This article was originally posted on our RPG-XML Suite product website.

The number of software solutions available today can be overwhelming.  It seems as if someone in the user community is asking about a new software solution on a daily basis.  Often these are cloud-based HTTP solutions, which can be a good thing in many ways but still leave this question unanswered:

How do I integrate this cloud-based solution with what I already have on the IBM i?

While many cloud-based solutions have some sort of import/export functionality, it’s not likely that importing/exporting records back-and-forth is going to be timely and robust enough to support the requirements of your users.  Many cloud-based solutions also support a web services approach to sharing and exchanging data.  This is where RPG-XML Suite shines.  IBM i developers can use RPG-XML Suite to easily share data from your existing systems with cloud-based solutions — and can also receive data from cloud-based solution to supplement your data on IBM i.

But what if the data needs further processing and manipulation before it can be shared or exchanged?

This is one of the key strengths of RPG-XML Suite, since it relies on the power of the same RPG language you depend on daily to process data.  Web services software that relies on “mapping” techniques usually fail to met this need to have finey-tuned control of the data that is needed.  But with the combination of the RPG language and the RPG-XML Suite API, developers have nearly limitless capabilities to process and transform data exchanges as needed.

Let’s look at another scenario.

Let’s say you need to exchange your own data with your customers and/or partners by offering web services.  In a way this means that you are becoming a “cloud” to those who will be consuming the data you are providing.  In this scenario, it’s common for one of the first suggestions to be exporting the data in question to some other platform in your organization that has already been charged with responsibility for  all things “web based”.

So what’s wrong with handing off this function?  Doesn’t it just make for one less responsibility for an IBM i developer?

Well it depends, but it’s not uncommon to encounter the same problems of timeliness that you’ve encountered in the past.  If the volume of data is too large it can become impossible to keep the data fresh.  An additional potential negative consequence is that another failure point has been introduced, not to mention the need to coordinate and maintain the hand-off of the data from the IBM i, especially when the data needs to change to support enhancements to the web services.

Why not eliminate these issues and simplify the process by offering the web service directly on your IBM i?

Using RPG-XML Suite allows you to eliminate the hand-off of the data and those new potential failure points — all while reducing the amount of maintenance needed when the inevitable enhancements are made to the web services being offered.

Still have questions about how RPG-XML Suite can increase reliability and simplify integration?

Contact us and let us know how we can help.