First Option Newsletter

December 2015

Happy Holidays,

As we approach year end we have added a few Knowledge base entries to this month's newsletter that should be helpful.

As of the writing of this newsletter the only change to the 2015 1099 is the addition of a check box titled "FATCA filing requirement. According to instructions it is used only for payments to foreign financial institutions. There are no other changes to the 1099's this year so you will be all set to run them when you are ready. Instructions for running 1099's are listed below. (If you do file FATCA, please put a ticket into the help desk for assistance.) 

Also, this is a great time to think about any custom programming work you may need done or to upgrade to the new GUI version. Or you may want to look into our hosting options. 

Wishing you and your family the best in 2016. 

Year End Knowledge Base Entries

What options do I use to print 1099's?
Note: As of the writing of this newsletter the only change to the 2015 1099 is the addition of a check box titled "FATCA filing requirement. According to instructions it is used only for payments to foreign financial institutions. The printed form layout for 2015 is identical to 2014 and there are no other changes to the transmission file. Since no updates are required, your existing program may be used to print 1099s.
Accounting Period Open/Close
How do I change the G/L accounting period open/closed flags if I have already cloned them from a previous year?

To access and change the Valid for General Ledger fields in the Accounting file, and if you have cloned the accounting period and therefore copied the Closed period fields;
Use #14-Update Accounting Period Flags on the G/L  Supervisor menu.  Enter the Corp# and year that need to be changed and press ENTER.  In the column 'Valid for G/L' key a 'Y' to allow entries to be posted into the period or an 'N' to prevent entries from being posted.  For more information about accounting periods, cloning and re-setting values go to the General Ledger Manual page 25 & 126.

Accounting Period Open/Close

How do I open a New Year for Accounts Payable and General Ledger?
Create the accounting period for each Corp/Fund for the new year. (this example is from 2011 to New Year 2012)
You can easily clone from one year to the next using Option 18 -Clone Accounting Periods, from the General Ledger File Maintenance menu.
You will need to key in the Corp/Fund and the "from" year 2011, then the same Corp/Fund and the 'To" year 2012, at the copy period closed area, key in an "N" and the following fields will appear.
From Corp# : 2 To Corp# : 2
From Year : 2011 To Year : 2012
Copy Period Closed Data . . . .: N (Y,N)
Set 12 months to Yes or No 
Valid For GL . . . . . : Y 
A/P Closed . . . . . . : N 
A/R Closed . . . . . . : N 

Set the Valid for GL, AP Closed, and AR Closed as shown above. You will need to do this for all Corp

First Option's New Website
H2First Option recently re-designed their website to showcase over 20 years of IBM i services and solutions. "We wanted professionals to come to our website and not only understand what we offer but who we are as a company" says President Paul Fuller. "We included quotes from longtime customers that convey our reliability, professionalism and dedication to our IBM i products and solutions." 
The site showcases all of First Option's services and solutions and how many of them integrate together to help businesses optimize their return on investment. The site is mobile friendly and has an updated look and feel that reflects First Option's commitment to progressive growth and enhancement of all thing IBM i. 

Case Study - Application Development
CSC acquired MacGray a leading provider of laundry facilities management services to both multi-family and academic housing sectors. A critical business requirement, an expanded multi-page check stub modification, was needed for the newly combined customer base. Some of the information was documented but some needed to be learned from analyzing the legacy code. CSC was concerned due to the complexity and age of the application(s) that the knowledge transfer with the existing team would impact their current workload.

Bootstrap and WebSphere Liberty
H4How First Option utilized Bootstrap and WebSphere on our latest project. (Part 1)
Bootstrap is an open source framework for combining development of multiple user interfaces. First Option will be describing how we decided to use Bootstrap in version 4.0 of IBM i Watchdog, a centralized monitoring tool for the IBM i Series. Also we will discuss why we chose WebSphere Liberty profile over our existing application server.

Business Need
 As with any project, it starts with a business need(s).  In our case that happened to be a client/server application that needed a number of modifications.
First, it was time to update the look and feel of the UI (User Interface) and make it mobile aware. Second, there was additional functionality requested by the customers.

 Project Scope
We knew that the architecture of the UI was dated and that there was a better way to update the look and feel.  We also had experience with other programming languages that could be useful to provide the new customer functionality.  So, in addition to the new functionality, a review of the languages and architecture was in the scope of this project.

Project Organization
We grouped the modifications based on whether they would be implemented on the client or the server.  We dug down into the specific tasks and the first pass of the project schedule was completed.  Now it was time to step back, take a breath, and talk about languages and frameworks.

Languages and Frameworks
As part of this project we decided to look at all the languages and frameworks we were currently using to build the application.  Using our experience from similar projects it was decided the existing architecture was the best option, with the exception of the UI. A lot had changed with web development since we first created the application. Our interface was looking dated and we wanted to support mobile devices. We decided to use the Bootstrap framework to update the UI.  Bootstrap gave us the refreshed look we wanted as well as the responsive design that allows the web application to adjust dynamically, depending on the device used (desktop, tablet, mobile phone).  Bootstrap not only gave us the responsive design we wanted, it made the UI development easier.

The current server application was Tomcat on the IBM i. We decided to test the application running on the new WebSphere Liberty profile. Our testing showed the Liberty profile server performed better than Tomcat. We deployed the web application to WebSphere Liberty Profile running on the IBM i and using the HTTP Server for i to provide SSL connections for the web clients and web services. The HTTP server runs on an IBM i partition in the DMZ. We will dig deeper into the migration to the Liberty Profile server in Part II.

Holiday Schedule
H5Click the link below for our 2016 Holiday Schedule.

If you would like to receive reminders please Subscribe to our News section via the Helpdesk. 
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