How to Hook IBM i to Google Apps


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How to Hook IBM i to Google Apps

  1. 1. How to Hook IBM i to Google AppsHook IBM i to Google AppsI recently noticced an interesting article about How to Hook IBM i to Google Apps published bythe ITJungle website and I have re-published it below for your convenience.New BVS Tools Hook IBM i to Google AppsPublished: January 22, 2013by Alex WoodieIBM AS/400e ??? (Photo credit: bangdoll@flickr)BVS Tools has rolled out a collection of new software called GreenTools for Google Apps (G4G)that enable users to connect various Google Apps with data and applications residing on IBM iservers. Two G4G apps, including G4GGCP and G4GGCAL, connect IBM i data with GoogleCloud Print and Google Calendars through Google’s APIs, and more apps are on the way.Today’s IT environments have become extremely heterogeneous, and demand extremeflexibility on the part of IT experts and users. In the old days, IT pros may have felt a sense ofaccomplishment at having hooked an IBM i application into a Microsoft Office application sittingon a Windows desktop. Those good old days are long gone, and today IT pros are tasked withhooking IBM i apps with a growing array of mobile devices and Web services.As the PC declines in use, Web services such as Google Apps have gained traction amongbusinesses of all sizes. The good news is Google’s Apps are accessible from a range ofdevices. The bad news is they require some degree of programmer sophistication to make fulluse of the API. 1/3
  2. 2. Brad Stone has endeavored to do the API dirty work with his suite of IBM i-enablement tools forGoogle Apps. He currently offers two G4G apps, which cost $149 each.With G4GGCP, IBM i users gain the capability to print reports residing on the IBM i server toany printer that’s connected to Google Cloud Print. For example, users could utilize thesoftware to print a PDF report that’s sitting on the IFS driver of their IBM i servers using theirhome printers, eliminating the need to drive into the office to get a hard copy.The G4GGCP services are accessed by entering a command from a 5250 command lineinterface, referencing a file on the IFS or a URL containing that file. Documents must first beconverted into PC formats, such as PDF, HTML, DOC, and RTF, to use the service (easilyaccomplished using spool file conversion tools, such as Stone’s popular SPLTOOL). G4GGCPalso enables users to send documents to Google Drive (formerly Google Docs) instead of theprinter.Google introduced its Cloud Print Web service as a feature of its Chrome Web browser in 2010,and widened the service’s availability when it hit beta status in early 2011. To get started, userssimply register their printers with Google Cloud Print. Then, they can submit print jobs throughthe service from any device (Web browser, Windows desktop, or mobile device). This approacheliminates the need to install print drivers on devices that users want to print from.Brad Stone’s second new application, G4GGCAL, allows users to retrieve entries from anyGoogle Calendar into the IBM i database. Once the connection is established, a user could thenwrite short programs around the G4GGCAL entries to do things, such as run scheduled reports,trigger other programs, or send reminders via green-screen alerts. “This app doesn’t yet allowyou to manipulate a Google Calendar, but if requested this could be added,” Stone says viaemail.Stone intends to write more G4G apps that let IBM i users access Google Apps APIs. Usersmust have BVS’ Get URI (GETURI) application, which enables IBM i applications tocommunicate with Web services, running on their IBM i servers. Data is returned from theGoogle Apps to G4G in the JSON format, which is then parsed and interpreted by the G4G app,Stone says.Stone says most of the work that went into G4G revolved around writing his own JSON parserand learning to work with OAuth 2.0, the new authentication method used by Google Apps andothers, such as Facebook and soon Twitter. “This type of security is used to give your IBM iaccess to items such as your Google Cloud Printers or Calendars without the need to shareyour userid or password,” Stone says.For more information on the G4G apps, as well as downloads, visit STORIES 2/3
  3. 3. BVS Unveils Jabber-Based Messaging Tool for IBM i Echo Cuts Waste with SPLTOOL Investment BVS Tools’ Alternative to CGIDEV2 BVS Tools Unleashes SPLTOOL’s True PDF Generation Capability 3/3Powered by TCPDF (