Sidebar

Microsoft LightSwitch Web Apps and DB2 for i

Development Tools / Utilities
Typography
  • Smaller Small Medium Big Bigger
  • Default Helvetica Segoe Georgia Times

Use LightSwitch and a SQL Server proxy to build DB2 for i-based web apps.

 

In my TechTip "Build Web Apps with the Flip of a LightSwitch", I introduced Microsoft LightSwitch and discussed how it can be used to build mobile-friendly web applications. Because it's a rapid application development (RAD) tool, the increased productivity of churning out simple applications and maintenance screens makes LightSwitch an attractive tool, even for developers who don't have much experience with .NET or web development.

 

I noted however, for shops that use DB2 for i, that the lack of a freely available Entity Framework .NET data provider can be a stumbling block. But if you have SQL Server (even the free SQL Server express), you can use the technique I'll demonstrate here whereby SQL Server can be used as a proxy to connect a LightSwitch app to DB2 for i.

 

The SQL Server setup instructions may seem a bit long, but most of these steps need to be done only once.

 

This article assumes that you have some familiarity with SQL Server, ODBC, IBM i Access, and the Microsoft Visual Studio IDE. Also, before doing loads of reading, you may want to glance through the article and look at the application figures 11-13 toward the end of the article so that you have an idea of the end product in mind.

The Demo Setup

The sample app is used to maintain data in the CorpData.Projects table in DB2 for i. The application is a mobile-friendly web application that can run on many devices.

 

As for components in the demo, I'm using the following:

  • IBM i 7.2 (DB2 for i Group PTF 1)
  • IBM i Access 7.1 Service Level SI53584 (using the ODBC driver)
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2012 Datacenter
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2012 SP1 Dev Edition (SP1) - 11.0.3339.0 (X64)
  • Visual Studio 2013 Premium Update 3

It shouldn't matter if you're running a somewhat older version of SQL Server, Windows, System i Access, IBM i, etc. Just make sure the components of the systems are up to date. The big requirement is Visual Studio 2013 Update 3 (Professional edition or higher) because there's an enhancement to LightSwitch that allows a manual declaration of primary key columns on views (more on this later). As already noted, hopefully Microsoft will garner more LightSwitch adherents with the new Visual Studio 2013 Community edition. This is the free equivalent of Visual Studio professional edition (the difference is just in the licensing).

 

For ODBC connectivity between SQL Server and another database platform, remember that the ODBC data source should be defined as a system DSN (or a user DSN if it's configured for the same user account running the SQL Server service). Also, make sure the ODBC driver version used in the DSN (32/64-bit) matches the SQL Server version (32/64-bit). Finally, I suggest using the *SQL naming convention with the IBM i Access ODBC driver. The last time I tried, using the *SYS naming convention with SQL Server didn't work even though the dot (.) separator is valid using either *SQL or *SYS naming (starting in IBM i 7.1 PTF Group Level 15).

Sample DB2 Data

For data, I use the old iSeries sample DB2 data library called CORPDATA. The library is not installed by default but can be installed by executing the following procedure:

 

CALL QSYS.CREATE_SQL_SAMPLE('CORPDATA')

 

Note: If you already have this library on your system and it's been modified, you may want to remove it and recreate it. The table definitions for the sample data can be found here.

SQL Server Setup

Warning: What you're about to read may seem excessive and downright ugly. Keep in mind that many of the items I'm discussing require only a one-time setup. Further, the requirements for journaling and XA transactions apply only to read/write scenarios. If you're working with a read-only app, you don't have to bother with XA transactions. If you have an Entity Framework compatible DB2 for i .NET data provider, you can skip this part and go to the section below on creating a Visual Studio LightSwitch project.

 

Install IBM i Access on the SQL Server box, including the ODBC driver. Next, set up an ODBC data source called DB2i to connect to your DB2 for i CORPDATA schema.

 

For the demo, LightSwitch will be updating DB2 for i data vicariously through SQL Server's linked server facility. LightSwitch will update special "views" in SQL Server that are dependent on DB2 for i tables. Reading or updating these SQL Server views actually reads/updates the DB2 tables.

 

Now, define a linked server to connect SQL Server to DB2 for i using the ODBC driver. Shown below is a T-SQL script that will create a linked server named DB2i (based on an ODBC data source called DB2i). Make sure to place your own DB2 for i user name and password in the script below (highlighted in red). Also, replace all references to S104X7AB with the name of your DB2 for i relational database entry (use the WRKRDBDIRE command if you're not sure what your *LOCAL RDB entry is called). Once the replacements have been made, run the script on your SQL Server using SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS).

 

USE [master]

GO

 

EXEC master.dbo.sp_addlinkedserver @server = N'DB2I', @srvproduct=N'DB2 for i', @provider=N'MSDASQL', @datasrc=N'DB2i', @provstr=N'CMT=*NONE;DBQ=CORPDATA;NAM=0;XLATE=1', @catalog=N'S104X7AB'

 

 

EXEC master.dbo.sp_addlinkedsrvlogin @rmtsrvname=N'DB2I',@useself=N'False',@locallogin=NULL,@rmtuser=N'MyUser',@rmtpassword='MyPwd'

GO

EXEC master.dbo.sp_serveroption @server=N'DB2I', @optname=N'collation compatible', @optvalue=N'false'

GO

EXEC master.dbo.sp_serveroption @server=N'DB2I', @optname=N'data access', @optvalue=N'true'

GO

EXEC master.dbo.sp_serveroption @server=N'DB2I', @optname=N'dist', @optvalue=N'false'

