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Brief: If you thought that creating barcodes on the AS/400 meant writing application programs, think again. IBM's Advanced Function Printing Utilities/400 makes creating barcodes something that even end users can do. This product makes it easy to develop and maintain barcode applications.

Sometimes the best programming solution is the simplest: something you can quickly give back to the users without fear of complication. Something that's simple to create and a breeze to modify.

Barcode printing should be exactly such a solution. Your organization should be able to respond quickly when a new barcoded label is required or when an old format needs some modification. Custom programming should not be required for simple barcode labels, yet-more often than not-these simple applications sit in a backlog, waiting for the right application to justify the time a programmer will spend reading the printer manuals.

The print-format definition function of Advanced Function Printing Utilities/400 might be just the tool to help you out. It can create barcodes on Intelligent Printer Data Stream (IPDS) printers, print graphics and images, and query databases to provide you with a comprehensive tool that's quick, familiar and workable. You don't need to be a hex-code wizard to make your IPDS printer produce barcodes. And the design interface-even on a 5250 terminal-might just tempt you to turn over the process to your trusted users.

Requirements

As last month's "Barcoding with DDS" explained, you must have an IPDS printer in order to print barcodes easily on the AS/400. You also must verify that your printer supports the particular barcodes you need.

This month's example uses IBM's Advanced Function Printing Utilities/400 (IBM licensed program 5738-AF1). If you don't have this licensed program on your system, you might consider using the technique discussed in "Barcoding with DDS," MC, February 1994.

Similar Names, Big Difference

Advanced Function Printing Utilities/400 is a group of programs organized into a menu designed to assist programmers working with advanced-function printing. Your first reaction may be, "Oh yeah! I remember advanced-function printing. It's that code that makes the 5225 printers print barcodes and graphics, right?" Wrong!

What you're probably remembering is Advanced Printer Function (APF). The features and the structure of Advanced Printer Function are significantly less robust than advanced-function printing.

Advanced Printer Function was specifically designed for the 5224/5225 series of dot-matrix printers to handle limited barcodes and vector graphics. Advanced- function printing, on the other hand, is a feature which supports its own printer data stream. It is the key that makes IPDS printers live up to potential. Advanced-function printing supports barcodes, graphics, images and fonts at a level that far outstrips the limited capabilities of Advanced Printer Function. And, Advanced Function Printing Utilities/400 is a design tool you can use to take advantage of advanced-function printing. Why IBM chose such similar names for these functions will probably forever remain a mystery.

Elements of Advanced Function Printing Utilities/400

Advanced Function Printing Util-ities/400 is divided into three groups of services.

1. The Overlay Utility allows you to create electronic forms.

2. The Print Format Definition Utility allows you to create a query-like application integrating images, graphics, barcodes and fonts.

3. The Resource Management Utility allows you to manage overlays, page segments, fonts and graphics.

The barcoding application presented here uses only one function from the Advanced Function Printing Utilities/400 services: the Print Format Definition Utility.

The Sample Application

Our sample application is the same as last month: we'll design a report to print the vendor master name and address list. The report will print the vendor number field as a Code 3-of-9 barcode instead of printing it in the usual numeric representation.

The preliminary step to creating the report is, of course, to create a vendor master database. The DDS for this file is shown in 1. Key this into your DDS source file using Source Entry Utility, and then compile it with the Create Physical File (CRTPF) command.

The preliminary step to creating the report is, of course, to create a vendor master database. The DDS for this file is shown in Figure 1. Key this into your DDS source file using Source Entry Utility, and then compile it with the Create Physical File (CRTPF) command.

Creating the application with the Print Format Definition Utility is very similar to running a Query/400 session. But pay close attention to the details; while the steps are similar, the devil is in the detail.

To access the Advanced Function Printing Utilities/400 menu, type STRAFPU on the command line. This displays a menu with the options shown in 2.

To access the Advanced Function Printing Utilities/400 menu, type STRAFPU on the command line. This displays a menu with the options shown in Figure 2.

Creating the Source File

The Print Format Definition Utility stores its specifications in separate members called PFD definitions. A special type of file called a PFD definition file stores these PFD definitions, similar to the way source code is stored. Think of PFD definition files as source files, PFD definitions as source members, and print-format definition specifications as source code. Although they are not exactly the same, the concept is similar.

You can have multiple definition files, each holding different groups of specifications. Perhaps you'll create one file for your testing environment and another for production specifications. Once created, these definition files may contain numerous print-format definition specifications which are, in fact, the equivalent of program code.

The Print Format Definition Util-ity doesn't compile PFD definitions into AS/400 objects-it is an interpreter, translating the selected definition specs into executable code. Keep this in mind when you consider the value of the utility. If you want an integrated barcode environment working within your own production code, you probably won't want to make the Print Format Definition Utility an element. But if you want to create an application that quickly converts a database file into output, the Print Format Definition Utility might be the perfect fit.

To create a PFD definition file for storing our specifications, use option 12 (Work with PFD definition files) from the Advanced Function Printing Utilities menu. The screens which follow are similar to using PDM. Basically, you start at the file level, work your way down to the definition level and finally to the specification level.

The first screen asks you which PFD definition files you want to work with. Enter a library name and specify *ALL for the file. Then create a new PFD definition file by using option 1 and supplying the name of the file. I chose PFDSRC.

Creating VDRLBL Application Specs

Within the PFD definition file, you must specify a name for your new definition. Each definition within the file represents a query against a particular database file. Since this application is to generate labels for the vendor master file, I chose to name it VDRLBL.

The create process is activated by using option 1. Once the PFD definition is created, you may use the other options, such as Change (option 2), Copy (option 3), Delete (option 4), Print definition (option 6), Rename (option 7) or Print the database file (option 9).

These options look hauntingly like the Query/400 product. This is what makes the Print Format Definition Utility so powerful for the casual user: the learning curve is level. Only the actual definition process will look unfamiliar. But more about this in a moment.

Creating the PFD Definition

Like Query/400, the Print Format Definition Utility automatically tells you which actions are required by placing a 1 (select) beside them (see 3). The three requirements are:

Like Query/400, the Print Format Definition Utility automatically tells you which actions are required by placing a 1 (select) beside them (see Figure 3). The three requirements are:

1. Specify database file

2. Design record layout

3. Design page layout

Other options allow you to define the actual print-format definition specs, specify fonts, specify record selection, and map (override) variables to other objects within the system. Our simple application requires none of this, so just press Enter and proceed through the required actions one by one.

