On a recent trip to a customer site, I was reminded of a difficult technical challenge in i5/OS: viewing the contents of a journal receiver. Often, you want to look at a journal receiver for a particular file from either an audit or an application viewpoint. In either case, you're looking at the file changes in a "before" and "after" image. The challenge is that the data is stored as a string of hexadecimal character formats that the naked eye must translate.
Today, many applications in i5/OS are journaled because of high availability (HA) or auditing requirements. Journaling technology has been around since the System/38, and the System i journals are a wonderful thing. However, the process of viewing this information has not gotten easier. Once you start to journal a physical file, all the record puts, updates, deletes, reorganizations, and saves are recorded in a log called the "journal receiver." IBM provides the DSPJRN command so you can display this information easily as a spooled file (or you can copy the information to an outfile and view it in DFU or Query). But the data is not in the original format; it is now a string of data that you must parse to decipher (see Figure 1).
Figure 1: This is how the DSPJRN command displays a Robot/SCHEDULE journal receiver. (Click images to enlarge.)
Easy View, from Help/Systems, Inc., makes it easy to view any file on the system and to view journal images from a physical file. You can use the Easy View EZVIEWJRN command and its options (press F10 for more advanced journaling features) to guide you through the process of preparing the file (see Figure 2).
Figure 2: Use the EZVIEWJRN command to prepare the Robot/SCHEDULE journal receiver for display.
Easy View produces a view of the file changes with the data copied to the appropriate fields. You can use Easy View to exclude certain information fields from the view—such as type of journal record, date, and, time—that IBM includes with each journal image. The result is the journal receiver file, laid out in the correct record field format (see Figure 3).
Figure 3: Easy View displays the Robot/SCHEDULE journal receiver with the correct field layout.
Viewing journals is easy with Easy View. You can use the EZVIEWJRN command anytime you want to see what happens to the data in a file. And, if you have HA software, Easy View is an inexpensive, must-have tool. Give it a 30-day free trial. And be sure to check out the other Help/Systems offerings in the MC Showcase Buyer's Guide.
Tom Huntington is Vice President of Technical Services for Help/Systems, Inc. He can be reached at 952.563.1606 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.