On September 14th, IBM will be introducing two key technology refreshes (TRs) to the IBMi operating system that will considerably improve usability and function for engineers, developers, programmers and database managers. The refreshes, known as IBMi 7.3 TR5 and 7.2 TR9, will support the new Power Systems E980 server, while also enhancing the platform’s database, development tools and administrative interface. They offer a wide array of enhancements in the areas of functionality, storage, security and utility.

While the two TRs are essentially identical in their features and updates, there are a few notable distinctions. There are several key takeaways from these changes of which your IT department should be mindful as they endeavor to incorporate them into everyday workflow, security and operations.

Big Changes Coming to DB2 for i

There are multiple key enhancements coming to DB2 for i, IBMi’s central data base, that are meant to improve productivity and ease of use. These enhancements are coming through IBMi 7.3 TR5 and will primarily affect how programmers, developers and engineers use SQL. They include features like new ILE RPG controls that promises improved productivity for programmers; enhancements to built-in functions for SQL and business logic integration to streamline the job of developers; and improved code generation processes for performance improvement. Other key functional enhancements include, but are not limited to:
• JTOpen JDBC alternate server support to help users avoid connection drops and failures
• Unique naming controls for JSON that allow developers to avoid duplicate key names
• DECFLOAT_FORMAT built-in function integration to avoid NULL values
• Enhanced built-In NOW function produces an integer-generated timestamp for better time management
• EXTRACT enhancements with more time-value options
In addition to these functional enhancements, the DB2 for i updates will bring significant performance and management changes, including Implicit parameter marker conversion to simplify data-change-table-references.

Even More Improvements to IBMi Access Client Solutions

Continuing to improve on their game-changing Access Clients Solutions (ACS) software, IBMis rolling out a full range of new ACS enhancements, among the most notable of which is the integration of new features within the 5250 emulator. New support capabilities for Java Print Services allow users to further customize printing parameters like characters and lines per inch; support for SBCS and DBCS text; text positioning support; and support for other special assets like grid lines and barcodes. Users will also have increased capability to set page orientation and implement more intuitive scaling features.
In addition to these printing enhancements, updates to IBMi ACS will include:
• Integrated file system enhancements that allow users to view and update the specific authorities for each directory and file
• Open source package manager that allows users to view and manage the RPM distributions on IBMi
• SQL object generation improvements
• More intuitive schema features
• And More
IBM will also be providing a new graphical user interface (GUI) in ACS that lets users select which open source components to download and install to IBMi so users can skip the PeopleSoft Test Framework (PTF).

Open Source Updates

While IBM has said that there will be no new open source technologies delivered with these TRs, and that such technologies will be rolled out on an ongoing basis as they’ve always been, there are still some exciting new feature to look out for in this area that provide developers and programmers more freedom and flexibility to build their own apps and increase access to previously inaccessible tools and technologies.

Perhaps some of the most significant updates include the shift to Red Hat Package Manager (RPM) and Yellow Dog Updater Modified (Yum), which IBM previewed earlier this year in their previous TR delivery. In an effort to accelerate and strengthen its open source deliverables, these technologies will be now be standard parts of the IBMi OS.

With the full integration of Yum, users will be able to accomplish a wide range of new commands, including but not limited to:

  • Yum list installed (list installed packages)
  • Yum list available (list available packages)
  • Yum list updates (list available updates to packages)
  • Yum install <package> (install a package)
  • Yum search <package> (search for a package)

IBMi users now also have access to the latest versions of popular open source languages, including Node.js version 8 and Python version 3.6. One update of which developers should be mindful is the integration of GNU C Compiler (GCC) and surrounding toolchain, which will enable them to create apps that run in PASE, and the delivery other open source features, like autoconf, automake, pkg-config, cmake, libtool, m4, and more. RPM also offers GNU nano for easy editing of files within a terminal session, and LFTP, an FTP utility that allows users to create site mirrors and perform parallel tasks.

Make sure your company is ready to take full advantage of them and seamlessly integrate them into your daily operations.

MAP is ready to help your company fully understand, navigate and execute the changes brought about by IBMi TR5 and 7.2 TR9. Contact us today at 215-315-4175 to learn more about what we can do for your organization.