Defining the Database File

Defining the database file is also a very familiar process for programmers who know Query/400. But, unlike Query/400, the Print Format Definition Utility allows you to specify only one database and one record format. No file joining is allowed for this simple utility. If you need to pull various files together, you'll have to create a merged database or a joined logical file over the required information.

Designing the Record Layout

Defining the actual print-format definition specification is a two-step process. First, you create a record layout in which you specify the fields to be printed. Then, this record is placed on a page layout.

Because the Record Layout screen is almost identical to the Page Layout screen, you may feel a bit confused the first time you pass through this process. Take heart-there's actually a good design reason for segmenting the process in this way.

The Design Record Layout screen is bordered by position rulers along the top and left-hand side. The traditional AS/400 perspective would lead us to assume that these ruler marks represent rows and columns for placing fields on the page. In actuality, these ruler notations may represent rows and columns, inches or centimeters. If you refer to the screen in 3, you'll find an option to define PFD specifications. Within that option, you can identify the units of measure for the record and page layout.

The Design Record Layout screen is bordered by position rulers along the top and left-hand side. The traditional AS/400 perspective would lead us to assume that these ruler marks represent rows and columns for placing fields on the page. In actuality, these ruler notations may represent rows and columns, inches or centimeters. If you refer to the screen in Figure 3, you'll find an option to define PFD specifications. Within that option, you can identify the units of measure for the record and page layout.

Since the example is relatively straightforward, I've used the default of columns in defining the specification. Consequently, each field placed on the record layout will consume an equal number of columns.

For those who have experience with DisplayWrite, laying out the record with Print Format Definition Utility should feel very familiar: the editor model for the Print Format Definition Utility is based upon DisplayWrite. You move the cursor to the position on the record where you want to place a field, code or graphic and then press a function key. You can place a text field. You can also mark the coordinates of a box or a line. You can mark the position of a graphic or an image, or you can place a reference to a barcode.

The important thing to note in working with the Print Format Definition Utility's editor is that it is marking references or notations to fields or objects, and not pasting the fields or objects themselves in place. This is a crucial point when you work with the utility and, to my way of thinking, a limitation imposed by the inability of 5250-style terminals to display interactive graphics. Anyone who's used a PC-style drawing program-or even a sophisticated word processor-would find this interface extremely cumbersome. But the point is to provide a utility to the greatest number of potential users, and that means making it work on the lowest common denominator. So we're stuck with a 5250-terminal style of editor. Regardless of your preferences, designing the record layout by reference is functional, if not particularly friendly.

For similar reasons, the editor can't be more SDA-like. Because the 5250 terminal data stream can't represent different fonts, barcodes or images, there really can't be a satisfactory representation on the screen. These limitations provide a blatant example of how these advanced data streams have far outstripped the old display capabilities of the *SCS terminals upon which we're programming.

Defining Fields

Pressing the F6 (Text) function key displays a small prompt at the bottom of the screen for specifying the text that you want to include in the record (see 4). The screen allows you to key in constant text and to change the coordinates of the element you're adding to the screen.

Pressing the F6 (Text) function key displays a small prompt at the bottom of the screen for specifying the text that you want to include in the record (see Figure 4). The screen allows you to key in constant text and to change the coordinates of the element you're adding to the screen.

When you press F4, the prompt expands, showing you the complete list of options that are available (see 5). These include the degree of rotation for the text, the color which you want to print the text in, and other characteristics such as bolding or underlining.

When you press F4, the prompt expands, showing you the complete list of options that are available (see Figure 5). These include the degree of rotation for the text, the color which you want to print the text in, and other characteristics such as bolding or underlining.

But where do you identify the database field name? If you place the cursor on the "text data" field and press F4 a second time, another list shows the fields available within the database file (see 6). The process of selecting fields is very straightforward. Each selected field is inserted into the previous prompt, representing the data field with a preceding ampersand (&) character (see 7). This process continues until the record format includes all the fields you want to print as text.

But where do you identify the database field name? If you place the cursor on the "text data" field and press F4 a second time, another list shows the fields available within the database file (see Figure 6). The process of selecting fields is very straightforward. Each selected field is inserted into the previous prompt, representing the data field with a preceding ampersand (&) character (see Figure 7). This process continues until the record format includes all the fields you want to print as text.

Now you've reached the process of referencing the barcode. The steps are very similar to those used for text. Instead of pressing F6 (Text), you will press F11 (Barcode). See 8. The prompt that appears on the bottom of the screen allows you to key in constant data, or you can press F4 to expand the prompt into more detail.

Now you've reached the process of referencing the barcode. The steps are very similar to those used for text. Instead of pressing F6 (Text), you will press F11 (Barcode). See Figure 8. The prompt that appears on the bottom of the screen allows you to key in constant data, or you can press F4 to expand the prompt into more detail.

The Define Barcode Detail (9) prompt allows you to specify the particular type of barcode you want to print. But it's important to note that, despite the number of different barcodes represented on the prompt, you must know the limitations and capabilities of the printer to which you'll be sending your output.

The Define Barcode Detail (Figure 9) prompt allows you to specify the particular type of barcode you want to print. But it's important to note that, despite the number of different barcodes represented on the prompt, you must know the limitations and capabilities of the printer to which you'll be sending your output.

For instance, you may desire to print a Code 128 barcode, so you dutifully identify option 11 (CODE128) on this prompt. But if your printer doesn't support Code 128-even though it's explicitly referenced within the print- format definition specs-you'll have no way of knowing whether it truly is supported.

This can be a frustrating, confusing circumstance for some novice users of the Print Format Definition Utility. Even if the program completes successfully and executes without a hitch, the actual printout could fail because of incompatibility.

Why isn't this field edited to prevent the user from selecting options which his environment doesn't support? IBM claims that this type of environmental editing would actually place a limitation on the software.

So, at present, the Print Format Definition Utility does not warn you of the limitations of any particular printer. It merely allows you to mark references to particular types of barcodes and builds the specifications accordingly.