GO

EXEC master.dbo.sp_serveroption @server=N'DB2I', @optname=N'pub', @optvalue=N'false'

GO

EXEC master.dbo.sp_serveroption @server=N'DB2I', @optname=N'rpc', @optvalue=N'true'

GO

EXEC master.dbo.sp_serveroption @server=N'DB2I', @optname=N'rpc out', @optvalue=N'true'

GO

EXEC master.dbo.sp_serveroption @server=N'DB2I', @optname=N'sub', @optvalue=N'false'

GO

EXEC master.dbo.sp_serveroption @server=N'DB2I', @optname=N'connect timeout', @optvalue=N'0'

GO

EXEC master.dbo.sp_serveroption @server=N'DB2I', @optname=N'collation name', @optvalue=null

GO

EXEC master.dbo.sp_serveroption @server=N'DB2I', @optname=N'lazy schema validation', @optvalue=N'false'

GO

EXEC master.dbo.sp_serveroption @server=N'DB2I', @optname=N'query timeout', @optvalue=N'0'

GO

EXEC master.dbo.sp_serveroption @server=N'DB2I', @optname=N'use remote collation', @optvalue=N'true'

GO

EXEC master.dbo.sp_serveroption @server=N'DB2I', @optname=N'remote proc transaction promotion', @optvalue=N'true'

GO

 

SQL Server is now ready to communicate with DB2 for i.

 

Next, create a database in SQL Server called LightSwitchDemo using SSMS (unless you've modified your model database, the default options are probably fine). The database's only purpose is to host objects that will be used to connect to DB2 for i.

 

It's time to create views in SQL Server that reference DB2 for i tables. Run the following script in SSMS to create views that map directly to DB2 for i tables (using the four-part naming convention.) Remember to replace S104X7AB with your own DB2 for i RDB name.

 

Use LightSwitchDemo

GO

CREATE VIEW ACT AS SELECT * FROM DB2i.S104X7AB.CORPDATA.ACT;

CREATE VIEW CL_SCHED AS SELECT * FROM DB2i.S104X7AB.CORPDATA.CL_SCHED;

CREATE VIEW DEPARTMENT AS SELECT * FROM DB2i.S104X7AB.CORPDATA.DEPARTMENT;

CREATE VIEW EMP_PHOTO AS SELECT * FROM DB2i.S104X7AB.CORPDATA.EMP_PHOTO;

CREATE VIEW EMP_RESUME AS SELECT * FROM DB2i.S104X7AB.CORPDATA.EMP_RESUME;

CREATE VIEW EMPLOYEE AS SELECT * FROM DB2i.S104X7AB.CORPDATA.EMPLOYEE;

CREATE VIEW EMPPROJACT AS SELECT * FROM DB2i.S104X7AB.CORPDATA.EMPPROJACT;

CREATE VIEW IN_TRAY AS SELECT * FROM DB2i.S104X7AB.CORPDATA.IN_TRAY;

CREATE VIEW ORG AS SELECT * FROM DB2i.S104X7AB.CORPDATA.ORG;

CREATE VIEW PROJACT AS SELECT * FROM DB2i.S104X7AB.CORPDATA.PROJACT;

CREATE VIEW PROJECT AS SELECT * FROM DB2i.S104X7AB.CORPDATA.PROJECT;

CREATE VIEW SALES AS SELECT * FROM DB2i.S104X7AB.CORPDATA.SALES;

CREATE VIEW STAFF AS SELECT * FROM DB2i.S104X7AB.CORPDATA.STAFF;

 

When accessing the new SQL Server PROJECT view, SQL Server will query the DB2 for i table called CORPDATA.PROJECT. You can test your linked server to DB2 for i by running the following T-SQL query in SSMS in the context of the LightSwitchDemo database:

 

SELECT * FROM PROJECT

Distributed (XA) Transactions

When SQL Server updates data in another RDBMS using a linked server, it tries to do so using a distributed transaction (DT). DTs are intended to make sure that data modified within a transaction can be successfully committed on multiple platforms or else rolled back in both places. A few configuration issues need attention when getting DTs to work with DB2 for i.

 

A side effect of distributed transactions is that SQL Server will sometimes attempt to nest transactions. The DB2 for i ODBC driver, however, doesn't support nested transactions. To bypass this unwanted nesting, the XACT_ABORT setting should be on for any SQL Server connection attempting to update DB2 data. Setting XACT_ABORT on will cause SQL Server to abort any in-progress transactions when an error occurs.

 

There's not an easy way to control the XACT_ABORT connection setting from LightSwitch, but this setting can be overridden globally in SQL Server using the following script:

 

-- Server wide SET XACT_ABORT ON

EXEC sp_configure 'user options', 16384

RECONFIGURE WITH OVERRIDE

 

Warning: Changing this setting may alter the behavior of existing database application code. If you're not sure how this setting change will affect SQL Server production databases, use a standalone instance of SQL Server for this demo.

Windows Server Setup for Distributed Transactions (DTs)

For SQL Server to participate in a DT with DB2 for i via the IBM ODBC driver, a Windows service (on the box running SQL Server) called the distributed transaction coordinator must be configured to process XA Transactions. Screen shots for how to do this in Windows Server 2012 are shown here (other versions of Windows may vary slightly):

 

012815SansoterraDB2LSFigure1 

Figure 1: Click on Administrative Tools > Component Services > Computers > My Computer > Distributed Transaction Coordinator > Local DTC (right-click and choose properties).

