Needing a change of pace…

WebSphere MQ SSL Configuration Checker got released by IBM as a freeware application today.

It’s an application that I initially wrote earlier this year. It’s a tool that has been used by WebSphere MQ Service since last May with customers reporting SSL errors. The idea was that it’d be easier to ask customers to run a single executable tool which collects (hopefully!) all the information that we’d need to diagnose the problem, rather than asking them to send us their channel definitions, certificate labels, environment data, etc. etc. Over time, I’ve been extending it and improving it, to broaden the range of problems that it can identify, and it’s now got to the point now where a customer can hopefully run it on their own without needing us to review the output.

As a result, it has now been released as freeware – what we call a ‘SupportPac’ – to make it more widely available. Who knows – it might avoid a customer needing to wait for us to respond to a problem report to identify what’s wrong with an SSL setup?

From a purely selfish point of view, I like that IBM encourages us to do this sort of stuff. It makes for a nice diversion from our ‘day job’ to develop tools and write articles. My work in a Service role means carefully changing a small section of a massive, complex and mature software product under development by hundreds of people. So, it makes a nice change of pace to start from a blank page and sit down and write five or six thousand lines of code.

And unlike little apps that I hack together for myself or a few friends, releasing an application through IBM gets me access to a much larger group of users. I’ve released a couple of applications through before, and it’s very satisfying when you see something that you’ve put time and effort into get hundreds of downloads a month, and get feedback from companies all around the world.

Think I’ll stop now before I sound any more egotistical… 🙂

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