The next step is to place the cursor in the barcode data field, press F4 and choose the field to be translated. In the example, I chose to translate the Vendor Number field into Code 3-of-9. (My IBM 3812 supported that one... I checked!) If your printer supports POSTNET, you could just as well translate the zip code field into a POSTNET barcode and save your company some postage. That's all there is to barcode functions using Advanced Function Printing Utilities/400!

That's how simple the process of translating barcodes is with AFPDS. The Print Format Definition Utility-with its little sidelights and limitations-seems a relatively useful and quick tool for our simple application. If you want, you can draw a box around the record, to really make it appear as a label. You could place a logo (code page) or a graphic; you can rotate the text too, making it print vertically instead of horizontally. Each step of the way, the interface is the same-not exactly WYSIWYG, but certainly better than encapsulated hex codes.

Designing the Page

With all this ground you've covered, you'd think you were about done, right? Not quite! You've designed a record for the output, but you have yet to place that output onto a page.

Think of this step as placing the label onto a sheet of paper. You can specify a single label to print on each page, or you can specify multiples to print two-up or three-up. To do this, you need to use the Design Page Layout screen.

Just like the Design Record Layout screen, the Design Page Layout screen is ruled along the top and along the side. Again, depending upon how you set up the specs, the numbers of the ruler represent either rows and columns, inches or centimeters. Along the bottom are command keys which identify the options available to you.

Now you must place the newly created record layout onto this page. To do this, press F13 (Place) followed by F11 (Place record layout). You should see the display shown in 10.

Now you must place the newly created record layout onto this page. To do this, press F13 (Place) followed by F11 (Place record layout). You should see the display shown in Figure 10.

The Design Page Layout screen allows you to place multiple records on a single page. Pressing the F4 (Detail) key presents you with a secondary screen that prompts you to define the number of records per page and the spaces between them.

The confusing portion of this prompt is that it seems to be asking you to identify the number of spaces between the records; it's actually asking you for the number of spaces between placement markers. Secondly, the display doesn't always accurately represent how you've defined the placement of records. You may have to play around a bit to determine the precise placements. The experimentation may become tedious, but eventually you will be printing multiple records on a page, two-up and three-up.

Saving the Definition

You can define other specifications if you want, but the ones we've covered represent the basics. Once the definition is complete, you'll want to save it into the PFDSRC file. Press F3 to exit the program. You're prompted to verify your choices and key in a description.

This wraps up the design function of the Print Format Definition Utility-now you need to actually print the form.

Printing the Database File Member

Option 9 from the Work with PFD Definitions screen allows you to print the database file member using the new print-format definition specification (see 11).

Option 9 from the Work with PFD Definitions screen allows you to print the database file member using the new print-format definition specification (see Figure 11).

The prompt allows you to override the database file which you identified in the definition process, and to perform record selection against the database. You can redirect the output to a particular output queue as well. This is all very much like the Query/400 environment you are probably familiar with.

However, actually obtaining output from the printer can represent a challenge if you're uncertain of your particular IPDS printer's capabilities. Since the construction of the advanced-function printing data stream occurs prior to the actual interface with the particular printer, it's not until the output is actually ported through the print writer out to the IPDS printer that you'll know for certain that all of your specifications are supported.

This can be a frustrating experience if you initially take the default *ABSOLUTE for print fidelity. If the printer can't resolve a problem, it issues an error message to tell the AS/400 that a problem exists in the data stream. The AS/400 then logs the error message in the QSYSOPR message queue and holds the output in the output queue. You get no output and a cryptic message, leaving you with a hollow feeling and nothing to tell you what went wrong.

One working solution is to re-edit the PFD definition and use the Define Printout Specifications option. This presents you with the screen shown in 12. Change the print fidelity from *ABSOLUTE to *CONTENT. Then, if the IPDS printer comes across an incompatability, it prints out what it can, giving you at least some feedback to resolve the compatibility problem. Usually, comparing your specification with the printer manual resolves most difficulties.

One working solution is to re-edit the PFD definition and use the Define Printout Specifications option. This presents you with the screen shown in Figure 12. Change the print fidelity from *ABSOLUTE to *CONTENT. Then, if the IPDS printer comes across an incompatability, it prints out what it can, giving you at least some feedback to resolve the compatibility problem. Usually, comparing your specification with the printer manual resolves most difficulties.

Although we have taken a lot of time walking through each screen of the Print Format Definition Utility, the process itself isn't nearly as daunting as it might seem. Running the Print Format Defi-nition Utility is really no more rigorous than your first foray into building a query. It's only the first time or two-the time in which you're stretching your own knowledge base about the capabilities of your printer-that you might experience a problem.

Advanced Function Printing Utilities/400 Gets the Job Done

The Print Format Definition Utility and the other utilities within Advanced Function Printing Util-ities/400 are good, solid building blocks which can turn around a simple printing application in a hurry. Barcode printing doesn't have to be relegated to the backlog if these tools are available to you.

While the Print Format Definition Utility may not provide you with the ultimate barcode application, it may be just the tool to demonstrate the ease of creating barcodes to your organization. Once your coworkers see how quickly you can create and modify a barcode label, you might suddenly find that they're more interested in expanding the use of the technology within your organization. And that's always the best recommendation for any utility program.

T.M. Stockwell is an associate technical editor for Midrange Computing.


Adv Function Printing Utilities/400 & Barcoding

Figure 1 The Vendor Physical File

 
   *. 1 ...+... 2 ...+... 3 ...+... 4 ...+... 5 ...+... 6 ...+... 7 
  A       R VNDMST 
  A         VNDNBR               5P  0      TEXT('VENDOR NUMBER') 
  A         NAME                25A         TEXT('VENDOR NAME') 
  A         ADDR                25A         TEXT('ADDRESS') 
  A         CITY                15A         TEXT('CITY') 
  A         STATE                2A         TEXT('STATE') 
  A         ZIPCD                5P  0      TEXT('ZIP CODE') 
   *. 1 ...+... 2 ...+... 3 ...+... 4 ...+... 5 ...+... 6 ...+... 7 

Adv Function Printing Utilities/400 & Barcoding

Figure 2 The AFPU Main Menu

 
 
   AFPU                 Advanced Function Printing Utilities 
 
   Select one of the following: 
 
     Overlay Utility 
        1. Work with source overlays 
        2. Work with source overlay files 
 
     Print Format Utility 
       11. Work with PFD definitions 
       12. Work with PFD definition files 
       13. Print database file member 
 