 

012815SansoterraDB2LSFigure2

Figure 2: In the Local DTC Properties window, select the security tab and then check "Enable XA Transactions."

 

If you do not complete this step, most likely you will encounter the following ugly message when you attempt to update data in LightSwitch (read operations from DB2 will be fine):

 

OLE DB provider "MSDASQL" for linked server "DB2i" returned message "[IBM][System i Access ODBC Driver]Enlist with DTC phase failed. 2".

 

Because of the distributed transaction requirement of this demo, the DB2 for i tables must be journaled so that in-process transactions can be rolled back if needed. The CORPDATA sample data is journaled by default.

 

In summary, reading or updating the demo's SQL Server views is equivalent to reading or updating from DB2 for i tables; that's the beauty of linked servers. The LightSwitch app will connect to SQL Server and access the views in the LightSwitchDemo database.

The Visual Studio LightSwitch Demo

This demo assumes you have some familiarity working with a Visual Studio solution. This section is a bit long, but I'll take you step by step through how to create the LightSwitch application (and the project assumes that you have a SQL Server instance ready to go following the previously listed configuration requirements).

 

To create the demo LightSwitch application:

  • Open Visual Studio.
  • Choose New Project.
  • Under Templates, choose your preferred language (VB or C#), choose LightSwitch, and then choose the LightSwitch HTML application (as shown below in Figure 3). 

012815SansoterraDB2LSFigure3
Figure 3: Create a new Visual Studio LightSwitch HTML application.

  • Choose a name for the project (I called this sample CorpDataMaintenance).
  • When the "Start With data" tab appears, click the "Attach to external Data Source" link and choose Database.
  • Enter your SQL Server information (mine is localhost with Windows authentication specified and database "LightSwitchDemo" specified), hit "test connection" to make sure everything is OK, and then click OK. You'll see the "Choose your Database Objects" window.
  • Assuming your "LightSwitchDemo" database (or equivalent) is set up correctly, choose "Views" and then select all view objects. You should have a screen that looks something like Figure 4.

012815SansoterraDB2LSFigure4 

Figure 4: The Attach Data Source Wizard allows you to connect to tables and views in a database.

  • Click Finish, and Lightswitch will generate all the code necessary to access these views!

In VS, your Solution Explorer should look something like Figure 5 with the selected SQL Server views shown in the "CorpDataMaintenance.Server" project (i.e., middle tier). You'll also notice a second project called "CorpDataMaintenance.HTMLClient." This is where the client tier (UI) code is placed.

 

012815SansoterraDB2LSFigure5

Figure 5: Under "Data Sources," the Solution Explorer shows the views from SQL Server available to the application.

 

You probably noticed that LightSwitch appends an "s" suffix to each view name so that the EMPLOYEE view is represented in LightSwitch as EMPLOYEEs. If you're creating a new database to be used with LightSwitch, it's a good idea to name your tables or views with a singular name (CUSTOMER instead of CUSTOMERs). Unfortunately, mixed-case names are difficult to work with in DB2 for i, so expect data-related references to look a little clumsy with respect to case because LightSwitch is fond of appending a lowercase "s" to table and view names.

Resetting Primary Keys

At this point, we'll have to rework the primary key (PK) column definitions on the views. Since LightSwitch is accessing a DB2 for i table via a SQL Server linked server view, LightSwitch can't obtain information about the primary key column(s). To compensate, LightSwitch defines its own composite PK on various columns. Therefore you have to manually reset the PK column (and this requires Visual Studio 2013 Update 3) to match the key in the DB2 table.

 

Start by fixing the employee table. In the Solution Explorer, under project "CorpDataMaintenance.Server" > data sources > LightSwitchDemoData (your name may be different), locate EMPLOYEEs.lsml and double-click on it. You should see something akin to Figure 6. You'll notice a key icon next to each column LightSwitch considers to be part of the PK.

 

012815SansoterraDB2LSFigure6 

Figure 6: When it can't determine the unique identifier of an underlying table, LightSwitch defines a view's primary key as a composite of non-nullable columns.

 

The PK column should simply be EmpNo. To rectify this, click on each column in the table that has a key icon (except EMPNO), and in the property window uncheck the "is key" property.

 

Repeat the same steps for:

  • ACTs.lsml (primary key column isACTNO)
  • DEPARTMENTs.lsml (primary key column is DEPTNO)
  • EMPPROJACT.lsml (primary key columns are EMPNO, PROJNO, ACTNO)
  • PROJACTs.lsml (primary key columns are PROJNO, ACTNO, ACSTDATE)
  • PROJECTs.lsml (primary key column is PROJNO)
  • STAFFs.lsml (primary key columns is ID)

The remaining views aren't required to have their primary keys changed for this demo.

 

Setting Relationships

One benefit of Lightswitch when you're using a database data source is that it inspects the foreign key (FK) relationships between tables and automatically links related tables for you. However, if you have legacy tables without FKs or if you're using views, as in this demo, the FKs need to be defined manually.

 

Take the time to define FKs, because when you're designing screens in Lightswitch, if a FK is present, it can automatically build screens to show related data. So if you've done your database-design diligence by defining foreign keys, you will be rewarded, as you will see during the screen-design phase (coming up soon).

 

Note: I think LightSwitch has a bug in that it will not let you define a child relationship on a nullable column.

