Re: The Tech Perspective: I am ( and You Should Be ) Going, Going ....Gone.
That's a loaded question, Dave. Depends on definition of "cutting edge". Am I going to be working on Hadoop and Big Data? Not likely. But this morning I'm working on developing a Sencha Touch app which will run on iPad Mini with a bar code scanner from Infinity Peripherals which plugs into the iPad connector. My app will talk to our IBM i5 business server to allow scanning of tool parts to put them away in location in our Tool Room and to take them out when we pull them to put in our new Forming machines on the floor.
This is a brand new line of business for us. Being the only developer here, I make all the calls how to integrate the support into our current system and then execute it. Above is a small side project of the overall effort.
In 2007, I was the pioneer to implement Sharepoint in our global company in our local business unit. Now, Sharepoint was certainly not cutting edge in 2007 but was to this company. I had the freedom to design our intranet site, integrate application with our i5 server, and implement it all. It was so successful Corp enlisted my help implementing and supporting one for everyone.
With i5 being a character based (green screen) user interface, I've been experimenting with technologies since web/GUI was invented in the 90's to serve i5 data to browser apps. I hated almost every solution until a few years ago when I fell in love with Sencha Ext JS. I've now written many dashboards and several full blown CRUD apps. My plan over my last 10 years of my career is to convert the "ERP" system I wrote here, which is green screen, to Ext JS.
Some explanation here, I'm not recommending writing your own ERP is a good idea. We were running Infor's BPCS ERP with my custom programs filling gaps and enhancing functionality, particularly on shop floor and lab testing. When our current global company was split off from our previous company, our genius Corp IT leader signed a new contract with Infor which cut off all rights to source code. And did this knowing he had paid $100K for a contractor to add a Metals Management modification used by all biz units using BPCS. His logic was there was some master plan in place to move every business unit to MS AX Dynamics ERP. Like many ERP plans, that failed miserably after first couple of business units tried it and plan is gone.
So unable to ever upgrade and move our customizations locally, I took 6 months in 2010 (while still supporting operations) and worked 60-70 hour weeks writing all the functionalilty we used in BPCS beside the General Ledger function. That BPCS module had no source code modifications and had a clean interface from other systems, you could drop transactions you wanted posted in a file and BPCS would post. So I wrote things that no one has probably written in 20-30 years: Inventory Control, Purchasing, Sales Order Processing, A/R, A/P, Shop Floor Control, MPS/MRP, etc. I went ahead and integrated all my custom programs to enhance BPCS and created my own ERP system. About 900-1100 RPGLE programs form the system, plus I have a green screen "portal" system I had written years ago to control the use and security of the system.
So my final goal before I retire in 10 years is to port the entire thing to Ext JS, using CNX Corporation's Valence system on the i5 side. CNX developed a fantastic portal which handles integrated security with i5 and all the session control from browser. It is not hackable, uses the i5 native HTTP Apache server making AJAX CGI calls from Sencha's Ext JS on client browsers, assuming you don't make stupid mistake configuring Apache. Valence includes the support for iText, an open source tool, to directly create PDF documents from RPG on i5 and deliver to clients. I took time to learn and use that.
If I accomplish this, I plan on working with CNX to put the code out there as free open source for any other i5 shop to use for a template for their custome system. I'm so sick of the way ERP companies operate now, withholding source code so their people can bill for customization work that people like myself have historically done. And that on top of endless maintenance fees for nothing, they rarely ever add anything actual useful to your company but want to keep collecting. And they time bomb their software so you can't even move the system you already paid for to new hardware, which you have to do from time to time. It's a disgusting business model now, didn't always used to be that way.
Anyway, I'll leave it to you to decide how much of this qualifies as "cutting edge". But like I said before, never boring around here. :-)