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Fresh Faces Forge New Paths

Read profiles of the five new Fresh Faces and what they're doing to promote the Power Systems platform.

Photographs of the Fresh Faces in a grid.

Nirmal Khatri, IBM i architect, Programmers.io 

I’ve been working on the IBM i platform for more than 12 years. At Programmers.io in Jaipur, India, we provide support for customers to maintain their current systems and offer modernization services on IBM i. Our goal is to enable customers to enjoy the full capability of IBM i and provide them with flexible solutions to use modern technologies in the platform. This includes using Node.js, Java*, PHP, Python and API integration. We also give them access to open-source solutions.  

As an IBM business partner, we participate in COMMON conferences and tradeshows to promote the IBM i platform. We also provide training to college graduates to ensure we have the right talent available to support the platform. Most IBM i shops face a shortage of staff to maintain their current systems. 

The flexibility to use Node.js, PHP, Python, Java and web services on IBM i is what I enjoy most about the platform.
Nirmal Khatri, IBM i architect, Programmers.io

One of our customers wanted to move its applications from Lotus Notes to IBM i, but also wanted the applications to be available on the web and be responsive. We used a modernization tool from Profound Logic to migrate all of the Lotus Notes applications to IBM i. The flexibility to use Node.js, PHP, Python, Java and web services on IBM i is what I enjoy most about the platform. This has helped us develop user-friendly and reusable applications for clients. 

Many IBM i shops are still unaware of the full capabilities of IBM i. We’re helping them maintain their current systems while making them aware of modernization concepts on IBM i. We’re also helping them explore open-source technology like JavaMail, Distance Matrix API by Google and optical character recognition API on IBM i.


Saurabh Kumar, IBM i developer, Programmers.io

I started my career with IBM i in 2016. Early on, I learned about open source and was amazed to see the enormous opportunities it provided for the system. At my company in Jaipur, India, we focus on what’s new and trending in IBM i. Programmers.io provides time and resources for employees to explore the platform. We have many in-house projects running that use Watson* APIs, including text-to-speech and chatbots; Java Open Source for colored Excel reports and HTML to PDF conversion; and web services such as Twilio SMS, Mandrill Mail and Amazon Web Services.

All of our customers are very confident in IBM i for the security and robustness it provides natively.
Saurabh Kumar, IBM i developer, Programmers.io

We take the knowledge and skills from our in-house projects and provide those solutions to our customers. This helps them optimize their existing systems and still benefit from the modernization trends in the market. For example, one of our customers had a unique requirement to convert a text file with HTML tags into a PDF. We used an open-source Java utility, Flying Saucer, for the job. 

Our main line of business is the consultancy services we provide to customers using IBM i. With our approach toward open-source and modernization techniques, we can provide customers with best-in-class solutions for their business needs. Staying current with the IBM i platform helps me succeed in my job.

All of our customers are very confident in IBM i for the security and robustness it provides natively.


Nate Luepnitz, Senior programmer analyst, TIDI Products LLC 

I’ve been working on the IBM i platform for over a year now—since I came to work for TIDI in Neenah, Wisconsin. We have an ERP solution that runs on IBM i and also have multiple Windows* servers. I look for the best design to meet a project’s requirements, whether it’s a .Net program using the Db2* databases or an RPG program utilizing SQL server databases. I lean toward the space and processing power of IBM i and Power Systems*, which surpass multiple Windows boxes combined.

My co-workers are mostly RPG programmers and stand firmly behind the product. When I started here, I didn’t realize how large our IBM i system was and that it offers more space and processing power than five fully equipped Windows servers put together.

When I was first introduced to RPG and CL programming, I used the 5250 green screen. Jim Buck’s course on RPG programming using Rational* Developer for i (RDi) made it much easier for me to develop programs on the platform. The course was helpful because I’ve been using Visual Studio to write Windows programs most of my career. I also use open source for developing new programs and enhancing existing ones for our company’s business needs.

