10 Years on the iSeries


Anniversaries are often a time when people remember the past while also keeping an eye on the future. This is something we've been doing a lot of recently at eServer Magazine, iSeries edition, as the publication officially turns 10 this month. In September 1993, the magazine, then called AS/400 Magazine, made its debut. Since that time it's changed from a bimonthly to a monthly publication and changed its name to iSeries Magazine and now eServer Magazine, iSeries edition to better reflect the platform it serves.

Looking back on the first issue of AS/400 Magazine provides a glimpse of how far the platform has evolved in just 10 years. In the cover story of the September/October 1993 magazine, "Integrated Language Environment Writes the Next Chapter on AS/400 Programming," Susan Gantner expounded on the virtues of the Integrated Language Environment (ILE). "Part of OS/400* Version 2 Release 3, ILE is the most significant architectural change to the system since its launch five years ago," Gantner writes.

Since that time, ILE has changed the way applications are written. "However, even I have been surprised at just how much the new compilers written for ILE-especially the ILE RPG language known as RPG IV-would change the face of our most traditional of languages," Gantner, now an eServer Magazine, iSeries edition technical editor, remarks today. "V5R2 RPG is barely recognizable as the same language as its pre-ILE ancestor. It has proven itself to be as powerful and flexible a language as any of the newcomers in the industry, as it absorbs the best features of the other languages while maintaining the simplicity that drew RPGers to it years ago.

"Other developments like the capability to write and serve Web applications and using new languages like Java* are, of course, also significant. But, I think the most significant thing we can say about AS/400 or iSeries is not a change at all. I'm amazed that a system this old is not only still viable, but is also a flexible, reliable and easy-to-manage business system for the different set of challenges in today's computing world. This architectures capability to adapt to technology advances and ever-changing requirements is unique."

For our inaugural issue, another author, Dr. Frank Soltis, AS/400 chief scientist, detailed how IBM's 23-year-old architecture was leading the computing industry into the future. Since that article was written, the system has evolved in many ways including moving from CISC-based to RISC-based, something Soltis today deems the most significant change in the last 10 years.

"RISC technology has allowed iSeries servers to expand into several new application environments, including Java and Linux," Soltis says. "The ease with which customers were able to make the transition from CISC to RISC also illustrates the capabilities of the platform to incorporate new technologies without disrupting a customers application investments. This is important today as other vendors, for example HP, are just now attempting to move to new hardware platforms."


Evelyn Hoover is the content director of IBM Systems magazine. She can be reached at

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