Liam Allan Joins Seiden Group

Liam AllanWhen IBM i development pros first meet Liam Allan, they’re captivated by the unrestrained enthusiasm he exhibits for their favorite platform. His excitement over what can be accomplished with IBM i technology leaves people refreshed and inspired.

Those who have had the pleasure of working with Liam know that his energy and intelligence are only the beginning of what he has to offer. He also possesses exceptional skill AND the depth of understanding required to turn his ideas into reality.

When I first met Liam, it was clear that his skills with RPG and open source would help advance the IBM i community. One first notices his quickness, as he rapidly assimilates new information and generates new solutions, and then his patience, as he teaches technology to others.

When Liam recently became available for consulting work, I was thrilled that he chose to join the Seiden Group team! He will provide clients with development and training services involving Node.js, Git, RPG, and emerging open source technologies.

Integrating IBM i and Open Source Technologies

Liam’s enthusiasm for IBM i and open source inspires others to embrace new development techniques. “The most important thing to me is that businesses know the open-source technologies they have available to them and how to best apply it to their projects,” he says. “Working with Seiden Group will give me broader outreach in helping businesses achieve their goals.”

Michael Privett, Director of IT at Southeastern Paper Group, confirms Liam’s ability to teach and inspire. “Liam is great!” he reported after a 3-day training engagement with him. “He’s smart as a whip and a very impressive consultant who performs well beyond his years. My team is staying engaged. I see excitement.”

Liam has earned his place as one of the top advocates for integrating the best of open source, RPG business logic, and Db2 for i data.

Liam’s Background & Community Contributions

Liam first came to prominence in 2015 when our friend Dave Dressler (aka PHPDave and UseTheForceDave) invited him to join the Club Seiden open source community.

He quickly earned high standing among the IBM i development community. In early 2016, COMMON named him recipient of the Student Innovation Award, and he found himself on the speaking circuit with audiences eager to learn his techniques for integrating open source with RPG. IBM further honored his work by naming him a Fresh Face of IBM i and, soon after, an IBM Champion.

Yet Liam contributes so much more to the IBM i community. He co-hosts the IBM Bi-Weekly, a twice per month technical podcast, with Seiden Group’s Josh Hall. He works on open source projects such as ILEditor, a free IDE for IBM i developers, and barryCI, a build server for ILE applications on IBM i, from his Works of Barry GitHub repository. He’s also a popular speaker at IBM i user groups and conferences around the world.

Put Liam to Work

If you would like to schedule training or development work with Liam—or any of our innovative, productive consultants—contact us.

Free encryption for Node.js on IBM i

Let's EncryptWhen you browse a secure web site or API whose address starts with “https,” what makes the site secure? The site uses a special certificate, provided by a trusted Certificate Authority (CA), to prove that it is legitimate. Until recently, IT shops had to pay for these certificates and generate them manually.

In the last few years, Let’s Encrypt has earned the thanks of technology professionals. Let’s Encrypt, a CA run for the public’s benefit, offers certificates at no charge, along with scripts to generate and regenerate certificates as needed, reducing the effort of keeping certificates up to date, and keeping sites secure.

Seiden Group’s Liam Allan has chronicled his technical journey with Let’s Encrypt, showing how he achieved the following results:

  • Generating a certificate using Let’s Encrypt with an automated script
  • Installing the certificate on an IBM i server
  • Applying the certificate, establishing secure HTTPS connectivity to a Node.js application hosted on the IBM i

Details of Liam’s journey:–lets-encrypt-on-ibm-i-ihm

At Seiden Group, we enable modernization by helping IBM i shops succeed with open source. To discuss development or training with Let’s Encrypt, Node.js, or other IBM i modernization, contact us.

Node.js, Ruby and Seiden Group

node.jsWith IBM’s delivery of open source capabilities on IBM i, Seiden Group has been there to apply the technology to application modernization initiatives. Starting with PHP and the PHP toolkit, then Python, and now Node.js and Ruby, we’ve worked with IBM and customers to flesh out the capabilities of the technology, teach best practices at conferences and directly with clients, and develop award-winning solutions.

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Db2, SQL, and Open Source Languages on IBM i

db2 sql open source ibmiPresentation Handout

The ever-expanding capabilities of Db2 for i can simplify development in open source languages such as PHP, Ruby, Node.js (JavaScript), and Python. These languages, known for their effectiveness in building web and mobile applications, can tap into the power of SQL.

So why complicate them with repetitive code that distracts from their power and simplicity?

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Sneak Peek at Plans for ILEditor 2

worksofbarryI’ve been eagerly watching Liam Allan’s open source ILEditor mature into a very convenient tool that I can turn to whenever I have a quick development task to perform and I don’t have an active RDi session open. So I was thrilled to learn about his plans for the next major release!

The beauty of ILEditor is that it starts up quickly, performs quickly, and lets me return to whatever else I was doing. For example, I recently used it to copy and send some CL code to a client while I was on vacation. So fast!

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GitHub — A Collaboration Tool for Developers

GitHub IBMiWhile adding a new script to our Python for IBM i Examples GitHub Repository, I noticed that my pull request had evolved into a near-perfect example of how tools like GitHub improve upon ordinary Git.

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Using Git on IBM i (with video review)

Git on IBMiWe’ve seen a surge of interest in Git version control on IBM i, so a recent video about Git caught my eye. 

The Git trend makes perfect sense as IBM i teams adopt languages such as PHP, Javascript, and Python to develop web user interfaces, APIs, and other functionality. That said, Git also supports the traditional IBM i language, RPG.

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Resources for Learning Git

One of my favorite jobs here at Seiden Group is to introduce developers to the Git version control system. I’ve delivered talks, workshops, and individual Git training.

Fast, popular, and open source, Git can be hosted on varied platforms, such as cloud-based repositories (Github, Bitbucket), internal servers (GitLab), and on our trusty IBM i servers.

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Add apachectl to IBM i for Controlling Apache Web Instances

sobo.redHere at Seiden Group, we seek ways to make IBM i systems more congenial for developers accustomed to other platforms, such as Linux.

Developers coming from a non-IBM i background know how to run the apachectl command to start, restart, and end an Apache web server instance. Instead of apachectl, however, IBM i provides a web-based graphical interface and the commands STRTCPSVR and ENDTCPSVR (be sure to prompt those for parameters using F4).

To supply the “missing” apachectl command for IBM i, I have written a BASH shell script that simulates apachectl on IBM i.

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Open-Source Tools (rsync, cURL, Git and more) on IBM i

Open Source IBMiOpen-source tools aren’t just for Linux anymore. Popular tools such as rsync, cURL, Git, and Wget have come to IBM i.

Although such open-source tools have been available for years in AIX distributions by Michael Perzl, those RPM packages required extra know-how, and weren’t officially supported by IBM.

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