 

To define a FK between PROEJCTs and DEPARTMENTs in the Solution Explorer, within the LightSwitchDemoData data source, navigate to the PROJECTs.lsml file and open it by double-clicking on it. Right-click in a gray area and choose "Add Relationship." The "Edit Relationship" window will appear like the one shown in Figure 7. Set the primary (TO) name to DEPARTMENT and set the PROJECT (Foreign) field name to DEPTNO and click OK. Repeat the same steps by adding a relationship to the EMPLOYEE table based on the column PROJECT.RESPEMP.

 

012815SansoterraDB2LSFigure7 

Figure 7: This figure shows a relationship (aka FK) definition between the PROJECTs and DEPARTMENTs views.

Defining the Summary Property on the Parent Table or View

The great thing about the relationship definitions is that when you're building a screen to display or edit Projects, LightSwitch can automatically show a related value in a parent table instead of showing an "id."

 

For example, the project table holds a department code, but when you're building a screen, in most cases it makes sense to show a user the department name instead of the code. When LightSwitch sees that the department view is related to the project view, it can show a column from the department table (like department name) instead of showing the department code.

 

But how does LightSwitch know what column in the parent table (in this case, Department) it should show the user? The answer is the view's "summary" property. This property is intended to tell LightSwitch the column (ideally, a unique value) to show the user based on a FK relationship. You can think of it as an alternate PK. For the department table, the department name would be a good choice for the summary property.

 

To set the department summary property, open the DEPARTMENTs data source, click the "HTMLClient" tab, select the DEPARTMENT properties, locate the summary property, and choose "DEPTNAME." When users are shown a list of departments (on a screen built on any child FK table), they will see a list of department names instead of a cryptic department id. You'll see how wonderfully this works shortly.

 

Likewise, you can choose an employee name to be the summary property of the employee view. Open the EMPLOYEEs data source and click the "HTMLClient" tab. Then click the word "Employee" on the title bar, and the properties for the EMPLOYEEs view will be displayed. Locate the summary property and choose "LastName" from the list of columns. When users look for a list of employees, they will see a list of last names (not ideal but sufficient for this demo) instead of a list of employee ids.

 

If your department names or employee names aren't unique, the user is going to have a tough time deciding among duplicates! A common way around this uniqueness problem in SQL Server is to define a computed column, which is a column expression attached to a table. This will allow a developer to concatenate field names so that the user always has something unique (such as a new column called FULL NAME that consists of First, Middle, Last Name columns on an Employee master). Because DB2 for i doesn't support computed columns, we're kind of stuck as is without implementing a workaround in the SQL Server view (which I can't bother demonstrating due to article length).

Marking the Data Source as Editable

Since LightSwitch could not verify that the PROJECT view was read/write, to be safe, it assumed it would be read-only. To change this, double-click the PROJECTs.lsml file. In the properties window, locate the "Is Editable" checkbox and make sure it's checked. PROJECTs is the only read/write view in this demo, but of course you'll have to mark all views you wish to update as editable in the same manner.

Creating Screens

Now for the good stuff.

 

For this demo, we're done fussing with the data sources. Here is where all the database setup work will pay off. It's time for LightSwitch to build a few screens. The demo app will have a screen for browsing all projects (including a search box), a screen for viewing project details, and a final screen for maintaining a project. Further, because of the defined foreign key relationships on employee and department, the user will be able to select these values from a list of names (the summary property setup) rather than entering a department code or employee number.

 

In VS, locate the "Screens" folder under the "CorpDataMaintenance.HTMLClient" project, right-click and choose "Add New Screen" (see Figure 8 below). An "Add New Screen" window will appear. On the left, leave the screen template as "Common Screen Set." On the right, choose "PROJECTs" as the screen data, and check the "PROJECT details" box. This will cause LightSwitch to build the aforementioned screens (browse, view detail, and add/edit) based on the PROJECTs view and link them together with an intuitive navigation. You'll be amazed at what is accomplished without an ounce of programming.

 

012815SansoterraDB2LSFigure8

Figure 8: Adding a common screen set will create several related forms that are easy for a user to navigate. If the underlying screen data is updateable, a maintenance screen will be created as well.

 

Once LightSwitch builds the screens, you'll notice the following screen definitions will show in the Solution Explorer as shown in Figure 9.

 

012815SansoterraDB2LSFigure9

Figure 9: The three project screens from the common screen set now show in the Solution Explorer.

 

All of the work thus far has been defining primary keys, relationships, summary properties, etc. When all of these are set up correctly, LightSwitch builds functional screens! Further, if you have a data source (such as SQL Server or MySQL) that supports the Entity Framework, when everything is already set up correctly in the database, you won't have to bother with the manual primary key and relationship settings!

 

There are a few things to do to improve the screen usability. In Solution Explorer, double-click BrowsePROJECTs.lsml to open for editing. BrowsePROJECTs is a top-level screen that shows a list of all projects to the user. You will see a list of three columns that are shown to the user: PROJNO, PROJNAME, and DEPTNO. Delete the DEPTNO column and then add the DEPARTMENT column; this will show the department name from the department table instead of showing the DEPTNO code. (You'll see what the screen looks like below in Figure 11.)

 

For the next UI improvement, open the AddEditPROJECTs.lsml screen. This is the screen that allows users to enter a new project or to maintain an existing one. Remove the DEPTNO and RESPEMP columns (by clicking on the column names and pressing the DELETE key) because they are unnecessary as the DEPARTMENT and EMPLOYEE columns will show the names and make the codes confusing and redundant. For reference, see Figure 10 below:

 

012815SansoterraDB2LSFigure10

Figure 10: The PROJECT screen designer shows the list of columns to appear on the right and on the left. Remove the DEPTNO and RESEMP columns for a cleaner UI.