In my current position, I introduce methodologies into software development based on new approaches such as retrieving data from web APIs and web services, and serializing JSON data into RPG data structures. I also use IBM i to help solve customer problems. I recently created an external module as a tool that can be used anywhere throughout our ERP. It calls an email validation API to make sure that mailboxes are reachable and valid when sending invoices or any other sensitive or important emails.


Aaron Magid, Vice president, open-source technologies, Eradani

I wrote my first open-source application for IBM i 10 years ago—when I was 13 years old. I grew up around IBM i. Both of my parents started their careers at IBM and I worked summers at the family business—Aldon—developing software specifically for IBM i.

I’m a big supporter of the platform. I speak about it at conferences, lead webinars and work with customers individually to introduce the new technologies available for this highly advanced platform. At Eradani in Berkeley, California, I develop applications on IBM i that make it easy to build modern apps using the latest technologies. 

My favorite of those applications is the universal Eradani Connect framework. Our advanced framework allows open-source developers to interact with IBM i resources just like they would on any other platform. They can use it to write open-source applications that easily interact with core RPG, COBOL, CL and Db2 applications through standard web services. We also offer applications that allow developers to use modern tools like Git, Jenkins and Jira for their IBM i code. 

I work hard to dispel common myths about IBM i being a “legacy platform.” For example, one customer believed it had to replace its IBM i with Linux* to get “a modern look and feel.” After carefully reviewing the customer’s requirements, it became clear that the security and data integrity needs would be extremely difficult to meet in a Linux environment.

IBM i supports those needs natively and also supports building modern user experiences and RESTful web applications with the latest technology. The customer chose to modernize its applications to JavaScript* while staying on the IBM i platform.

My job is to help companies deliver the latest application functions and user experiences—for which a modern platform like IBM i is absolutely critical. Fusing the IBM i platform with modern tools and technologies allows my customers to take full advantage of the proven reliability and security of IBM i while leveraging the unmatched productivity of open-source technology.


John M. Meulink, IT systems developer, Everence Financial 

I’m relatively new to the IBM i platform, having started working with it in 2019. When people ask me, “What do you do at your job?” I typically mention AS/400 and its green screen because those are recognizable by many people. I often hear comments like, “That’s still around?” When I explain how extremely fast, reliable and updated the IBM i platform is, their tune changes from incredulous to impressed.

The green screen is a reliable interface, and many of my coworkers are extremely proficient with it. However, when someone new joins our company in Goshen, Indiana, it can take a while to adjust from modern computer interfaces to the green screen. To combat this, we’re designing a web interface that sits on top of the green screen. It’s not a completely separate site. Instead, it takes the RPG code, throws in some HTML, CSS and JavaScript, and outputs a web page that communicates with the underlying RPG code. This enables new employees to use IBM i in a more familiar environment.

I've been particularly surprised to hear how dedicated IBM is in keeping IBM i modern.
John M. Meulink, IT systems developer, Everence Financial

As an internally focused developer, my customers are typically other company employees, including other developers. My favorite project so far involved creating a process that exports the results of an SQL function, places the file on the IFS, puts appropriate security on it and emails it to relevant users. For any data export, another developer simply has to create an SQL function to get the data. All of the rest is handled by that process.

 The modernity of IBM i brings a couple of benefits to the table: speed and new tools. The benefit of speed is obvious, but the new tools that work with IBM i make a world of difference, especially with RDi. RDi helped onboard me to IBM i by presenting a code editor, object hierarchy view and debugger in one program, not to mention its variety of potential add-ons that enhance search capabilities and change management. The willingness of IBM to allow external programs to interface with RDi enables the program to become a central hub for nearly everything I do during the work day. I’ve been particularly surprised to hear how dedicated IBM is in keeping IBM i modern. The continued connections to modern languages and technologies create an intriguing bridge between the traditional, reliable IBM technology and modern trends. 

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