     Resource Management Utility 
       21. Convert to page segment 
       22. Work with overlays 
       23. Work with page segments 
 
 
   Selection or command 
   ===> 
  __________________________________________________________________________ 
  _______________________________________________________________________________ 
   F3=Exit   F4=Prompt   F9=Retrieve   F12=Cancel   F16=System main menu 

Adv Function Printing Utilities/400 & Barcoding

Figure 3 Create PFD Definition

 
                               Create PFD Definition 
 
   File . . . . . . . . . . . :   PFDSRC 
     Library  . . . . . . . . :     MYLIB 
   PFD definition . . . . . . :   VDRLBL 
 
   Type options, press Enter. 
     1=Select 
 
   Opt     Action 
    _      Define PFD specifications 
    _      Work with PFD definition fonts 
    1      Specify database file 
    _      Specify break fields 
    1      Design record layout 
    1      Design page layout 
    _      Specify record selection 
    _      Define printout specifications 
    _      Specify mapping object name 
 
 
 
   F3=Exit   F5=Refresh   F9=Select all   F12=Cancel 

Adv Function Printing Utilities/400 & Barcoding

Figure 4 Design Record Layout Text Prompt

 
                                Design Record Layout           Columns:   1- 74 
   Control  . . ______ 
       *...+....1....+....2....+....3....+....4....+....5....+....6....+....7.... 
   001 %T001 
   002 
   003 
   004 
   005 
   006 
   007 
   008 
   009 
   010 
   011 
   012 
                                                                          More... 
                                     Define Text 
    Mark . . . . . . : *T001         Measurement method . . . . : Row/Column 
    Position . . . . . Across       1     Down        1 
    Text data  . . . . __________________________________________________________ 
 
   F3=Exit      F4=Detail   F6=Change measurement method 
   F12=Cancel   F24=More keys 

Adv Function Printing Utilities/400 & Barcoding

Figure 5 Define Text Detail

 
 
 
                                 Define Text Detail 
 
   Mark:   *T001             Measurement method:   Row/Column 
 
   Type choices, press Enter. 
 
     Position: 
       Across . . . . . . . . . .   1            1-999 
       Down . . . . . . . . . . .   1            1-999 
     Text data  . . . . . . . . . 
  ______________________________________________ 
  _______________________________________________________________________________ 
  _ 
  _____________________________________________________________________________ 
                                                 F4 for list 
     Element  . . . . . . . . . .   ____         Name 
     Format . . . . . . . . . . .   1            1=Horizontal, 2=Vertical 
     Degree of rotation . . . . .   0            0, 90, 180, 270 
     Color  . . . . . . . . . . .   *DEFAULT     *DEFAULT, 1=Blue, 2=Red 
                                                 3=Magenta, 4=Green, 5=Cyan 
                                                 6=Yellow, 7=Brown, 8=Black 
     Underline  . . . . . . . . .   N            Y=Yes, N=No 
                                                                          More... 
   F3=Exit   F4=Prompt   F5=Refresh   F6=Change measurement method 
   F10=Edit numeric      F12=Cancel 

Adv Function Printing Utilities/400 & Barcoding

Figure 6 Select Field in Record Format

 
                           Select Field in Record Format 
 
   Database file  . . . . . . :   VENDOR 
     Library  . . . . . . . . :     MYLIB 
   Record Format  . . . . . . :   VNDMST 
 
   Type option, press Enter. 
     1=Select 
 
   Opt  Field       Length  Type  Text 
    _   VNDNBR         5,0    P 
    1   NAME            25    C 
    _   ADDR1           25    C 
    _   CITY            15    C 
    _   STATE            2    C 
    _   ZIPCD          5,0    P 
 
 
 
 
                                                                           Bottom 
   F5=Refresh   F11=Select reserved variable   F12=Cancel 

Adv Function Printing Utilities/400 & Barcoding

Figure 7 Define Text Detail

 
                                 Define Text Detail 
 
   Mark:   *T001             Measurement method:   Row/Column 
 
   Type choices, press Enter. 
 
     Position: 
       Across . . . . . . . . . .   1            1-999 
       Down . . . . . . . . . . .   1            1-999 
     Text data  . . . . . . . . .   &NAME. 
  _______________________________________________________________________________ 
  _ 
  _____________________________________________________________________________ 
                                                 F4 for list 
     Element  . . . . . . . . . .   NAME         Name 
     Format . . . . . . . . . . .   1            1=Horizontal, 2=Vertical 
     Degree of rotation . . . . .   0            0, 90, 180, 270 
     Color  . . . . . . . . . . .   *DEFAULT     *DEFAULT, 1=Blue, 2=Red 
                                                 3=Magenta, 4=Green, 5=Cyan 
                                                 6=Yellow, 7=Brown, 8=Black 
     Underline  . . . . . . . . .   N            Y=Yes, N=No 
                                                                          More... 
   F3=Exit   F4=Prompt   F5=Refresh   F6=Change measurement method 
   F10=Edit numeric      F12=Cancel 

Adv Function Printing Utilities/400 & Barcoding

Figure 8 Design Record Layout Barcode Prompt

 
                                Design Record Layout           Columns:   1- 74 
   Control  . . ______ 
       *...+....1....+....2....+....3....+....4....+....5....+....6....+....7.... 
   001 *NAME 
   002 *ADDR . 
   003 *CITY           *ST   . 
   004 
   005 %C005 
   006 
   007 
   008 
   009 
   010 
   011 
   012 
                                                                          More... 
                                   Define Barcode 
    Mark . . . . . . : *C005         Measurement method . . . . : Row/Column 
    Position . . . . . Across       1     Down       5     Barcode type . . . __ 
    Barcode data  . . __________________________________________________________ 
 
   F3=Exit      F4=Detail   F6=Change measurement method 
   F12=Cancel   F24=More keys 

Adv Function Printing Utilities/400 & Barcoding

Figure 9 Define Barcode Detail

 
                                Define Barcode Detail 
 
   Mark:   *C005             Measurement method:   Row/Column 
 
   Type choices, press Enter. 
 