 

That's it! Press F5 in Visual Studio to run the project. The BrowsePROJECTs screen is the first to appear as shown in Figure 11.

 

012815SansoterraDB2LSFigure11

Figure 11: This is the default browse "Projects" screen as shown in Internet Explorer. Each project is represented as a box or "tile" to make sure the app is mobile-browser-friendly.

 

This web page is fully functional and even has an "add project" and search facility built in. Note that the search facility does not search relationship items. It only searches data in the main table or view the screen is based on.

 

Each tile can be clicked on to show the "details" or ViewPROJECTs screen as shown in Figure 12:

 

012815SansoterraDB2LSFigure12

Figure 12: The details are shown for project MA2113. Notice that both the code values and parent summary values are shown for the department and responsible employee.

 

Finally, to demonstrate the maintenance screen, click the edit button in the lower right corner of the "View" screen. A popup window will appear and allow edits to be made for the selected project; this is the AddEditPROJECTs screen:

 

012815SansoterraDB2LSFigure13

Figure 13: The project maintenance screen is full-featured with date controls and "selection lists" for selecting a department and employee.

 

Feel free to make some changes and hit the save button (disk icon) at the top of the screen. If you goofed up any of the setup (XACT_ABORT, XA Transactions, journaling, etc.) the update may fail. If the update fails, you'll need to double-check your SQL Server/Linked Server/ODBC configuration.

 

You may have noticed that the labels on many of these screens can use some help (e.g., mixed case, and text such as Major Project instead of MAJPROJ. But all of these edits can be made rather easily by editing the screens and changing the display name property for the various columns.

 

Once you're done with your HTMLClient project, you have the option to deploy to a local IIS web server or put it in the cloud with Azure (I've done both with SQL Server projects, and they work great, although details on how to do this are beyond the scope of this article). As you may have guessed, it will pay to read online tutorials or buy a book about LightSwitch.

 

The Visual Studio project code can be downloaded here (although you will have to change the data source definitions to link to your own correctly configured SQL Server.)

OData Bonus

Recall a LightSwitch project's middle tier makes data available to the client tier by creating an OData service to serve the data. This means that, if desired, other OData-compatible tools can take advantage of this read (and potentially write) data source. Of course, you have to consider security, but space forbids a full discussion!

 

For this demo project (running in Visual Studio), you can access the OData service by taking the base URL and appending the data source name (in this case, LightSwitchDemoData) and append the .svc suffix:

 

http://localhost:49246/LightSwitchDemoData.svc/

 

When looking at the main OData service, it's easy to discern that all of the employees can be retrieved by navigating to the following URL in a browser (I suggest using a browser other than IE for this):

 

http://localhost:49246/LightSwitchDemoData.svc/EMPLOYEEs

 

And, if you remember from the OData article, you can do fancy things in the URL because LightSwitch supports many OData features, such as filtering:

 

http://localhost:49246/LightSwitchDemoData.svc/EMPLOYEEs?$filter=WORKDEPT eq 'A00'

 

LightSwitch Development Considerations
Here are a few tips worth remembering as you get started with LightSwitch development:

  • Remember that the generated app is intended to be mobile-friendly. For example, there is no option to allow someone to right-click on an element to bring up a context menu.
  • Legacy DB2 for i columns, such as date/time fields stored in a numeric data type, will not use the date/time controls.
  • You need plenty of memory on your PC and/or server.
  • Large data sets may be problematic without coding or modifying the default behavior. For example, using the default search facility on a large table could take quite a while to run.
  • Unlike some Microsoft products of the past, LightSwitch works well in several modern browsers, including Chrome, Firefox, and Opera.

Conclusion

LightSwitch is a great tool for rapidly developing web/mobile-enabled apps. Because of its dependence on the Entity Framework, DB2 for i developers will have to use SQL Server (including the free SQL Server Express) or purchase an appropriate .NET Entity Framework-compatible data provider to allow data access directly on the IBM i/iSeries. Further, when using SQL Server as a read-write intermediary, quite a bit of additional setup is required to support read/write operations against DB2.

 

However, once you learn LightSwitch, it's a very effective tool. When you're adept with LightSwitch, the example here takes less than 30 minutes to create. I prefer tools like LightSwitch because I then have the ability to rapidly deploy modern web-based interfaces (instead of the green-screen subfiles) without being intimately familiar with web coding.

 

Michael Sansoterra is a DBA for Broadway Systems in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He can be contacted at sqlsleuth@gmail.com.


BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS

LATEST COMMENTS

RESOURCE CENTER

  • WHITE PAPERS

  • WEBCAST

  • TRIAL SOFTWARE

  • Mobile Computing and the IBM i

    SB ASNA PPL 5450

    Mobile 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. The ROI that mobile applications can produce for your business is substantial.

    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!

  • 3 Compelling Drivers for Implementing an HA Solution on an IBM i Cloud with MIMIX

    SB Connectria 5485

    1. Affordable Cloud Solutions

    2. Efficiencies of MIMIX

    3. Rising Cost of Downtime

    This white paper is a collaborative effort between Connectria Hosting, a pioneer in the development of the IBM i Cloud, and Vision Solutions, the leader in High Availability and Disaster Recovery solutions including MIMIX®, the standard for complete, scalable HA/DR protection for the IBM i.
    It will provide a review of the core causes and costs of both planned and unplanned downtime and will then provide a detailed discussion of current options for IBM i High Availability and Disaster Recovery in the Cloud.
    Most importantly, as you read you will learn why true HA and DR protection are now within reach of even the smallest of businesses.

