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What's New in V5R3 of iSeries Access for Windows

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Last June, the iSeries Access family delivered its eleventh update for native 32/64-bit Windows client connectivity.

If you've been using the AS/400/iSeries/i5 for awhile, you've probably installed many versions of the Windows client. As you may recall if you used the original Windows 95/NT client (5763-XD1), it was quite a drastic change when in V4R4 the new Client Access Express for Windows entered the picture. A major difference between these two technologies was at the communications layer. With the original client, you had to go through a set of communications configuration steps and then start the network application. Once this was up and running, all functions (such as 5250, print, etc.) ran over that connection, which remained open until the user stopped the connection; thus, when there was no user activity, the connection continually needed to respond to the AS/400 system to keep that session "alive" so it would be there when the user did want to use some function.

With the Express client, major changes improved communications. This did force Client Access to drop support for SNA/APPC, but it greatly improved the usability, reliability, and stability of TCP/IP connectivity. To connect, users are no longer required to set up network configurations; they simply select a function they wish to use (for example, 5250 emulation or data transfer) and provide the system name or address they wish to connect to. When they complete their task, the connection is ended until they select to run another task. This type of connectivity puts much less strain on the network, the server, and the desktop operating system.

The current iSeries Access for Windows client product made its debut with V4R4. Many enhancements have been added in each follow-on release, and many different types of iSeries users can use this product. For example, it contains all the iSeries Navigator, Operations Console, and EZ-Setup functions that are essential to anyone who is in system operations or is responsible for managing and administering an iSeries server. But this article doesn't cover those enhancements; instead, it highlights the new V5R3 improvements most useful to the typical end user, PC programmer, and PC network administrator.

For End Users

The new product offers many enhancements for end users.

PC5250 Emulation

The most widely used function in iSeries Access for Windows is the Windows 5250 emulator. iSeries Access for Windows contains the emulator portion of IBM Personal Communications Version 5.7 (a.k.a. PC5250), which enables users to run host applications (such as RPG or COBOL programs) and work with OS/400 and i5/OS system screens. Since the emulator runs natively on Windows, it provides maximum performance (compared to a browser-based solution), has keyboard mapping and other special key handling (such as Field Exit key), and allows host-initiated screen updates to be immediately displayed on the desktop. PC5250 printer emulation allows iSeries printer output to print on PC printers. Up to 26 display and 26 printer sessions can be simultaneously running on one PC and be connecting to one or more iSeries servers.

Key Usability Enhancements

  • Bypass sign-on can now be used in conjunction with Kerberos tickets to avoid a sign-on screen.
  • The Wrap Pasted Text feature allows users to paste copied text across fields and lines without breaking in the middle of a word or ending a line with an invalid word.
  • To be more consistent with other Windows applications, the "Move +/- sign" can be used before a number when performing copy or paste functions.
  • The Customize Pop-pad dialog allows users to customize the dimensions of individual keypads. They can also map key combinations to display a specific pop-up keypad and toggle focus to and from the keypads.
  • Users can display an accessible version of the Operator Information Area (OIA) by clicking View > Expanded OIA. Users can also map a key combination to toggle focus to and from the expanded OIA display.
  • The Collect Screen feature allows users to gather individual print screens for printing at the same time. They can then print the collected screens with the Print Collection function. These functions can be used concurrently with the regular Print Screen function.
  • Printer emulation now includes support for Basic_ascii print PDF and PDT output. This allows printing text without printer commands. A PDF contains Printer Commands to the right of the equals sign (=). In this PDF, the Printer Commands are removed so that just ASCII text is sent to the printer or file. This is also supported for bidirectional (LamAlef) users.
  • With the Autostart Java Applet functionality, users can run a Java applet automatically by adding the Run Applet function to a macro. Add this function to an autostart macro to make an applet run at session startup.  
  • Improved messages explain errors encountered.
  • Users can set Color Mapping and Blinking preferences via text boxes in addition to the color sliders.
  • Support has been added for Hindi and Japanese code page 1390/1399.
  • Japanese USB 106 key keyboard has been added to the currently supported U.S. USB 101 keyboard support. Proper layout is automatically loaded.

