We live in Canada and consequently our Thanksgiving was in a few weeks ago. However, as in most years, we were working in the U.S. that day, so we tend to celebrate in November. So as we near the Thanksgiving celebration, our thoughts turn to things we are particularly thankful for.
We have many personal things we are thankful for. These include our health (including our wonderful Canadian healthcare system), our families (including four exceptional grandchildren), our home (which we sometimes wish we could spend more time in than we do), and many more things that we could go on for hours listing. We are truly blessed.
But in this post, we thought we'd concentrate on those things related to our work with IBM i that we're particularly thankful for.
First of all, we're grateful to still have work and a good income, despite the state of the economy. We know many who are not so fortunate. Many IBM i shops seem to have decided that an uncertain economy is a good time to exploit their investment in existing applications by moving them forward, enhancing their applications' value and the developers' productivity. That just happens to be our specialty, so it has worked out well for us.
We're grateful that the developers of our favorite programming language--RPG--have never even considered resting on their laurels. They could have simply cashed in on the maintenance revenue stream for applications running the businesses of thousands of companies worldwide. Instead, they have continually made the language more modern (/Free, data structure enhancements), more powerful (native XML processing, enhanced file handling), and especially recently, more easily expandable (via RPG Open Access or OA--more on OA in a moment)
We thank our lucky stars every day for RSE (the toolset currently packaged in RDP, earlier in RDi and WDSC). It's almost painful to recall our days of SEU development, with DSPFFD to get externally described field names and spooled compiler listings to find compile errors (shudder!).
And we're delighted that Rochester has given us a new friend to play with by embracing PHP on our favorite platform. If nothing else, PHP allows us to breathe a sigh of relief that we don't have to keep beating our heads against the Java brick wall. PHP gives us another option for a modern, browser-oriented language environment that lets us use OO to the extent we choose and offers an amazing wealth of open-source tools and applications. All with relatively simple integration to RPG applications and IBM i function. And best of all, it makes sense to those of us with RPG brains.
We said we'd come back to RPG OA. That's simply so that we can remind you that it was about a year ago that we made a plea for rational thought (pun intended) to prevail related to the Ts and Cs for OA. We have seen some progress. A trial version is available, at last. But we're still waiting for the true solution that we still hope will come--OA support to be included free-of-charge with either the OS or the RPG compiler. We have read rumors to the effect that we may not have much longer to wait for this. It would make a really nice present to find wrapped up under our Christmas tree!
Most of all, we're simply thankful to have had the opportunity to make a career working on the best platform on the planet for business applications.
Last, but by no means least, we're very thankful to all the readers of this blog. When the IBM Systems Magazine folks asked us to begin writing this some years ago, our first reaction was "but who would want to read what we have to say every week?" Well, apparently, quite a few of you would. We're gratified and humbled at the number of you reading our weekly posts. Thank you all.
And a very happy Thanksgiving to all--whether in the USA or elsewhere--we all have a lot to be thankful for.