    Download 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.

  • 5 Winning Strategies to Combat Information Overload

    SB Halcyon WP 5466

    Today’s businesses must be available 24/7 with fewer people having to manage more complex systems and processes.

    IT departments receive a constant bombardment of information from a diverse variety of operating systems, business applications, and critical processes and support a complex array of servers and devices running across their entire network.

    With tight resources and the need to keep costs in check, more and more is expected of IT operational staff to handle this information efficiently. They need to ensure a swift response with appropriate actions, that essential data is received at the right time, prove service levels are maintained, that contingency and high availability strategies are fully operational, and that vital business activities run smoothly and without disruption.

    See More

  • 2017 IBM i Marketplace Survey Results

    SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericFor the third annual IBM i Marketplace Survey, HelpSystems set out to gather data about how businesses use the IBM i platform. The past two surveys have sparked many thoughtful conversations about this technology and we’re thrilled to be part of such an engaged community.

    Nearly 500 people from across the globe completed this year’s survey. We’re so happy to share the results with you, and hope you’ll find the information interesting and useful as you evaluate your own IT projects.

    Sections: IBM i in the Data Center | IT Initiatives & Trends | Outlook for IBM i | Demographics | Resources

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

    SB Maxava PPL 5476

    PRACTICAL TOOLS TO IMPLEMENT DISASTER RECOVERY IN YOUR IBM i ENVIRONMENT

    CLOUD VS. ON-PREMISE?
    - COMPREHENSIVE CHECKLISTS
    - RISK COST CALCULATIONS
    - BUSINESS CASE FRAMEWORK
    - DR SOLUTIONS OVERVIEW
    - RFP BUILDER
    Download your free copy of DR Strategy Guide for IBM i today.
    The DR Strategy Guide for IBM i is brought to you by Maxava – innovative global leaders in High Availability and Disaster Recovery solutions for IBM i.

  • 2016 State of IBM i Modernization White Paper

    SB Profound 5478

    After surveying 400+ IBM i professionals, we discovered:
      -  The state of IBM i modernization in today's businesses and their goals for the future
      -  The effect legacy applications have on the businesses' internal and external processes
      -  The #1 concern upper managers have with the IBM i, and how to combat it

    ...and much much more!

    Download your copy of The 2016 State of IBM i Modernization today.

  • Virus Got You Down?

    SB SkyView PPL 5418

    Does a virus have your server down? Perhaps it’s the latest worm, Trojan horse, buffer overflow or denial of service attack that’s got you or one of your servers down. While one of these bugs may be affecting one or more of your servers in your enterprise, it is highly unlikely that the server affected is a Power server running IBM i. IBM i may be running your core business applications or it may be hosting your website or running Domino. Whatever its function within your enterprise IBM i has remained unaffected by virus and malware attacks. Why is that?

    Viruses and other ailments spread by infecting a host that is vulnerable. Let’s take a look at how IBM i and the applications running on it can remain unscathed by the viruses and malware that are so prevalent today.

    In this white paper, Carol Woodbury of SkyView Partners defines each “ailment” and then describe the defenses and protection mechanisms provided by IBM i to ward off the attack.

  • When Management Turns its Back on Security: The Business Effects

    SB SkyView PPL 5447

    In this white paper we hope to explain why the decision to secure- or not secure – data on the IBM i needs to be a business decision ... not a technical decision.

    Something is preventing management from understanding the need to secure the electronic data. So let’s explore why we think this happens....

  • 2017 State of IBM i Security Study

    SB HelpSystems WP 5453For every breach that makes headlines, dozens of other organizations have had data stolen or corrupted by hackers—or even their own users. Cyberthreats become more sophisticated every year, raising the importance of proper security controls.
    The 2017 State of IBM i Security Study proves once more that many organizations running the IBM i operating system rely on system settings that leave data vulnerable. This is true across all industries for businesses large and small.
    Weak passwords, lax system auditing, and overly privileged users leave your server vulnerable to internal and external threats. A data breach caused by a cybercriminal or a negligent insider can cause irreparable damage to an organization of any size.
    The annual State of IBM i Security Study strives to help executives, IT managers, system administrators, and auditors understand the full extent of IBM i security exposures and how to correct them quickly and effectively.

    Order your copy of this year's guide here.

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

    SB Profound WP 5539

    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!

     

  • Building a Sound Investment Strategy Through Technology

    SB_HelpSystems_WP_5453

    Learn how to combine automation software and IBM i to increase revenue and enhance customer experiences. Download the exclusive Help/Systems White Paper “Building a Sound Investment Strategy Through Technology.”

    This free four-page PDF, written by Help/Systems Director of Automation Technology Chuck Losinski, is packed with concise tips for IBM i. You’ll learn why Power Systems running IBM i are the key to a sound investment strategy. You’ll also discover how automation technologies such as batch processing, agent tasks, interactive processes, backups, report management, and system and message monitoring can save your company money while making your operations more reliable than ever.

  • A Successful Approach to Automated Monitoring in a Complex World

    SB Halcyon WC Generic

    In this 45-minute recorded webinar, we dissect complex system monitoring by introducing best practices and smart techniques that will help you reduce and simplify your multi-platform monitoring workload.

  • Achieving Business Value Through VIOS

    SB Halcyon WC Generic

    In this 45-minute recorded webinar, virtualization specialist Glenn Robinson joins Ash Giddings to discuss the use of VIOS in today’s demanding Power Systems environments. VIOS can help you realize real business value by reducing IT expenditure and adding the flexibility to grow and shrink resources according to data center demands through virtualization across IBM Power Systems estates.

