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Well-rounded AS/400 tool kit needs more than Java

Well-rounded AS/400 tool kit needs more than Java
By Mark Baard

Gary Patterson, president of Chicago-based NexSource, Inc., hires AS/400 consultants to support his clients in distribution, retail, manufacturing and financial services. AS/400 professionals can check out Patterson's reviews of IT-related books and his links to technical support sites at

SEARCH400.COM: What skills do you look for in the consultants and trainers you hire?

PATTERSON: We like to see knowledge of multiple platforms, electronic commerce and Internet technologies. At the top of our list are advanced AS/400 skills like RPG III, RPG IV, ILE, CL, subfiles, and APIs. Internet, data access and communications programming skills are also important. It's hard to find specialists with all of these skills.

SEARCH400.COM: How important are Java skills to you?

PATTERSON: Java's a great tool for any programmer to have in his toolbox. But we have been disappointed by the performance of Java programs running on the AS/400 JVM. Still, you should take up object-oriented languages like Java or C++ because they expand the utility of the AS/400.

SEARCH400.COM: What else should AS/400 programmers look into?

PATTERSON: You want to learn how to make legacy programs interoperate with new technologies. Start by learning RPG IV and the ILE environment. And keep up on Internet protocols, utilities and upcoming technologies. Learn how to program basic communications and data access interfaces like sockets, ODBC, JDBC and DRDA. And learn the server-side scripting and dynamic Web-page-generation tools; Java Servlets, JSP, ASP, PHP, Perl, CGI and JavaScript are all very useful.

Baard is a contributing editor in Milton, Mass.

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