     Position: 
       Across . . . . . . . . . .   1            1-999 
       Down . . . . . . . . . . .   5            1-999 
     Barcode type . . . . . . . .   1            1=CODE3OF9, 2=MSI, 3=UPC-A 
                                                 4=UPC-E, 5=EAN-8, 6=EAN-13 
                                                 7=INDUST25, 8=MATRIX25 
                                                 9=INTERL25, 10=CODABAR 
                                                 11=CODE128, 12=POSTNET 
     Barcode data . . . . . . . .   &VNDNBR. 
  ______________________________________________________ 
                                                 F4 for list 
     Element  . . . . . . . . . .   VNBR         Name 
 
 
                                                                           Bottom 
   F3=Exit   F4=Prompt   F5=Refresh   F6=Change measurement method   F12=Cancel 

Adv Function Printing Utilities/400 & Barcoding

Figure 10 Design Page Layout

 
                                 Design Page Layout            Columns:   1- 74 
   Control  . . ______ 
       *...+....1....+....2....+....3....+....4....+....5....+....6....+....7.... 
   001 %R001-001 
   002 
   003 
   004 
   005 
   006 
   007 
   008 
   009 
   010 
   011 
   012 
                                                                          More... 
                                Place Record Layout 
    Mark . . . . . . : *R001         Measurement method . . . . : Row/Column 
    Position . . . . . Across       1     Down       1 
 
 
   F3=Exit      F4=Detail   F6=Change measurement method 
   F12=Cancel   F24=More keys 

Adv Function Printing Utilities/400 & Barcoding

Figure 11 Print Database File Member

 
                             Print Database File Member 
 
     File . . . . . . . . . . . . . :   PFDSRC 
       Library  . . . . . . . . . . :     MYLIB 
     PFD definition . . . . . . . . :   VDRLBL 
 
 
   Type choices, press Enter. 
 
     Database file  . . . . . . . . .   *PFD           Name, *PFD, F4 for list 
       Library  . . . . . . . . . . .     *LIBL        Name, *LIBL, *CURLIB 
     Member . . . . . . . . . . . . .   *FIRST         Name, *FIRST, F4 for list 
 
     Include grid . . . . . . . . . .   N              Y=Yes, N=No 
     Record selection . . . . . . . .   Y              Y=Yes, N=No 
     Ending page  . . . . . . . . . .   *END           1-9999, *END 
 
     Output queue . . . . . . . . . .   *JOB           Name, *JOB 
       Library  . . . . . . . . . . .                  Name, *LIBL, *CURLIB 
     Copies . . . . . . . . . . . . .   *PFD           1-255, *PFD 
 
 
   F3=Exit   F4=Prompt   F5=Refresh   F12=Cancel 

Adv Function Printing Utilities/400 & Barcoding

Figure 12 Define Printout Specifications

 
                           Define Printout Specifications 
 
   Type choices, press Enter. 
 
   Copies . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   1              1-255 
   Print fidelity . . . . . . . . . .   *CONTENT       *ABSOLUTE, *CONTENT 
   Print quality  . . . . . . . . . .   *STD           *STD, *DRAFT, *NLQ 
   Duplex . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   N              Y=Yes, N=No 
   Form type  . . . . . . . . . . . .   *STD           Character value, *STD 
   Source drawer  . . . . . . . . . .   1              1, 2, 3, *E1 
   Front side overlay: 
     Overlay  . . . . . . . . . . . .   *NONE          Name, *NONE, F4 for list 
       Library  . . . . . . . . . . .     *LIBL        Name, *LIBL, *CURLIB 
     Offset across  . . . . . . . . .   .00            0.00-22.75 
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     Offset across  . . . . . . . . .   .00            0.00-22.75 
     Offset down  . . . . . . . . . .   .00            0.00-22.75 
 
 
   F3=Exit   F4=Prompt   F5=Refresh   F12=Cancel 
Thomas Stockwell

Thomas M. Stockwell is an independent IT analyst and writer. He is the former Editor in Chief of MC Press Online and Midrange Computing magazine and has over 20 years of experience as a programmer, systems engineer, IT director, industry analyst, author, speaker, consultant, and editor.  

 

Tom works from his home in the Napa Valley in California. He can be reached at ITincendiary.com.

 

 

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  • Mobile Computing and the IBM i

    SB ASNA PPL 5450Mobile computing is rapidly maturing into a solid platform for delivering enterprise applications. Many IBM i shops today are realizing that integrating their IBM i with mobile applications is the fast path to improved business workflows, better customer relations, and more responsive business reporting.

    This ASNA whitepaper takes a look at mobile computing for the IBM i. It discusses the different ways mobile applications may be used within the enterprise and how ASNA products solve the challenges mobile presents. It also presents the case that you already have the mobile programming team your projects need: that team is your existing RPG development team!

    Get your copy today!

  • Automate IBM i Operations using Wireless Devices

    DDL SystemsDownload the technical whitepaper on MANAGING YOUR IBM i WIRELESSLY and (optionally) register to download an absolutely FREE software trail. This whitepaper provides an in-depth review of the native IBM i technology and ACO MONITOR's advanced two-way messaging features to remotely manage your IBM i while in or away from the office. Notify on-duty personnel of system events and remotely respond to complex problems (via your Smartphone) before they become critical-24/7. Problem solved!

    Order your copy here.

  • DR Strategy Guide from Maxava: Brand New Edition - now fully updated to include Cloud!

    SB Maxava PPL 5476PRACTICAL TOOLS TO IMPLEMENT DISASTER RECOVERY IN YOUR IBM i ENVIRONMENT

    CLOUD VS. ON-PREMISE?
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    Download your free copy of DR Strategy Guide for IBM i from Maxava today.

     

  • White Paper: Node.js for Enterprise IBM i Modernization

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    If your business is thinking about modernizing your legacy IBM i (also known as AS/400 or iSeries) applications, you will want to read this white paper first!

    Download this paper and learn how Node.js can ensure that you:
    - Modernize on-time and budget - no more lengthy, costly, disruptive app rewrites!
    - Retain your IBM i systems of record
    - Find and hire new development talent
    - Integrate new Node.js applications with your existing RPG, Java, .Net, and PHP apps
    - Extend your IBM i capabilties to include Watson API, Cloud, and Internet of Things


    Read Node.js for Enterprise IBM i Modernization Now!

     

  • 2020 IBM i Marketplace Survey Results

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    This year marks the sixth edition of the popular IBM i Marketplace Survey Results. Each year, HelpSystems sets out to gather data about how businesses use the IBM i platform and the IT initiatives it supports. Year over year, the survey has begun to reveal long-term trends that give insight into the future of this trusted technology.

