Saturday, May 30, 2009

My first post: Why?

Welcome to the i-grails blog.
For my first post I will answer the self-asked question: Why? Why this blog? Why the AS/400? Why grails?

First, why this blog? Looks like a simple question, but I don't have simple answer. There are actually several reasons for creating this blog.
The first one could be that it seems fun. Many people nowadays blog, I hope I will enjoy it.
Next, is that because of internet and open source software I learned a lot. Communication and sharing opened so many possibilities for anyone, that's just great. I've been a consumer for many years, now it's time to be a producer too. If I can help one single person, I will be glad.
Finally, I like what I do, it's a passion, I like to talk about it, a blog is a great way to do it.

Why the AS/400? OK, we're not supposed to call it AS/400 anymore, but after so many years, I just can't switch every 6 month for the new name IBM invents, so AS/400 it will be. It can seem odd to talk about open source software and the AS/400 which is a very closed system. Well, I work with the AS/400 for almost 15 years now and it's very good at its job. Dr Frank Solstis, his team and IBM did a wonderful job by creating the IBM 38 and then the AS/400. TIMI and single-level-storage are nothing but brilliant ideas. There are lots of old applications running on AS/400 and lots of new things to do. That's my job and I like it.

Why grails? I've coded using many languages, from basic on an Apple II to grails, I've worked with RPG, C, Java and many others. For business apps, RPG is really efficient, you can produce quickly efficient and maintainable code. It is ideal for batch and 5250 programs, but whether it is a good idea or not, 5250 is not the future, the browser is. Of course you can make browser screens with RPG but I don't think it's the best way to go. Java is good, it is a clean and efficient language. There are very nice frameworks for web applications. For a multi-million $ project with lots of collaborating developers, that's probably the way to go.
That's not my world. I found Ruby on Rails, it is very efficient, fast, totally suitable for my needs. The problem is that they started from scratch, so it's perfect for use with mySql, but with an AS/400, things don't go that well. It's getting better, but not enough for me.
I then found groovy and grails: the power of Ruby on rails with the power of the java universe.

My current project is creating the grails jtopen plugin. This plugin will make the jtopen library more groovy. I'll give more information on the plugin on this blog.