Data Transfer

Data Transfer provides easy-to-use GUIs for uploading and downloading information between spreadsheets and other PC applications and the iSeries database. It also provides ActiveX Automation support for all its GUIs so that data can be transferred to and from the iSeries database via Visual Basic and other PC languages that support ActiveX Automation.

Data Transfer provides other functions, such as add-ins to Microsoft Excel, for both uploading and downloading data between Excel and the iSeries database. And it has a wizard so users can "Create An iSeries Database File" from an existing PC file. They simply specify the name of the PC file upon which the new iSeries file should be based, and the wizard creates a File Description File (FDF) on the iSeries. Data Transfer also supports batch transfers so you can run multiple requests at one time. It also enables you to schedule a transfer request without user intervention, or you could let users run predefined requests by simply clicking on an icon on their desktop.

Key Data Transfer Enhancements 

  • A new Data Transfer option converts standard Excel internal date and time formats to iSeries date and time without prior conversion to a character string.
  • Convert numeric data in character columns to character data. With this option disabled, numeric cells in character columns cause Data Transfer to end with an error message. By enabling this option, you specify that numeric cells convert to character on the upload to the iSeries to avoid Data Transfer ending when it encounters numeric data. In the past, users couldn't upload this type of data. An example is a nine-character ZIP code (12345-6789). The five-digit ZIP codes are numeric, while the ZIP+4 data is character.
  • The Excel add-in now displays the most recently used request list and last directory used.
  • Data compression enables faster transfers.
  • Unicode allows the use of many characters from many languages from a single character set (extremely important in today's global economy). For example, a product description can be stored in the database in 10 languages and used during product packaging for all these languages. The following Unicode features are now in Data Transfer: true Unicode support in Microsoft Excel Version 8 files; Unicode display support; Unicode print support (including configurable fonts); support of UTF-8 and UTF-16 native DB2 column types; and a new Unicode text file format that allows you to store data in UTF-8, UTF-16, or Big-endian UTF-16.

For Users Running PC Applications or Programmers Writing PC Applications

iSeries Access for Windows is not only a GUI end-user product. It also has a variety of middleware that Windows applications can use to access iSeries resources.

iSeries ODBC Driver

ODBC is a Microsoft-defined standard database access interface for Windows applications. iSeries Access for Windows provides an iSeries ODBC driver to enable any 32-bit Windows application (written to the ODBC MS V3.0 specification) to transparently access DB2/400 information. iSeries ODBC driver supports Dynamic SQL access at static SQL speed (4x improvement) and the Block Fetch, Insert, Update, and Delete functions. It also takes advantage of DB2/400 Optimizer and supports Stored Procedures (result sets from stored procedures), and SQL Collections do not need to be defined. V5R3 includes the following support: 

  • BINARY and VARBINARY data types
  • UTF-8 and UTF-16 data for globalization of your applications
  • Increased precision of decimal numbers
  • Enhanced MTS support
  • Support for the 1999 ANSI/ISO Core Level SQL standard

iSeries OLE DB Provider (Drivers)

OLE DB is a Microsoft 32-bit Windows architecture for universal data access. OLE DB, a superset of ODBC, is a multi-platform access method for relational and non-relational data. iSeries Access for Windows includes an iSeries OLE DB Provider so that any PC application written to this interface can access iSeries resources. It can be used for record-level access, SQL calls, stored procedures, data queues, programs, and CL commands. The OLE DB and ActiveX toolkit, which provides add-in wizards to Visual Basic and other sample programs, is provided as part of the iSeries Access Toolkit. V5R3 includes the following: 

  • The IBMDA400 data provider (OLE DB) is the driver included for working with applications. Now, two additional data providers are included: IBMDASQL is for developing and managing SQL applications. It includes SQL commitment control and can be used in an MTS network environment. IBMDARLA can be used if your new application needs record-level access for forward-only cursors and block fetches.
  • SQL enhancements include custom blocking in SQL, SQL data compression, and SQL package support.
  • DB2 UDB for iSeries support includes BINARY and VARBINARY data types, database larger decimal precision support, and NLSS sort sequence.
  • Unicode support is provided for all OLE DB Data Providers (UTF-8 and UTF-16 data for globalization of your applications).