    More than 500 IBM i users from around the globe participated in this year’s survey, and we’re so happy to share the results with you. We hope you’ll find the information interesting and useful as you evaluate your own IT projects.

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    With so many organizations depending on AIX day to day, ensuring proper security and configuration is critical to ensure the safety of your environment. Don’t let common threats put your critical AIX servers at risk. Avoid simple mistakes and start to build a long-term plan with this AIX Security eCourse. Enroll today to get easy to follow instructions on topics like:

    • Removing extraneous files
    • Patching systems efficiently
    • Setting and validating permissions
    • Managing service considerations
    • Getting overall visibility into your networks

     

  • Developer Kit: Making a Business Case for Modernization and Beyond

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    Having trouble getting management approval for modernization projects? The problem may be you're not speaking enough "business" to them.

    This Developer Kit provides you study-backed data and a ready-to-use business case template to help get your very next development project approved!

  • What to Do When Your AS/400 Talent Retires

    HelpSystemsIT managers hoping to find new IBM i talent are discovering that the pool of experienced RPG programmers and operators or administrators is small.

    This guide offers strategies and software suggestions to help you plan IT staffing and resources and smooth the transition after your AS/400 talent retires. Read on to learn:

    • Why IBM i skills depletion is a top concern
    • How leading organizations are coping
    • Where automation will make the biggest impact

     

  • IBM i Resources Retiring?

    SB HelpSystems WC GenericLet’s face it: IBM i experts and RPG programmers are retiring from the workforce. Are you prepared to handle their departure?
    Our panel of IBM i experts—Chuck Losinski, Robin Tatam, Richard Schoen, and Tom Huntington—will outline strategies that allow your company to cope with IBM i skills depletion by adopting these strategies that allow you to get the job done without deep expertise on the OS:
    - Automate IBM i processes
    - Use managed services to help fill the gaps
    - Secure the system against data loss and viruses
    The strategies you discover in this webinar will help you ensure that your system of record—your IBM i—continues to deliver a powerful business advantage, even as staff retires.

     

  • Backup and Recovery Considerations for Security Data and Encrypted Backups

    SB PowerTech WC GenericSecurity expert Carol Woodbury is joined by Debbie Saugen. Debbie is an expert on IBM i backup and recovery, disaster recovery, and high availability, helping IBM i shops build and implement effective business continuity plans.
    In today’s business climate, business continuity is more important than ever. But 83 percent of organizations are not totally confident in their backup strategy.
    During this webinar, Carol and Debbie discuss the importance of a good backup plan, how to ensure you’re backing up your security information, and your options for encrypted back-ups.

  • Profound.js: The Agile Approach to Legacy Modernization

    SB Profound WC GenericIn this presentation, Alex Roytman and Liam Allan will unveil a completely new and unique way to modernize your legacy applications. Learn how Agile Modernization:
    - Uses the power of Node.js in place of costly system re-writes and migrations
    - Enables you to modernize legacy systems in an iterative, low-risk manner
    - Makes it easier to hire developers for your modernization efforts
    - Integrates with Profound UI (GUI modernization) for a seamless, end-to-end legacy modernization solution

     

  • Data Breaches: Is IBM i Really at Risk?

    SB PowerTech WC GenericIBM i is known for its security, but this OS could be more vulnerable than you think.
    Although Power Servers often live inside the safety of the perimeter firewall, the risk of suffering a data leak or data corruption remains high.
    Watch noted IBM i security expert Robin Tatam as he discusses common ways that this supposedly “secure” operating system may actually be vulnerable and who the culprits might be.

    Watch the webinar today!

     

  • Easy Mobile Development

    SB Profound WC GenericWatch this on-demand webinar and learn how to rapidly and easily deploy mobile apps to your organization – even when working with legacy RPG code! IBM Champion Scott Klement will demonstrate how to:
    - Develop RPG applications without mobile development experience
    - Deploy secure applications for any mobile device
    - Build one application for all platforms, including Apple and Android
    - Extend the life and reach of your IBM i (aka iSeries, AS400) platform
    You’ll see examples from customers who have used our products and services to deliver the mobile applications of their dreams, faster and easier than they ever thought possible!

     

  • Profound UI: Unlock True Modernization from your IBM i Enterprise

    SB Profound PPL 5491Modern, web-based applications can make your Enterprise more efficient, connected and engaged. This session will demonstrate how the Profound UI framework is the best and most native way to convert your existing RPG applications and develop new modern applications for your business. Additionally, you will learn how you can address modernization across your Enterprise, including databases and legacy source code, with Profound Logic.

  • Node Webinar Series Pt. 1: The World of Node.js on IBM i

    Profound Logic Software, Inc.Have you been wondering about Node.js? Our free Node.js Webinar Series takes you from total beginner to creating a fully-functional IBM i Node.js business application.

    Part 1 will teach you what Node.js is, why it's a great option for IBM i shops, and how to take advantage of the ecosystem surrounding Node.

    In addition to background information, our Director of Product Development Scott Klement will demonstrate applications that take advantage of the Node Package Manager (npm).

  • 5 New and Unique Ways to Use the IBM i Audit Journal

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    - Whether high availability in the cloud makes sense for IBM i users
    - Why some organizations don’t have high availability yet
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    - High availability considerations for today’s security concerns

  • Profound.js 2.0: Extend the Power of Node to your IBM i Applications

    SB Profound WC 5541In this Webinar, we'll demonstrate how Profound.js 2.0 enables you to easily adopt Node.js in your business, and to take advantage of the many benefits of Node, including access to a much larger pool of developers for IBM i and access to countless reusable open source code packages on npm (Node Package Manager).
    You will see how Profound.js 2.0 allows you to:

    • Provide RPG-like capabilities for server-side JavaScript.
    • Easily create web and mobile application interfaces for Node on IBM i.
    • Let existing RPG programs call Node.js modules directly, and vice versa.
    • Automatically generate code for Node.js.
    • Automatically converts existing RPGLE code into clean, simplified Node.js code.

