Eradani simplifies the update of the API tool

September 15, 2021

Alex woodie

Eradani has always sought to make the application programming interface (API) activation process as simple as possible for its IBM i customers. And with the launch of Eradani Connect version 4.1, which includes a new GUI, predefined API templates, and a catalog for REST-style web services created with the tool, the Northern California company is carrying the mantra simplification to new levels. .

The world is full of web services. Whether it’s real-time weather data, shipping services, an e-commerce app, or a tax calculator, someone out there is providing information on the Internet. These external APIs are usually written in languages ​​like Python or JavaScript; are designed using the REST web services method; and expose data payloads in JSON (with XML still available).

According to Eradani founder and CEO Dan Magid, Eradani Connect was designed to make it easy to connect the IBM i server to these external APIs. “What we’re doing is building a middleware layer around IBM i that makes it easy for open source developers, .NET developers, JavaScript developers, and Python developers to call IBM i to get things.” , he said.

As a middleware layer, Eradani Connect ensures that XML or JSON data payloads contained in external web services are translated into native IBM i data structures, executed on the IBM i server, and then rolled back to XML or JSON formats as the ‘External API is waiting. Plus, it’s bidirectional, so IBM i stores can also use it to push data out of the box.

“So as a caller all I have to do is make a standard function call like I normally do, and we’ll take care of whatever needs to be done to call the IBM native tool.” i, whatever it may be, ”says Magid. “As an RPG programmer, I don’t need to know a lot about how the web works to call for a service. “

With Eradani Connect 4.1, the company seeks to make the product even easier to use. It starts with a new graphical interface designed to simplify the process of building web services.

“We’re always trying to push ease of use for IBM i developers because it is sometimes intimidating for IBM i developers to step into that space and use new technology,” said Magid. Jungle Computing. “We’ve done a lot of things to make it even easier to build these web services. So if you want to build a REST service around a program, if you want to build a rest web service around the database, it’s just a point-and-click process, so it’s very, very, easy to do through the graphical user interface. “

Version 4.1 also introduces new web service monitoring dashboards that were created with the tool. Dashboards will show the user how many requests they receive, average response time, error rates for web services, and messages people are receiving. “Lots and lots of information about what’s going on with web services,” says Magid.

The dashboard also gives users the option to stop API execution. If something is not working properly with an API, they can stop the API from running on the server, perform the required maintenance, and then restart the API. The Eradani Connect API Server is a Node.js application that is just as comfortable on an IBM i LPAR as it is on a Linux or Windows server, or even running on AWS.

Eradani has clients that generate only a handful of web services, and these clients generally don’t find it difficult to organize and track their web services. But it also has clients that run hundreds of web services, and those people can sometimes find it difficult to manage.

For customers with many web services, the new management structure of Eradani Connect will be beneficial. This feature allows customers to create categories for their APIs to make them easier to find. For example, there might be a place for billing APIs, warehousing APIs, or banking APIs, explains Magid.

“One of the problems we’ve had is that when people start building API libraries, developers can say, ‘Well, it’s going to be harder for me to find the one I want than to create it. another, “and so they start to create duplicate APIs,” he says. “So we give them an easy way to see, okay, I need an API for the billing system that has these fields or that performs this function, and they can browse and find that. “

There are a handful of web services that Eradani customers use quite frequently. So, in the name of simplification, Eradani decided to offer pre-built web services for some of the most popular connections, such as Amazon Vendor Central, Shopify, UPS, project44 supply chain system, printers and devices. Zebra laptops, and even a vehicle identification number (VIN) lookup service. There are also models for connecting to security and authentication services, such as OAuth, Kerberos, SAML, and Active Directory, explains Magid.

“We’ve always been able to connect to these things, but it required us to do a lot of special coding to get there,” he says. “Now what we’ve done is we’ve basically modeled that. . . . They can just plug into these things. It’s basically built, so they can plug that kind of technology into what they’re doing.

Finally, Eradani Connect 4.1 supports COBOL. The company finds that many IBM i department stores in the financial services industry have many COBOL applications that they would like to expose to an external web service, and they can now do that.

“Until now, we could call the COBOL program, but we couldn’t generate the COBOL code for an API connection,” says Magid. “To make sure that the connections don’t break, we generate the native IBM i my code and we generate the web service code to make sure the fields match, all the data schemas match. We couldn’t do this with COBOL code. We can now also do this with the COBOL code.

The company plans to officially announce version 4.1 of Eradani Connect at COMMON’s POWERUp conference in Virgina Beach next month. Magid and other company representatives will exhibit and present at the show. But the product is generally available now. The license is based on the number of production logical partitions on which it is run. For more information, see www.eradani.com.

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