IBM DB2 UDB for iSeries .NET Provider

New in V5R3 is the IBM DB2 UDB for iSeries .NET Provider (a.k.a. the Managed Provider or the IBM.Data.DB2.iSeries data provider), which allows applications that use the .NET framework to access DB2 UDB databases using a full set of .NET classes and data types. It complements the existing OLE DB providers and allows you to use the newer .NET technologies to read and retrieve data, make changes, and execute SQL server commands against data objects in the secure environment of your iSeries server.

The Managed Provider, based on the ADO.NET architecture, provides a set of classes that uses .NET technologies to allow access to database servers. This enables applications to access and use data stored in your DB2 database. According to ADO.NET rules, managed providers do not define traditional external data structures or header files, so Managed Provider does not have a header file or unique data structures. ADO.NET data providers do not offer as many classes or interfaces as traditional data providers, and the properties for these classes are always a single word with no intervening spaces. Therefore, you can get and set Managed Provider properties by simply calling to methods supported by the various classes.

The Managed Provider is compiled for .NET and runs under the .NET Common Language Runtime (CLR) function and, therefore, follows established .NET provider and class definitions. These functions are included:

  • SQL (INSERT, UPDATE, DELETE)
  • Commitment control
  • Connection pooling
  • SQL naming
  • Unicode
  • Tracing
  • Threads
  • IASPs (multiple databases)
  • Compression
  • Limited stored procedure support

Note: Several important fixes were added after GA. For best results, install the latest iSeries Access for Windows service pack.

Incoming Remote Command (IRC)

RUNRMTCMD is used to run a PC command from the OS/400 or i5/OS command line in a 5250 session. Since it's a CL command, RUNRMTCMD may also be run from a CL program running on a server. The name of the iSeries Access for Windows program that allows an incoming remote command to be run on the PC operating system is CWBRXD (RXD stands for Remote eXecution Daemon) or IRC (the terms are used interchangeably).

In V5R3, the IRC program has a new option called /loadprof, which allows you to load the user profile information for a remote command that runs in the security context of a known user ID. Since this allows commands to have access to the user-specific registry and environment variable settings while they are running, some commands that previously failed due to the lack of the needed authorization to the user registry and environment variables will now succeed. You can set and conveniently save this option on the Incoming Remote Command tab of iSeries Access for Windows Properties (check the box called "Load user profile when command run in user context") so that it does not have to be reset each time the command is run.

For Network Administrators Handling iSeries Access for Windows Software Distribution

iSeries Access for Windows V5R3 can be installed on Windows NT 4.0/ 2000/XP Professional/2003 Server. It cannot be installed on Windows 95/98/ME. If you have PCs with Windows 95, continue using iSeries Access for Windows V5R1. If you have PCs with Windows 98/ME, continue using iSeries Access for Windows V5R2.

You can have a mixture of the V5R1, V5R2, and V5R3 levels of iSeries Access for Windows installed on PCs in your network. Have your users on the V5R1 or V5R2 levels go into the "Access for Windows Properties" function, select the Service tab, and where it asks how often to check for a new service level (a.k.a. Service Pack), select Never. This way, you can install V5R3 of Access for Windows on your iSeries and install V5R3 Service Packs; your PCs with the V5R3 version will automatically get the latest updates while the PCs with V5R1 or V5R2 will not be affected.

iSeries Access for Windows V5R3 provides several install options. Here is the approximate disk space required, based on the Install option you select:

  • Typical: 148 MB
  • PC5250 User: 39 MB
  • Full: 221 MB
  • Custom: Varies (depending on components installed)

Summary

If your iSeries server is still at V5R2, you can get all the latest products in the iSeries Access family by ordering the no-charge Feature Number 2647 of 5722-XW1 (you must have OS/400 Software Subscription or Software Maintenance). All products in the V5R3 iSeries Access family can run on V5R2. If you plan to upgrade to i5/OS V5R3, you can then also upgrade to iSeries Access V5R3 and get the latest versions of each product.