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  • Make Modern Apps You'll Love with Profound UI & Profound.js

    SB Profound WC 5541Whether you have green screens or a drab GUI, your outdated apps can benefit from modern source code, modern GUIs, and modern tools.
    Profound Logic's Alex Roytman and Liam Allan are here to show you how Free-format RPG and Node.js make it possible to deliver applications your whole business will love:

    • Transform legacy RPG code to modern free-format RPG and Node.js
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    • Extend your RPG applications to include Web Services and NPM packages with Node.js

     

  • Accelerating Programmer Productivity with Sequel

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    Most business intelligence tools are just that: tools, a means to an end but not an accelerator. Yours could even be slowing you down. But what if your BI tool didn't just give you a platform for query-writing but also improved programmer productivity?
    Watch the recorded webinar to see how Sequel:

    • Makes creating complex results simple
    • Eliminates barriers to data sources
    • Increases flexibility with data usage and distribution

    Accelerated productivity makes everyone happy, from programmer to business user.

  • Business Intelligence is Changing: Make Your Game Plan

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericIt’s time to develop a strategy that will help you meet your informational challenges head-on. Watch the webinar to learn how to set your IT department up for business intelligence success. You’ll learn how the right data access tool will help you:

    • Access IBM i data faster
    • Deliver useful information to executives and business users
    • Empower users with secure data access

    Ready to make your game plan and finally keep up with your data access requests?

     

  • Controlling Insider Threats on IBM i

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericLet’s face facts: servers don’t hack other servers. Despite the avalanche of regulations, news headlines remain chock full of stories about data breaches, all initiated by insiders or intruders masquerading as insiders.
    User profiles are often duplicated or restored and are rarely reviewed for the appropriateness of their current configuration. This increases the risk of the profile being able to access data without the intended authority or having privileges that should be reserved for administrators.
    Watch security expert Robin Tatam as he discusses a new approach for onboarding new users on IBM i and best-practices techniques for managing and monitoring activities after they sign on.

  • Don't Just Settle for Query/400...

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericWhile introducing Sequel Data Access, we’ll address common frustrations with Query/400, discuss major data access, distribution trends, and more advanced query tools. Plus, you’ll learn how a tool like Sequel lightens IT’s load by:

    - Accessing real-time data, so you can make real-time decisions
    - Providing run-time prompts, so users can help themselves
    - Delivering instant results in Microsoft Excel and PDF, without the wait
    - Automating the query process with on-demand data, dashboards, and scheduled jobs

  • How to Manage Documents the Easy Way

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericWhat happens when your company depends on an outdated document management strategy?
    Everything is harder.
    You don’t need to stick with status quo anymore.
    Watch the webinar to learn how to put effective document management into practice and:

    • Capture documents faster, instead of wasting everyone’s time
    • Manage documents easily, so you can always find them
    • Distribute documents automatically, and move on to the next task

     

  • Lessons Learned from the AS/400 Breach

    SB_PowerTech_WC_GenericGet actionable info to avoid becoming the next cyberattack victim.
    In “Data breach digest—Scenarios from the field,” Verizon documented an AS/400 security breach. Whether you call it AS/400, iSeries, or IBM i, you now have proof that the system has been breached.
    Watch IBM i security expert Robin Tatam give an insightful discussion of the issues surrounding this specific scenario.
    Robin will also draw on his extensive cybersecurity experience to discuss policies, processes, and configuration details that you can implement to help reduce the risk of your system being the next victim of an attack.

  • Overwhelmed by Operating Systems?

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericIn this 30-minute recorded webinar, our experts demonstrate how you can:

    • Manage multiple platforms from a central location
    • View monitoring results in a single pane of glass on your desktop or mobile device
    • Take advantage of best practice, plug-and-play monitoring templates
    • Create rules to automate daily checks across your entire infrastructure
    • Receive notification if something is wrong or about to go wrong

    This presentation includes a live demo of Network Server Suite.

     

  • Real-Time Disk Monitoring with Robot Monitor

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericYou need to know when IBM i disk space starts to disappear and where it has gone before system performance and productivity start to suffer. Our experts will show you how Robot Monitor can help you pinpoint exactly when your auxiliary storage starts to disappear and why, so you can start taking a proactive approach to disk monitoring and analysis. You’ll also get insight into:

    • The main sources of disk consumption
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    • How to monitor objects and libraries in real time and near-real time
    • How to track long-term disk trends

     

     

  • Stop Re-keying Data Between IBM I and Other Applications

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericMany business still depend on RPG for their daily business processes and report generation.Wouldn’t it be nice if you could stop re-keying data between IBM i and other applications? Or if you could stop replicating data and start processing orders faster? Or what if you could automatically extract data from existing reports instead of re-keying? It’s all possible. Watch this webinar to learn about:

    • The data dilemma
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    • Data automation in practice

    Plus, see how HelpSystems data automation software will help you stop re-keying data.

     

  • The Top Five RPG Open Access Myths....BUSTED!

    SB_Profound_WC_GenericWhen it comes to IBM Rational Open Access: RPG Edition, there are still many misconceptions - especially where application modernization is concerned!

    In this Webinar, we'll address some of the biggest myths about RPG Open Access, including:

    • Modernizing with RPG OA requires significant changes to the source code
    • The RPG language is outdated and impractical for modernizing applications
    • Modernizing with RPG OA is the equivalent to "screen scraping"

     

  • Time to Remove the Paper from Your Desk and Become More Efficient

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericToo much paper is wasted. Attempts to locate documents in endless filing cabinets.And distributing documents is expensive and takes up far too much time.
    These are just three common reasons why it might be time for your company to implement a paperless document management system.
    Watch the webinar to learn more and discover how easy it can be to:

    • Capture
    • Manage
    • And distribute documents digitally

     

  • IBM i: It’s Not Just AS/400

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_Generic

    IBM’s Steve Will talks AS/400, POWER9, cognitive systems, and everything in between

    Are there still companies that use AS400? Of course!

    IBM i was built on the same foundation.
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    • IBM i development strategies in progress at IBM
    • Ways that Watson will shake hands with IBM i
    • Key takeaways from the AS/400 days

     

  • Ask the RDi Experts

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    • What are the “hidden gems” in RDi that can make me more productive?
    • What makes RDi Debug better than the STRDBG green screen debugger?
    • How can RDi help me find out if I’ve tested all lines of a program?
    • What’s the best way to transition from PDM to RDi?
    • How do I convince my long-term developers to use RDi?

    This is a unique, online opportunity to hear how you can get more out of RDi.

