CGIDEV2: IBM's Hidden Gem

No matter how hard you look, there's one tool you won't find mentioned in any IBM brochures. In fact, unless you know where to look, you'll have a tough time finding it referenced anywhere on IBM's Web sites. This hidden gem is IBM's free CGIDEV2 library-a set of tools designed to simplify Web programming for RPG IV programmers.

We featured CGIDEV2 in our Web-programming series, "As Easy as CGIDEV2." Many of you subsequently adopted the software for your initial Web exploits. For those who have yet to explore CGIDEV2, we thought that a mention of the tool would be appropriate.

One of CGIDEV2's principle benefits when compared with the other IBM options is that it doesn't require the WebSphere Application Server (WAS) or any other application server. Other than the CGIDEV2 library, the only requirement is that you have an HTTP Server-either the original HTTP Server or the HTTP Server (powered by Apache)-running on your OS/400 system. You also need an RPG IV compiler at V4R3 or above. Because these are available at no additional charge, utilizing CGIDEV2 doesn't require any capital outlay.

This is important because many customers we meet lack the "horsepower" on their current systems to run WAS without degrading the performance of other applications. (Note: Minimum CPW for WAS-Express is at least 300 CPW; WAS 3.5/4.0/5.0 requires 500 CPW.)

IBM would be thrilled if everyone purchased the upgrades necessary to make WAS sing, but for many, such an investment is hard to justify. While we all know that the iSeries server is capable of running our Web applications, many executives have been convinced otherwise by other vendors. In order to persuade them that the iSeries server has a place in the company's Web plans, we must usually demonstrate its viability before they'll lay out the dollars for an upgrade.

We should point out that, at this stage, CGIDEV2 isn't designed to provide a browser interface for your green-screen applications. So if you're looking for that type of a solution, you need to look elsewhere. If, however, you need a well-supported tool to help you develop new Web applications and enable you to reuse your existing RPG skills and code base in a Web environment, this could be the tool for you.


Jon Paris is a technical editor with IBM Systems Magazine and co-owner of Partner400.

Susan Gantner is a technical editor with IBM Systems Magazine and co-owner of Partner400.

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