After this many releases of the Windows client, you might have wondered what there could possibly be left to do. As you can see, the many enhancements in iSeries Access for Windows V5R3 enable it to continue meeting worldwide customer requirements.

Carole Miner is a Senior Software Engineer for iSeries Client Integration, IBM Rochester Laboratory. Carole has a strong grounding in programming, planning, and leadership, including the original PC Support, FSIOP (now called Integrated xSeries Server). Carole's current focus is client integration technologies and support for iSeries Access products. She is an internationally known technical speaker, author, and iSeries authority.

Last June, the iSeries Access family delivered its eleventh update for native 32/64-bit Windows client connectivity.

If you've been using the AS/400/iSeries/i5 for awhile, you've probably installed many versions of the Windows client. As you may recall if you used the original Windows 95/NT client (5763-XD1), it was quite a drastic change when in V4R4 the new Client Access Express for Windows entered the picture. A major difference between these two technologies was at the communications layer. With the original client, you had to go through a set of communications configuration steps and then start the network application. Once this was up and running, all functions (such as 5250, print, etc.) ran over that connection, which remained open until the user stopped the connection; thus, when there was no user activity, the connection continually needed to respond to the AS/400 system to keep that session "alive" so it would be there when the user did want to use some function.

With the Express client, major changes improved communications. This did force Client Access to drop support for SNA/APPC, but it greatly improved the usability, reliability, and stability of TCP/IP connectivity. To connect, users are no longer required to set up network configurations; they simply select a function they wish to use (for example, 5250 emulation or data transfer) and provide the system name or address they wish to connect to. When they complete their task, the connection is ended until they select to run another task. This type of connectivity puts much less strain on the network, the server, and the desktop operating system.

The current iSeries Access for Windows client product made its debut with V4R4. Many enhancements have been added in each follow-on release, and many different types of iSeries users can use this product. For example, it contains all the iSeries Navigator, Operations Console, and EZ-Setup functions that are essential to anyone who is in system operations or is responsible for managing and administering an iSeries server. But this article doesn't cover those enhancements; instead, it highlights the new V5R3 improvements most useful to the typical end user, PC programmer, and PC network administrator.

For End Users

The new product offers many enhancements for end users.

PC5250 Emulation

The most widely used function in iSeries Access for Windows is the Windows 5250 emulator. iSeries Access for Windows contains the emulator portion of IBM Personal Communications Version 5.7 (a.k.a. PC5250), which enables users to run host applications (such as RPG or COBOL programs) and work with OS/400 and i5/OS system screens. Since the emulator runs natively on Windows, it provides maximum performance (compared to a browser-based solution), has keyboard mapping and other special key handling (such as Field Exit key), and allows host-initiated screen updates to be immediately displayed on the desktop. PC5250 printer emulation allows iSeries printer output to print on PC printers. Up to 26 display and 26 printer sessions can be simultaneously running on one PC and be connecting to one or more iSeries servers.

Key Usability Enhancements

  • Bypass sign-on can now be used in conjunction with Kerberos tickets to avoid a sign-on screen.
  • The Wrap Pasted Text feature allows users to paste copied text across fields and lines without breaking in the middle of a word or ending a line with an invalid word.
  • To be more consistent with other Windows applications, the "Move +/- sign" can be used before a number when performing copy or paste functions.
  • The Customize Pop-pad dialog allows users to customize the dimensions of individual keypads. They can also map key combinations to display a specific pop-up keypad and toggle focus to and from the keypads.
  • Users can display an accessible version of the Operator Information Area (OIA) by clicking View > Expanded OIA. Users can also map a key combination to toggle focus to and from the expanded OIA display.
  • The Collect Screen feature allows users to gather individual print screens for printing at the same time. They can then print the collected screens with the Print Collection function. These functions can be used concurrently with the regular Print Screen function.
  • Printer emulation now includes support for Basic_ascii print PDF and PDT output. This allows printing text without printer commands. A PDF contains Printer Commands to the right of the equals sign (=). In this PDF, the Printer Commands are removed so that just ASCII text is sent to the printer or file. This is also supported for bidirectional (LamAlef) users.
  • With the Autostart Java Applet functionality, users can run a Java applet automatically by adding the Run Applet function to a macro. Add this function to an autostart macro to make an applet run at session startup.  
  • Improved messages explain errors encountered.
  • Users can set Color Mapping and Blinking preferences via text boxes in addition to the color sliders.
  • Support has been added for Hindi and Japanese code page 1390/1399.
  • Japanese USB 106 key keyboard has been added to the currently supported U.S. USB 101 keyboard support. Proper layout is automatically loaded.

