IBM says it is working on a massive new "IBM i application modernization" Redbook.
Something fishy has been going on at IBM, so we reached out to Alison Butterill, IBM's worldwide IBM i product offering manager, to get some answers.
Q. Say, what’s this we hear about IBM snapping up IBM i experts from around the world and flying them off to Rochester? What’s going on? Are they really sequestered in dorm rooms?
A. Yes. We have been very lucky that many recognized application modernization experts from the IBM i community have agreed to participate in a very aggressive project—writing a Redbook on application modernization. They are sharing their experience and skill by writing chapters about technologies and techniques. It is extremely exciting and extremely comprehensive. The residency is being held in Rochester, and many members of the IBM Lab-Based Services Team are participating as well. It's easier to find a room in which we could lock them away until their pieces of the book are completed!
Q. Do they have to produce something really good before you actually release them back into the wild? What are the parameters here? Something like, “You can go back to your family after you finish the chapter! And no typos!”
A. Oh no. If this book turns out as well as we think, we are keeping these experts in Rochester forever!
Q. Some rumors imply they're excited and fly into Rochester willingly. Is this really going to be an awesome Redbook or what?
A. The team has commented more than once that this is the most comprehensive piece of work covering application modernization that has been produced. It is a very aggressive project and I cannot repeat enough that we are extremely lucky to have so many industry leaders willing to participate. Participants come from customers, business partners, ISVs, and many areas of IBM.
Q. Tell us more about the content. What can we expect to see?
A. This is a soup-to-nuts book, or perhaps A to Z. There will be sections on modernizing the database, modernizing the user interface in a variety of ways, modernizing application flow, measuring modernization activities, and many, many more.
There will be an eBook available covering all of our experts' writings. This will focus on the technologies available and review each one and how/where to use them. Part 2 of the eBook is like a Solution Guide. We have invited vendors to participate, and we have asked them to submit solution briefs about their products, slotting them into the same topical technology areas covered in Part 1. We have invited many vendors to participate. It's not too late for more tool vendors to let us know that they want their product listed.
Q. Oh, and when? Anything before the holidays?
A. Which holidays? Depends on where you live. The team is working heads-down now. Once the initial writing is completed, it will go through editing and then review, and then we will make it available electronically. Because this is a project that has been requested by many of our advisory boards, and many individual customers and partners, we will be working hard to get through the process as quickly as we can.
Q. Last of all, where did this idea originate? How did this happen? If we have the math right—and we’re counting with our fingers—it seems as if there X number of experts, flying in for X number of days, and well, sheesh, that seems like a decent investment with some real money behind it, even if you only feed them cold cereal. True?
A. The idea for a Redbook covering modernization has been floating around for a couple of years. However, after the Fall Large User Group meeting, it became obvious that we would need to do this on a large scale—otherwise, we would only be able to address pieces of the puzzle, not the entire puzzle. That was the seed, and then it grew to this very massive undertaking.
We have been honored to have these experts donate their time and expertise. Many companies agreed to have their staff participate because they know that these are the people who can make this project successful. It is a significant investment of everyone's time and energy, and we cannot thank them enough for making this happen.