBM i and its predecessors my whole career, all of which has been at IBM in
Rochester. I’ve generally been part of the team that works on the “little
things” that provide good value for our customers and rarely been part of major
announcements within a release. Thus, sharing information about the hidden gems
has always been something I thought we could do better, and now the opportunity
to do just that is here. I have technical leadership responsibilities on IBM i
in what I call the “core” technologies - work management, messaging, output and
print management, security, networking, performance and diagnostic tools,
install/upgrade, etc... -- most of the things that we've had on i forever; those
things that are central to the integrated value of what i provides.
I'm thrilled to have this opportunity to share information via this blog. But this blog won't be written by me alone; we'll have developers from the lab share their expertise through this blog as well. In my (very biased) personal opinion, the i development lab in Rochester is second to none. I find it amazing what that team can accomplish! We just need to do a better job of getting the word out about everything that i can do. If there are topics that you want to hear more about, please let me know! And please provide your input and feedback via blog comments.