Data Transfer

Data Transfer provides easy-to-use GUIs for uploading and downloading information between spreadsheets and other PC applications and the iSeries database. It also provides ActiveX Automation support for all its GUIs so that data can be transferred to and from the iSeries database via Visual Basic and other PC languages that support ActiveX Automation.

Data Transfer provides other functions, such as add-ins to Microsoft Excel, for both uploading and downloading data between Excel and the iSeries database. And it has a wizard so users can "Create An iSeries Database File" from an existing PC file. They simply specify the name of the PC file upon which the new iSeries file should be based, and the wizard creates a File Description File (FDF) on the iSeries. Data Transfer also supports batch transfers so you can run multiple requests at one time. It also enables you to schedule a transfer request without user intervention, or you could let users run predefined requests by simply clicking on an icon on their desktop.

Key Data Transfer Enhancements 

  • A new Data Transfer option converts standard Excel internal date and time formats to iSeries date and time without prior conversion to a character string.
  • Convert numeric data in character columns to character data. With this option disabled, numeric cells in character columns cause Data Transfer to end with an error message. By enabling this option, you specify that numeric cells convert to character on the upload to the iSeries to avoid Data Transfer ending when it encounters numeric data. In the past, users couldn't upload this type of data. An example is a nine-character ZIP code (12345-6789). The five-digit ZIP codes are numeric, while the ZIP+4 data is character.
  • The Excel add-in now displays the most recently used request list and last directory used.
  • Data compression enables faster transfers.
  • Unicode allows the use of many characters from many languages from a single character set (extremely important in today's global economy). For example, a product description can be stored in the database in 10 languages and used during product packaging for all these languages. The following Unicode features are now in Data Transfer: true Unicode support in Microsoft Excel Version 8 files; Unicode display support; Unicode print support (including configurable fonts); support of UTF-8 and UTF-16 native DB2 column types; and a new Unicode text file format that allows you to store data in UTF-8, UTF-16, or Big-endian UTF-16.

For Users Running PC Applications or Programmers Writing PC Applications

iSeries Access for Windows is not only a GUI end-user product. It also has a variety of middleware that Windows applications can use to access iSeries resources.

iSeries ODBC Driver

ODBC is a Microsoft-defined standard database access interface for Windows applications. iSeries Access for Windows provides an iSeries ODBC driver to enable any 32-bit Windows application (written to the ODBC MS V3.0 specification) to transparently access DB2/400 information. iSeries ODBC driver supports Dynamic SQL access at static SQL speed (4x improvement) and the Block Fetch, Insert, Update, and Delete functions. It also takes advantage of DB2/400 Optimizer and supports Stored Procedures (result sets from stored procedures), and SQL Collections do not need to be defined. V5R3 includes the following support: 

  • BINARY and VARBINARY data types
  • UTF-8 and UTF-16 data for globalization of your applications
  • Increased precision of decimal numbers
  • Enhanced MTS support
  • Support for the 1999 ANSI/ISO Core Level SQL standard

iSeries OLE DB Provider (Drivers)

OLE DB is a Microsoft 32-bit Windows architecture for universal data access. OLE DB, a superset of ODBC, is a multi-platform access method for relational and non-relational data. iSeries Access for Windows includes an iSeries OLE DB Provider so that any PC application written to this interface can access iSeries resources. It can be used for record-level access, SQL calls, stored procedures, data queues, programs, and CL commands. The OLE DB and ActiveX toolkit, which provides add-in wizards to Visual Basic and other sample programs, is provided as part of the iSeries Access Toolkit. V5R3 includes the following: 