     

  • Node.js on IBM i Webinar Series Pt. 2: Setting Up Your Development Tools

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    • Different tools to develop Node.js applications on IBM i
    • Debugging Node.js
    • The basics of Git and tools to help those new to it
    • Using NodeRun.com as a pre-built development environment

     

     

  • Inside the Integrated File System (IFS)

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    • What is stored inside my IFS directories?
    • How do I monitor the IFS?
    • How do I replicate the IFS or back it up?
    • How do I secure the IFS?

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  • Expert Tips for IBM i Security: Beyond the Basics

    SB PowerTech WC GenericIn this session, IBM i security expert Robin Tatam provides a quick recap of IBM i security basics and guides you through some advanced cybersecurity techniques that can help you take data protection to the next level. Robin will cover:

    • Reducing the risk posed by special authorities
    • Establishing object-level security
    • Overseeing user actions and data access

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  • 5 IBM i Security Quick Wins

    SB PowerTech WC GenericIn today’s threat landscape, upper management is laser-focused on cybersecurity. You need to make progress in securing your systems—and make it fast.
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    Join top IBM i security expert Robin Tatam as he outlines the five fastest and most impactful changes you can make to strengthen IBM i security this year.
    Your system didn’t become unsecure overnight and you won’t be able to turn it around overnight either. But quick wins are possible with IBM i security, and Robin Tatam will show you how to achieve them.

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    SB PowerTech WC GenericA growing number of compliance mandates require sensitive data to be encrypted. But what kind of encryption solution will satisfy an auditor and how can you implement encryption on IBM i? Watch this on-demand webinar to find out how to meet today’s most common encryption requirements on IBM i. You’ll also learn:

    • Why disk encryption isn’t enough
    • What sets strong encryption apart from other solutions
    • Important considerations before implementing encryption

     

     

  • Security Bulletin: Malware Infection Discovered on IBM i Server!

    SB PowerTech WC GenericMalicious programs can bring entire businesses to their knees—and IBM i shops are not immune. It’s critical to grasp the true impact malware can have on IBM i and the network that connects to it. Attend this webinar to gain a thorough understanding of the relationships between:

    • Viruses, native objects, and the integrated file system (IFS)
    • Power Systems and Windows-based viruses and malware
    • PC-based anti-virus scanning versus native IBM i scanning

    There are a number of ways you can minimize your exposure to viruses. IBM i security expert Sandi Moore explains the facts, including how to ensure you're fully protected and compliant with regulations such as PCI.

     

     

  • Fight Cyber Threats with IBM i Encryption

    SB PowerTech WC GenericCyber attacks often target mission-critical servers, and those attack strategies are constantly changing. To stay on top of these threats, your cybersecurity strategies must evolve, too. In this session, IBM i security expert Robin Tatam provides a quick recap of IBM i security basics and guides you through some advanced cybersecurity techniques that can help you take data protection to the next level. Robin will cover:

    • Reducing the risk posed by special authorities
    • Establishing object-level security
    • Overseeing user actions and data access

     

     

     

  • 10 Practical IBM i Security Tips for Surviving Covid-19 and Working From Home

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  • How to Transfer IBM i Data to Microsoft Excel

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    • Download your IBM i data to Excel in a single step
    • Deliver data to business users in Excel via email or a scheduled job
    • Access IBM i data directly using the Excel add-in in Sequel

    Make 2020 the year you finally see your data clearly, quickly, and securely. Start by giving business users the ability to access crucial business data from IBM i the way they want it—in Microsoft Excel.

     

     

  • HA Alternatives: MIMIX Is Not Your Only Option on IBM i

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericIn this recorded webinar, our experts introduce you to the new HA transition technology available with our Robot HA software. You’ll learn how to:

    • Transition your rules from MIMIX (if you’re happy with them)
    • Simplify your day-to-day activities around high availability
    • Gain back time in your work week
    • Make your CEO happy about reducing IT costs

    Don’t stick with a legacy high availability solution that makes you uncomfortable when transitioning to something better can be simple, safe, and cost-effective.

     

     

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  • Backup and Recovery on IBM i: Your Strategy for the Unexpected

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413Robot automates the routine tasks of iSeries backup and recovery, saving you time and money and making the process safer and more reliable. Automate your backups with the Robot Backup and Recovery Solution. Key features include:
    - Simplified backup procedures
    - Easy data encryption
    - Save media management
    - Guided restoration
    - Seamless product integration
    Make sure your data survives when catastrophe hits. Try the Robot Backup and Recovery Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • Manage IBM i Messages by Exception with Robot

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413Managing messages on your IBM i can be more than a full-time job if you have to do it manually. How can you be sure you won’t miss important system events?
    Automate your message center with the Robot Message Management Solution. Key features include:
    - Automated message management
    - Tailored notifications and automatic escalation
    - System-wide control of your IBM i partitions
    - Two-way system notifications from your mobile device
    - Seamless product integration
    Try the Robot Message Management Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • Easiest Way to Save Money? Stop Printing IBM i Reports

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413Robot automates report bursting, distribution, bundling, and archiving, and offers secure, selective online report viewing.
    Manage your reports with the Robot Report Management Solution. Key features include:

    - Automated report distribution
    - View online without delay
    - Browser interface to make notes
    - Custom retention capabilities
    - Seamless product integration
    Rerun another report? Never again. Try the Robot Report Management Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • Hassle-Free IBM i Operations around the Clock

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413For over 30 years, Robot has been a leader in systems management for IBM i.
    Manage your job schedule with the Robot Job Scheduling Solution. Key features include:
    - Automated batch, interactive, and cross-platform scheduling
    - Event-driven dependency processing
    - Centralized monitoring and reporting
    - Audit log and ready-to-use reports
    - Seamless product integration
    Scale your software, not your staff. Try the Robot Job Scheduling Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • ACO MONITOR Manages your IBM i 24/7 and Notifies You When Your IBM i Needs Assistance!

    SB DDL Systems 5429More than a paging system - ACO MONITOR is a complete systems management solution for your Power Systems running IBM i. ACO MONITOR manages your Power System 24/7, uses advanced technology (like two-way messaging) to notify on-duty support personnel, and responds to complex problems before they reach critical status.

    ACO MONITOR is proven technology and is capable of processing thousands of mission-critical events daily. The software is pre-configured, easy to install, scalable, and greatly improves data center efficiency.