I was reading a blog post by Steve Will, chief architect for IBM i “User Interfaces for IBM i” and I started reflecting on his comments as it is a question as an application vendor that we are constantly wrestling with in our own R&D strategy and the interface choices, features we need to be providing for our customers.
“Do some people still use the “green screen” methods instead? Yes, they do. Are they forced to? For almost every day-to-day operation, no, they are not. They could use a GUI. But they can choose not to as well. One of the long-standing IBM i strategies has been to let existing interfaces continue to live, even if a replacement interface is more strategic. I suppose technically we could remove some old “green-screen” ways of doing things and force customers to those new interfaces. Though we cannot be all things to all people, we try to give our variety of customers a wide array of options, and this is certainly true for user interfaces.”
The GUI interface revolution:
Maxava was at the forefront of the High Availability (HA) market for delivering a GUI interface for managing the replication environment on the IBM i platform. Over time it has been interesting to watch how our customer’s user interface preferences have been changing.
When we introduced our GUI years ago it was met with a mixed reaction from our customers as anything other than the use of “green screen” was almost frowned upon because it wasn’t the traditionalist way of doing things. I suspect this was a combination of factors. The “green screen” was simply what users were used to and they didn’t see a need to change. The shift to a Microsoft paradigm was seen as a move to the dark side. And to some degree there was an inherent lack of confidence that a GUI interface could effectively execute the administration functions, commands required.
So it became clear that letting existing interfaces continue to live would need to be an integral part of our interface strategy. We share Steve Will’s sentiment that we need to provide our customers with a range of user interface choices.
GUI must be simple and intuitive:
In the last few years we have seen the need for a simple and intuitive GUI. The definite shift to the GUI as the interface of choice for the majority of our customers is being driven by the current economic reality of needing to do more with less. This is particularly related to the fact that in-house teams are responsible for different and increasingly complex technology environments. Also the ability to find and retain specialist technical skills is harder to do these days for both financial reasons and the declining experienced skill base in the market for the IBM i platform.
maxView was built with mobile devices in mind to address this user interface revolution and improve the day to day lives of our customers. It takes the user interface experience to new a level and delivers a system control panel for the IBM i via a web interface. It is available across a range of internet browsers and mobile platforms such as iOS, Google Chrome and Android.
We have a range of maxView products – Lite, Monitor and Manager – with the latter two giving you the ability to monitor your Maxava HA and IBM i environment from your mobile device. These are both available free with the Maxava HA Suite*.
On the other hand, maxView Lite is a free application for you to try out – regardless of whether you have Maxava HA or not – which lets you monitor your IBM i setup remotely while showcasing our mobile user experience.
We encourage you to try our maxView Lite demo and let us know if it meets your user interface needs!
*Depending on product purchased.