  • ​Multi-Platform Application Monitoring

    SB Halcyon WC Generic

    Make Application Monitoring Easy Across the IBM i, Windows, AIX, and Linux Platforms in Your Environment
    IT departments are constantly bombarded by information from a wide variety of operating systems, business applications, and critical processes. At the same time, the department must support a complex array of servers and devices running across their entire network.
    With limited resources and the need to keep costs in check, more and more is expected of operational staff to handle this information efficiently.
    In this 45-minute recorded webinar, we’ll dissect complex systems monitoring by introducing best practices and smart techniques that will help you:
    - Ensure vital business applications run smoothly and without disruption
    - Respond swiftly and with appropriate actions
    - Confirm that essential data is received at the right time
    - Prove service levels are maintained
    - Keep contingency and high availability strategies fully operational

  • ​IBM i War Stories from the Front Line

    SB Halcyon WC Generic

    IBM i is great at managing varied workloads—the OS offers many built-in work management and system utilities to aid administration.
    But greater customization is sometimes necessary in the line of duty.
    Halcyon has built upon these utilities to deliver a number of advanced functions designed for you to take control of all of your day-to-day IBM i activities.
    During this on-demand webinar, our experts will demonstrate some of Halcyon’s capabilities and describe real-life scenarios that highlight how you can:

    - Reduce your alerting footprint by implementing leading-edge monitoring techniques 
    - Identify both organic growth and spikes in disk space utilization
    - Automate time-consuming housekeeping tasks
    - Take advantage of the powerful IBM i Services
    - Automate literally anything

    Set your sights on having the right monitoring solution, no matter what comes your way. Watch the recording today!

  • Work Smarter: Integrate IBM i and Desktop Applications

    SB HelpSystems WC Generic

    My desktop application users spend a lot of time manually generating and printing letters using IBM i data.
    Our team copies and pastes information between IBM i applications all the time. Launching a PC application from my IBM i screens is impossible today.
    Sound familiar?
    Too many businesses go through manual efforts to transfer documents and data across IBM i and desktop applications—especially ERPs. Whether you use JDE World, JDE EnterpriseOne, Infor, Epicor, Microsoft Dynamics, or any other ERP, chances are your employees are stuck transferring information manually. And all of that manual effort leads to hours upon hours of wasted time.
    But it doesn’t need to anymore.

    See More

  • IBM i Resources Retiring?

    SB HelpSystems WC Generic

    Let’s face it: IBM i experts and RPG programmers are retiring from the workforce. These folks have been managing all areas of your business—often manually and behind the scenes—for decades, everything from IT operations to data and documents to cybersecurity.
    Are you prepared to handle their departure?
    During this 30-minute recorded webinar, 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
    IBM i skills depletion is a top concern for IBM i shops around the world. 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.

    Watch this webcast now

  • IFS Security – Don’t Leave Your Server Vulnerable

    SB HelpSystems WC Generic

    Experts agree that one of the most overlooked areas of IBM i security is the Integrated File System. Available since V3R1, the IFS provides access for users carrying nothing more than a user profile and password, so it better be secure! If you believe nothing important is stored on your server's IFS, think again, because it's a conduit to many things, including the Operating System and all of your application libraries and files.
    Watch this important session to learn about securing the IFS, including:
    Why do we care about the IFS?
    Permissions versus Authority
    Root folder access
    Auditing IFS activities
    Read/Write versus *ALLOBJ
    Anti-Virus Considerations

  • Who’s Afraid of Linux on Power, AIX, and VIOS? Not i.

    SB HelpSystems WC Generic

    This 30-minute recording demystifies Linux on Power, AIX, and VIOS and teaches best practice techniques for maintaining and controlling critical processes and applications running on your Linux, AIX, and VIOS environments.

  • Backup and Recovery Considerations for Security Data and Encrypted Backups

    SB PowerTech WC GenericSecurity expert Carol Woodbury is joined by the newest member of the HelpSystems team: Debbie Saugen.
    Debbie is recognized worldwide as an expert on IBM i backup and recovery, disaster recovery, and high availability. For decades, Debbie has helped 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.

    Watch the webinar today!

     

  • Profound.js: The Agile Approach to Legacy Modernization

    SB Profound WC Generic

    In this presentation, Alex Roytman (CEO, Profound Logic) and Liam Allan (2016 COMMON Student Innovation Award winner) 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

    Watch this Webcast NOW!

  • The Truth About Viruses on IBM i

    SB HelpSystems WC Generic

    Protecting your data from viruses or malicious code is not an unfamiliar concept, but understanding how these threats can affect your Power Systems server may not be as easy to grasp.
    There are many myths about viruses and IBM i—including the belief that the system is immune. Many Power Systems managers still don’t see viruses as a risk because they see them as a Windows threat. While this was once true, today’s connected environments operate under different rules.
    It’s time to take action and protect IBM i and the network that connects to it. This on-demand webinar will help you gain an understanding of the relationships between:

    - Viruses and the integrated file system (IFS)
    - Power Systems and Windows viruses
    - PC-based anti-virus scanning vs native IBM i scanning
    There are a number of ways you can minimize your exposure to viruses. Learn the facts to ensure you're fully-protected.

