COMMON 2023 Reflections from the Mountaintop (or at least from the Mile High City)


COMMON 2023 was fantastic! Over the five days I was there, I personally had face-to-face conversations with well over 100 IBM i end user customers regarding their plans and challenges, I got to hear directly from the IBM i lab leaders about all of the exciting new technology coming (or already arrived) for the IBM i, and I got to meet with the ISV community to participate in providing feedback directly to IBM on future plans and requirements. I even got the chance to meet and get a picture with Tim Rowe’s daughter Megan Rowe who is an American Ninja Warrior celebrity (she is the “axe throwing” ninja and my whole family are big fans)!

After 3 years of reduced attendance due to the pandemic (certainly through no fault of the COMMON organizers who heroically kept the conference going even in the darkest times of Covid), it was great to see the crowds return. The time in the Expo Hall flew by as I got to hear from customers about how they were starting to use new features in RPG and new languages like Python, Java, and JavaScript on the IBM i. I met young developers (and some more “experienced” developers😊) who were using Git and Visual Studio Code for their RPG development. Customers talked about how more of their business was being done using machine-to-machine communication via APIs and how they were adding web, mobile, and Internet of Things interfaces to their IBM i applications. We met many people who were looking into how they might use the new Watson Analytics in DB2 for the IBM i and other machine learning and AI technologies.

Right to Left: Dan Magid, Megan Rowe (the Axe Throwing Ninja), Tim Rowe (The IBM i Ninja)

Some of the highlights of COMMON 2023 for me included:

  • Liam Allan’s work on his Visual Studio Code plugin (including the addition of the ILE debugger)
  • The many presentations on VS Code, Git, Ansible, and other open source development tools for IBM i
  • Scott Forstie’s review of Watson Geospatial Analytics now integrated directly with DB2 on the IBM i
  • Mark Irish’s discussions of JavaScript, Node.js and other open source technologies for IBM i
  • All the cool new additions, tricks, and techniques for RPG
  • Scott Forstie took the time from what must have been an incredibly busy conference schedule to help our developers with a technical support issue!!
  • The many breakfasts and lunch meetings I had with IBM i users (even the one to which I was incredibly late – thank you to those who had to start without me and were so wonderfully gracious)
  • Every one of the conversations I got to have with users on the show floor – you were all so open, friendly, knowledgeable and helpful
  • Did I mention that I got to meet Megan Rowe, the Axe-Throwing Ninja?

COMMON 2023 was a reminder of how transformational it can be to actually meet people in person (Here’s my video recap from the event floor). I am so looking forward to COMMON Navigate in Virginia Beach and next year’s POWERUp conference in Fort Worth, TX!

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