  • The IBMDA400 data provider (OLE DB) is the driver included for working with applications. Now, two additional data providers are included: IBMDASQL is for developing and managing SQL applications. It includes SQL commitment control and can be used in an MTS network environment. IBMDARLA can be used if your new application needs record-level access for forward-only cursors and block fetches.
  • SQL enhancements include custom blocking in SQL, SQL data compression, and SQL package support.
  • DB2 UDB for iSeries support includes BINARY and VARBINARY data types, database larger decimal precision support, and NLSS sort sequence.
  • Unicode support is provided for all OLE DB Data Providers (UTF-8 and UTF-16 data for globalization of your applications).

IBM DB2 UDB for iSeries .NET Provider

New in V5R3 is the IBM DB2 UDB for iSeries .NET Provider (a.k.a. the Managed Provider or the IBM.Data.DB2.iSeries data provider), which allows applications that use the .NET framework to access DB2 UDB databases using a full set of .NET classes and data types. It complements the existing OLE DB providers and allows you to use the newer .NET technologies to read and retrieve data, make changes, and execute SQL server commands against data objects in the secure environment of your iSeries server.

The Managed Provider, based on the ADO.NET architecture, provides a set of classes that uses .NET technologies to allow access to database servers. This enables applications to access and use data stored in your DB2 database. According to ADO.NET rules, managed providers do not define traditional external data structures or header files, so Managed Provider does not have a header file or unique data structures. ADO.NET data providers do not offer as many classes or interfaces as traditional data providers, and the properties for these classes are always a single word with no intervening spaces. Therefore, you can get and set Managed Provider properties by simply calling to methods supported by the various classes.

The Managed Provider is compiled for .NET and runs under the .NET Common Language Runtime (CLR) function and, therefore, follows established .NET provider and class definitions. These functions are included:

  • SQL (INSERT, UPDATE, DELETE)
  • Commitment control
  • Connection pooling
  • SQL naming
  • Unicode
  • Tracing
  • Threads
  • IASPs (multiple databases)
  • Compression
  • Limited stored procedure support

Note: Several important fixes were added after GA. For best results, install the latest iSeries Access for Windows service pack.

Incoming Remote Command (IRC)

RUNRMTCMD is used to run a PC command from the OS/400 or i5/OS command line in a 5250 session. Since it's a CL command, RUNRMTCMD may also be run from a CL program running on a server. The name of the iSeries Access for Windows program that allows an incoming remote command to be run on the PC operating system is CWBRXD (RXD stands for Remote eXecution Daemon) or IRC (the terms are used interchangeably).

In V5R3, the IRC program has a new option called /loadprof, which allows you to load the user profile information for a remote command that runs in the security context of a known user ID. Since this allows commands to have access to the user-specific registry and environment variable settings while they are running, some commands that previously failed due to the lack of the needed authorization to the user registry and environment variables will now succeed. You can set and conveniently save this option on the Incoming Remote Command tab of iSeries Access for Windows Properties (check the box called "Load user profile when command run in user context") so that it does not have to be reset each time the command is run.

For Network Administrators Handling iSeries Access for Windows Software Distribution

iSeries Access for Windows V5R3 can be installed on Windows NT 4.0/ 2000/XP Professional/2003 Server. It cannot be installed on Windows 95/98/ME. If you have PCs with Windows 95, continue using iSeries Access for Windows V5R1. If you have PCs with Windows 98/ME, continue using iSeries Access for Windows V5R2.

