IBM Systems Magazine, Power Systems - February 2018 - 42
be involved in selecting new
services that would be beneficial
and identifying front-end programs for web-enablement.
"Pick code that is fairly
well-contained and fairly manageable," says Diephuis. "A lot
of clients focus on the costs and
the millions of lines of code they
have, thinking it will take years
to modernize, but they should
look at the short term: 'What can
I do today to clean up the code
that I really care about?' "
As an example, Diephuis
referenced a recent proof of
concept project performed by Lab
Services. The project, which was
part of a larger database modernization initiative, took just three
weeks. First, physical files were
simply a matter of
updating old code
you need to
converted to tables. This was done
by reverse engineering the existing file definition into SQL data
definition language. Some basic
database fields were added (e.g.,
identity and last used time stamp
columns), and then a new version
of the old file was created. In all,
seven physical files and 100 associated logical files were changed.
No recompiling was necessary.
A week was needed for this
part of the job. Over the following
two weeks, some file specifications were replaced with service
programs containing procedures
that use SQL to retrieve the rows
needed. Due to the complexity of
the programs involved, not everything was replaced, but much
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Modernization isn't simply a
matter of updating old code
and applications-you need to
modernize your thinking as well.
Diephuis calls it changing mindsets. Modernization projects and
Agile development methods place
programmers and developers in
unfamiliar roles, and it's important that they not fall back into old
practices or go for quick fixes.
For instance, in their haste
to achieve some form of
web-enablement, some clients
are creating new, redundant
code. "They're getting pressure
from clients asking for web applications, so they're writing whole
new code to do their web piece,"
Diephuis says. "So now they've
got two or perhaps three sets
of code doing very similar type
things. There's a lot of risk in
doing that as opposed to changing the underlying code."
So how can mindsets be
changed? It starts with understanding and appreciating the
many little efficiencies to be
gained from modernization. The
function provided in a couple
dozen lines of old code can be replicated by a single Java procedure
or SQL statement. New business
logic can be used to create services
for web and mobile apps, breaking
the dimension of the green screen.
Take the time now and you'll save
time going forward.
"The whole idea of Java is
write once, reuse. That's also
the idea with Agile development:
write once, reuse," Diephuis
adds. "I tell a lot of my clients,
'start thinking like a Java developer.' That's where the mindset
Neil Tardy is a Rochester,
Minnesota-based freelance writer
who has been covering IBM business
technology for 20 years.
42 // FEBRUARY 2018 ibmsystemsmag.com