We have been resistant to implement anything to do with the IBM HTTP server for a number of reasons, the main one being that we feel Linux is a better option for running any HTTP services on. However when we heard that IBM was now providing a mobile interface for the IBM i as part of the 7.2 release we felt we should take a closer look and see if it was something we could use. To our surprise we found the initial interaction very smooth and fast.
Installation was fairly simple other than the usual I don’t need to read the manuals part! We had installed 7.2 last week with the intention of reviewing the mobile access, unfortunately we did not realize that there were already Cum PTF’s and PTF Groups available. Our first try at the install stopped short when we thought Websphere was a requirement, as it turns out it can be used but is not a prerequisite. Thanks to a LinkedIn thread we saw and responded to our misconception was rectified and we set about trying to set up the product again. We followed all of the instructions (other than making sure the HTTP PTF Group was installed :-() and it just kept giving us a 403 Forbidden message for /iamobile. Took a lot of rummaging through the IFS directories to find out that when the CFGACCWEB command run it logged the fact that a lot of directories were missing (even though the message sent when it completed stated it completed successfully, maybe IBM should look at that?) so we reviewed all of the information again. It turns out the Mobile support is delivered in the PTF Group so after downloading and installing the latest CUM plus all of the PTF Groups we found the interface now works.
As I mentioned at the beginning I am surprised at just how snappy it is, we don’t have hundreds of users but our experience of the Systems Director software for IBM i made us very wary about actually using anything to do with the IBM i HTTP servers so we had no high expectations of this interface. We saw no lag at all in the page requests and the layout is very acceptable. When the time came to enter information the screen automatically zoomed into the entry fields (I like that as my eye sight is not what it used to be). We looked at a number of the screens but have not gone through every one. I really like the ability to drill down into the IFS and view a file (no edit capability) which will be very useful for viewing logs in the IFS.
Here are a few of the screen shots we took, the first set is from an iPod the second is from the iPad, we were going to try the iPhone but the iPod is the same size output so jsut stuck with testing from the iPod (yes we like Apple products, we would get off our Microsoft systems if IBM would release the much rumored RDi for the MAC). I think IBM did a good job in the page layouts and content.
The iPad screens.
Clicking on the images will bring up a larger one so if like me you are a bit blind you can see the content. Also take notice of the 5250 connection to the Shield6 system, Shield6 is not running the mobile access or the HTTP server so we were surprised when we could start a session to the Shield6 system using the mobile access from the Shield7 system. I definitely think this is a big improvement on anything else we have seen in terms of speed using the IBM HTTP server.
If you don’t have the Mobile support installed do it now! the fact that it is PTF’d all the way back to V6R1 is a big benefit. We will certainly be adopting this as our preferred access method from our mobile devices especially to provide support from our mobile devices while we are away from the office.