You can have a mixture of the V5R1, V5R2, and V5R3 levels of iSeries Access for Windows installed on PCs in your network. Have your users on the V5R1 or V5R2 levels go into the "Access for Windows Properties" function, select the Service tab, and where it asks how often to check for a new service level (a.k.a. Service Pack), select Never. This way, you can install V5R3 of Access for Windows on your iSeries and install V5R3 Service Packs; your PCs with the V5R3 version will automatically get the latest updates while the PCs with V5R1 or V5R2 will not be affected.

iSeries Access for Windows V5R3 provides several install options. Here is the approximate disk space required, based on the Install option you select:

  • Typical: 148 MB
  • PC5250 User: 39 MB
  • Full: 221 MB
  • Custom: Varies (depending on components installed)

Summary

If your iSeries server is still at V5R2, you can get all the latest products in the iSeries Access family by ordering the no-charge Feature Number 2647 of 5722-XW1 (you must have OS/400 Software Subscription or Software Maintenance). All products in the V5R3 iSeries Access family can run on V5R2. If you plan to upgrade to i5/OS V5R3, you can then also upgrade to iSeries Access V5R3 and get the latest versions of each product.

After this many releases of the Windows client, you might have wondered what there could possibly be left to do. As you can see, the many enhancements in iSeries Access for Windows V5R3 enable it to continue meeting worldwide customer requirements.

Carole Miner is a Senior Software Engineer for iSeries Client Integration, IBM Rochester Laboratory. Carole has a strong grounding in programming, planning, and leadership, including the original PC Support, FSIOP (now called Integrated xSeries Server). Carole's current focus is client integration technologies and support for iSeries Access products. She is an internationally known technical speaker, author, and iSeries authority.

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    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

    SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericYou must be asking yourself: am I doing everything I can to protect my organization’s data? Tune in as our panel of IBM i high availability experts discuss:


    - Why companies don’t test role swaps when they know they should
    - Whether high availability in the cloud makes sense for IBM i users
    - Why some organizations don’t have high availability yet
    - How to get high availability up and running at your organization
    - 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.

    Download and watch today!

     

  • 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
    • Deliver truly modern application interfaces with Profound UI
    • Extend your RPG applications to include Web Services and NPM packages with Node.js

     

  • Accelerating Programmer Productivity with Sequel

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_Generic

    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
    • How to monitor temporary storage and QTEMP objects in real time
    • 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
    • 3 ways to stop re-keying data
    • 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.
    Watch this recorded webinar with IBM i Chief Architect Steve Will and IBM Power Champion Tom Huntington to gain a unique perspective on the direction of this platform, including:

    • 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

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericWatch this recording where Jim Buck, Susan Gantner, and Charlie Guarino answered your questions, including:

    • 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

    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. In Part 2, Brian May teaches you the different tooling options available for writing code, debugging, and using Git for version control. Attend this webinar to learn:

    • 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)

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericDuring this webinar, you’ll learn basic tips, helpful tools, and integrated file system commands—including WRKLNK—for managing your IFS directories and Access Client Solutions (ACS). We’ll answer your most pressing IFS questions, including:

    • 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?

    Understanding what the integrated file system is and how to work with it must be a critical part of your systems management plans for IBM i.

     

  • 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

    Don't miss this chance to take your knowledge of IBM i security beyond the basics.

     

     

  • 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.
    There’s no shortage of actions you could take, but what tactics will actually deliver the results you need? And how can you find a security strategy that fits your budget and time constraints?
    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.

  • How to Meet the Newest Encryption Requirements on IBM i

    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

    SB PowerTech WC GenericNow that many organizations have moved to a work from home model, security concerns have risen.

    During this session Carol Woodbury will discuss the issues that the world is currently seeing such as increased malware attacks and then provide practical actions you can take to both monitor and protect your IBM i during this challenging time.

     

  • How to Transfer IBM i Data to Microsoft Excel

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_Generic3 easy ways to get IBM i data into Excel every time
    There’s an easy, more reliable way to import your IBM i data to Excel? It’s called Sequel. During this webinar, our data access experts demonstrate how you can simplify the process of getting data from multiple sources—including Db2 for i—into Excel. Watch to learn how to:

    • 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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    SB CYBRA PPL 5382

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    Produce bar code labels, electronic forms, ad hoc reports, and RFID tags – without programming! MarkMagic is the only document design and print solution that combines report writing, WYSIWYG label and forms design, and conditional printing in one integrated product.

    Request your trial now!

  • 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.