To the outside world and perhaps 80% of the established IBM i community running open source applications on the IBM i operating system is irrelevant. This is a crime of monumental proportions in that folks are standing up *NIX and Windows servers while they let their IBM i’s languish with “legacy” applications. How sad for them. They are missing out on the benefits of leveraging those legacy apps with open source frameworks that could make their shops more productive, scalable and secure.
Node is getting the latest buzz on the web and in the small but active open source community on IBM i. I gotta admit that getting that first node app up was my goal (be first!) when it was first announced but my younger alter-ego, Aaron Bartell beat me to it (as usual). But getting node.js stood up as a server is only the first step. Getting a “hello world” app working is perhaps the second but the real fun is taking a few existing technologies and putting together a mashup that leverages old with new. You IBM i folks have a boatload of RPG apps, how the heck would you hook them up with node.js?
socket.io and express.js being TCP/HTTP friendly make that a good place to start! The IBM i is a rock solid HTTP server platform. There are plenty of open source technologies that leverage HTTP on IBM i so using HTTP is a logical place to start. How could we link things up so that node.js serves up apps that can communicate with and use other HTTP technologies? Well, I threw together an RPG app that uses an HTTP POST to post data to the chat application example. Check out a quick and dirty example I put together on my Github repo here. It isn’t as robust as I want it to be but I am just getting started here (and wanted to do more than just ‘Hello World’!)
Just think of the possibilities! HTTP is the perfect way to mash up all things IBM i. More to come!