Hi Nathan, always a pleasure.

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Nathan M. Andelin [mailto:nandelin@RELATIONAL-DATA.COM]
> Sent: Monday, July 15, 2002 4:47 PM
> To: web400@midrange.com
> Subject: Re: [WEB400] Re: Resort back to RPG?
> Why does your application need to be platform independent?  And if the
> answer is because the boss says so, why does the boss need it?  Just
> curious, I am.

I'm in the enviable position of deciding for my company what we need, so I
can't blame this one on the boss.  Instead, I blame this one on our rapidly
eroding potential client base.  Over the last two years we have missed out
on substantial new business opportunities simply because we are AS/400
centric.  Regardless of my best efforts, in all but one case these contracts
have gone to non-400 competitors, and that one was a hard sell to a client
that already owned a 400!

The sad truth is this: it doesn't matter what I think, it doesn't matter
what I know, and it doesn't matter how much I love the 400.  What matters is
the market and what I can get out of it for my company.  I expect many
"comments" about what I could do differently, or how I'm just not trying
hard enough, or what have you.  Not to be crass but everyone can just save
it this round cause in the end I'll be right here in the same spot with the
same needs and no legitimate alternatives.

> Have you even known of any database business application of
> substantial
> scope that was platform independent?  Is there such a thing?

Maybe I'm just not substantial :-)

I haven't really investigated other software.  If the answer is no does it
mean I shouldn't try?

I can't grow and survive on just my 400 sales, and I can't afford multiple
sets of developers/code/equipment/etc.  Platform independence to me is the
most efficient use of a single code base.  If I do it right, I can sell the
same code to AS/400, Unix, Windows, Linux, even Mac clients.  Even if for
some reason I needed different interfaces at least the business logic and
database access objects are unaffected.

> The moment
> that an application generates a spool file, or uses a data
> queue, or calls a
> system API, or incorporates a CL command, it's no longer independent.

No question you are right, that's why I haven't done any of that.  The JVM
should handle most of these questions and I will program around the ones it
does not.

> There must be hundreds of things that may lock an application
> into a single
> platform.  Even middleware vendors offer "essential" features in their
> products that eventually link the business application to a particular
> platform.

The only thing left that could tie us to a platform is the database... enter
JDBC.  There are drivers available for every major and most minor databases
out there.  I write blank copies of my database in all the major platforms
and the client determines which one they need.  As long as they have the
appropriate licenses at purchase time I'll install whichever one they need.
You got Oracle? No problem.  You got an iSeries? No problem.  You got MySQL?
No problem.  You got the idea...  Even better, 5 years down the road when
the new IT Manager decides the entire organization is switching to "SyBase
2008 Plus" they don't have to go shopping for a new vendor for their
software.  A simple conversion, change a variable in a properties file, and
they are up and running, probably for no charge.

> Is "platform-independence" now the politically correct term
> meaning that it
> must run under Wintel?  But connect with data via JDBC?

Try "CAN" run on Wintel.  Or Linux.  Or Unix.  Or Mac.  Or iSeries.  Or the
flavor-of-the-month.  Heck, most of the code base will transport to a Palm
with minimal work thanks to J2ME.  All I'm doing is letting the clients
marry the hardware instead of me.

Don't take any of this the wrong way, I still love the 400.  I run my web
business on it.  I still use it in house whenever I get the chance and
you'll have to pry DB2/400 from my cold dead fingers.  But I'm in the
business to give customers what they are willing to pay for, not to make a
valiant stand to the last with IBM.


Joel R. Cochran
Director of Internet Services

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