2015 will be marked as the year IBM i took its biggest steps in open source and cloud usage. Ruby on IBM i has been gaining traction this past year and was recently brought out of beta (see n1 footnote).

IBM released Node.js just a month ago – which is getting some good attention. On IBM’s Node.js developerWorks page (see n2 footnote), we also see the following, www.screencast.com/t/fXoI8XrMTM, with the statement of “but may be in the future” for Python, gcc, and git. Well, that’s some awesome excitement on the open source front! This not only gives IBM i a fighting chance but also puts it on par with other platforms. angola The next generation of developers seemingly live on the likes of GitHub and BitBucket for the sake of “social coding.” We at Krengeltech are doing the same with our open source efforts (see n3 footnote), and encouraging others to follow suit!

Not only that, but IBM is also opening up to third parties by helping maintain open source code they originally developed. Case in point – the Litmis open source team recently partnered with IBM to be joint stewards of the xmlservice RubyGem (see n4 footnote).

On the cloud front I believe development is going to be moving back to the server.  Specifically, we will be seeing IBM i developers entering their code into browser-based IDEs. We’ve been doing this at Krengeltech for a number of months now (see n5 footnote), and it’s very promising!

So, yes, it seems the big gap IBM i had with the rest of the world is closing, and closing fast!  Consider all the above and then add the fact that the list of IBM i cloud hosting companies is constantly growing (see n6 footnote).

And finally, towards the top of my wishlist:  making IBM i instances provisionable via a Web service call (similar to Amazon EC2). We may be a ways from this because of how IBM i licensing works. But who knows? Now that Softlayer is providing Power8 hardware (see n7 footnote), maybe IBM i simple cloud provisioning isn’t that far off.

We can dream in color, can’t we?

n1: powerruby.com/support/community-support

n2: www.ibm.com/developerworks/community/wikis/home?lang=en#!/wiki/IBM%20i%20Technology%20Updates/page/Software%20Prerequisites

n3: bitbucket.org/litmis

n4: http://litmis.com/2015/01/krengeltech-joins-ibm-with-xmlservice-ruby-gem/

n5: www.screencast.com/t/3s7PKyMiY8

n6: joehertvik.com/community-post-list-of-ibm-i-hosting-companies/

n7: www.itjungle.com/tfh/tfh030314-story01.html

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