xactly two weeks after our fourth successful Technical Education Conference (known in the industry as TEC), we held our May Meeting of Members. As usual two sessions were presented. Two sessions that were not on the agenda of the more than 60 presented during TEC. Two excellent sessions. That is to say we have a lot to offer to our MEMBERS. Wait ‘till you see the line up for our next season!
But, let’s get back to the subject of this article.
In the future, (or maybe you’re doing it today,) do you plan to write programs in any of the “visual” languages available? Do you (plan to) write programs in VisualAge RPG? VisualAge Java? Or any other? If the answer is yes, the 5 o’clock session was for you. Réal Bédard, of Helix Data Processing Consultants, prepared a one-hour version of his usually day-long presentation of Event-Driven Programming. He spoke about how to use event-driven programming concepts to write low-cost and very easily maintainable RPG/400 Applications.
Event-driven programs are programs that respond to events, making an environment where the application program is idle until an event occurs.
Some events are: clicking of the mouse, moving the mouse, pressing a key, etc. Event-driven applications are usually thought to be Windows applications, GUI applications, Internet (through HTML) and a few other ones, but the way Réal explained it to us, I came to the conclusion that many “interactive” programs are “event-driven” programs. The methodology to follow when writing event-driven programs could very well be applied in most of what we used to call “interactive” programs.
The session was excellent and well attended. Now, it is up to us to practice what we have been taught – write better programs, (not that we are writing mediocre programs, but if this methodology can help better ourselves, why not use it?) Besides a good methodology, foresight is sometimes a good ally. For those of you who some time ago, when developing applications, were insisting on putting the century in the date fields, maybe today you are laughing, or maybe much less worried, or maybe on a pedestal being adored by your boss for that brilliant idea you had ages ago. For the rest of us, once in a while, we have to be reminded of an unavoidable event that will happen in less than 30 months from now. Simply put, the last two digits of the year will form a number of a magnitude much less than the years before: from 99 we will be going back to 00. What does that mean? What do we have to do now? What will we have to do then?
That’s why we invited our second speaker of the day – Tom Hoover, of IBM Canada, an expert on the Year 2000 problem(s).
Tom talked about potential problems with systems and/or applications that use “ambiguous dates”. These are dates with special meanings in system design, e.g. the year 00 representing “no value”; and the date 99/99/99 meaning “do not delete”, etc. Even though I, personally, have read a lot about the year 2000 problems, and participated in many meetings on the subject; Tom has been able to point out situations I had not thought about before.
Some aspects Tom mentioned regarding the Y2K are the impact on the IBM system software (Operating Systems / Program Products like RPG, COBOL), and on Business Application Software (purchased software, custom programs, queries). Tom covered the AS/400 situation, which is “operationally Y2K ready”. He also mentioned a few tricks for selling Y2K projects to your management; how to set up a plan of attack, and what to consider in a Y2K project. Besides learning a few new things, it was also good to be reminded of a few points not to be forgotten in the rest of our journey to the year 2000.
As you can see, not only TEC can offer you quality sessions. Our regular MoM’s are also a good source of information, vital to our survival in the AS/400 world and all these MoM sessions are free of charge to any employee of our members. See you at the next meeting!