Catching Up on Our Reading
We were catching up with some of our reading backlog and came upon Tim Rowe's blog on Java application servers for IBM i. For us the most interesting news was that there's a new version of Websphere Application Server (WAS), known as the Liberty Profile, which should resolve one of the issues we've always had with WAS: application deployment. We still shudder at the memory of the bad old days of WAS when we were first teaching people WebFacing and trying to deal with the deployment issues that arose. Over the years things have improved tremendously--but it always struck us as being more complex than necessary. With this new version it seems that is all in the past.
Deployment in Liberty is apparently as simple as dragging the app into the runtime directory and it gets started automagically. We've got used to this level of simplicity with deploying PHP applications--nice to think that we'll be able to do the same with Java apps. One other interesting feature is the fact that Liberty allows you to bundle the server itself, along with its configuration detail, into the delivery package. That's nice.
IBM i Access Client Solutions (ACS)
This has been in technology preview for some time now and has now been GA'd. You can find the details on how to obtain the GA version on this Web page. Note that you'll have to scroll down a bit as the top of the page still talks to the technology preview. We've been using this on our Macs since we blogged about it back in July 2012. It still has a few rough edges, but we're hoping they will have been smoothed out in the GA version. From the screen shots we've seen it certainly looks a lot cleaner. Of course this is just going to make us even more frustrated that we can't get a native version of RDi but we know it is on IBM's to-do list. We've heard that one of the major barriers to the Mac port is the verifier. While we like the verifier a lot, if living without it means we can get a native Mac version sooner we're all for it.