  • Business Process Automation with Robot

    SB HelpSystems WC Generic

    Automate Process Flow Through the Data Center
    Typical “computerized” business processes are a combination of multiple schedulers, operational scripts, CL programs, and manual file checking, all backed up with the trusty runbook.
    Is there a better way to manage business processes?
    It is a common misconception that a business process cannot be automated if it’s too complicated or requires that someone verify each step. We’re here to tell you there is a better way to manage your business—process automation is possible!
    Take 30 minutes to learn the options for automating your business process flow and how they fit into your data center processing, including cases of:
    - Complex or iterative schedules
    - Event-driven dependencies
    - Multi-platform dependencies
    - Dynamically calculated parameters
    - Exception notification
    - SAP and Oracle JD Edwards EnterpriseOne integration
    How do I know business process automation is effective?
    If you have any doubts that automating complex business processes will improve your level of service, you’ll also hear a success story from the senior systems administrator at Trident Seafoods who embraced automation using the Robot solution and is reeling in the benefits!

  • Find Out Why You Should Keep Data on IBM i

    SB HelpSystems WC Generic

    It’s simple. IBM i is the most reliable, securable, and powerful platform to house your critical business data.
    IBM i was built for business and has added features and functionality over the years to keep up with modern business needs. You can trust it to run your business, access your data in real-time, and keep your data secure. Plus, IBM i can scale to your business and handle all of your critical data.
    Can your other platforms do that?
    We didn’t think so.
    Watch this 30-minute webinar to learn why you should keep your data on IBM i, including:
    - IBM i is reliable
    - IBM i offers fast and secure real-time data access
    - IBM i helps your business prepare for tomorrow
    Plus, we demonstrate how Sequel Data Access helps you modernize IBM i data access and meet your business needs.

  • Mobile Apps for IBM i Monitoring

    SB Halcyon WC Generic

    Overnight and weekend support can be a minefield for operations teams tasked with attempting to maintain system availability, especially when they must rely on laptop-based VPN access—where a delayed response can prove costly.
    With over 2 billion smartphone users worldwide, it’s perfectly reasonable for you to use the BYOD movement to your advantage and start managing your IT infrastructure from the palm of your hand. Watch this on-demand webinar to learn how Halcyon has modernized this crucial layer of support by introducing mobile applications for IBM i monitoring.
    You’ll hear how one company has used the Enterprise Console mobile app to provide a valuable audit trail and speed up response time. You’ll also learn:
    - The benefits of mobile apps
    - How to respond to critical messages within seconds
    - How to get notifications your way on your device
    - How to set up escalation, ensuring alerts are always handled in a timely fashion
    If your team is responsible for managing IBM i applications and services after regular business hours, you won’t want to miss this one!

     

  • Speed Up Your Manufacturing and Distribution with Paperless Processes

    SB HelpSystems WC Generic

    Your ERP system —whether it’s JDE World, Enterprise One, Infor, Epicor, Microsoft Dynamics, VAI, or anything else—is essential to maintaining your company’s key business information and processes. But you’re constantly generating and receiving paper and electronic documents, too, and it’s hard to keep everything straight. So, you wind up chasing documents and data around—and keeping your customers and vendors waiting.
    It’s time to make life easier and make your customers happier. With an electronic document management system, you can integrate with your ERP to keep all of your key documents and data in one spot.
    And when all of your documents are stored digitally, you can speed up your processes and get key documents (like purchase orders and invoices) approved faster.
    Watch the webinar and learn how to:
    - Integrate a document management system with your ERP
    - Capture all of your key shop floor, order, and shipment documents in one central repository
    - Improve customer, vendor, and employee response times
    - Accomplish more work without adding additional staff
    It’s time to deliver your shipments faster and keep your customers happy by streamlining your paperwork processes.

  • Dock Door Signing Made Easy

    SB HelpSystems WC Generic

    How long does dock door signing take your organization? Too long if you’re still using manual processes and paper.
    From generating to collating to printing to routing to signing, manual processes and paper slow down your organization—and your delivery times. Electronic documents and digital signature capture can change all of that. And your organization will be able to create, route, approve (with digital signatures), and retrieve documents faster.
    Learn how digital signature capture helps you:
    - Eliminate steps in your approval processes
    - Improve auditability
    - Reduce customer service time to resolve questions
    Plus, we’ll demonstrate how digitizing signatures and documents will reduce your organization’s costs over the long haul.

  • 5 Reasons Developers Love Robot Schedule

    SB HelpSystems WC Generic

    Why AppDev Should Embrace Automation
    Your application development team is an expensive resource that works hard to improve business processes, yet more and more IBM i shops are putting AppDev in charge of managing day-to-day system operations.
    Instead of taking their attention away from the website, business analytics, mobile, security, SQL data access, and more, streamline operations with automation and build in notifications so your teams have visibility into processing when they need it, and can manage the rest by exception.
    In just 30 minutes, our experts will show how AppDev teams can take advantage of Robot automated operations on IBM i and beyond so they can:
    - Stop programming for multi-platform job and file event dependencies
    - Stop struggling with incorrect parameter values
    - Stop wondering where to fit a process into daily, weekly, or monthly cycles
    - Stop the on-call headaches, the firefighting, and the lack of progress cycle
    - Go ahead, give your AppDev team a productivity boost!

  • Affordable Query Tool for Software Developers

    SB NGS WC Generic

    NGS’ Software Developer Kit (SDK) gives IBM i developers comprehensive query, dynamic mobile reporting, analytics and Web report design features at an affordable cost. Install and create meaningful outputs for managers in one day! Web page and portal integration, email, FTP are included.
    The $895* SDK includes a one user license, online training, user manuals, one year of software maintenance; toll-free support and online incident reporting.
    - Want to modernize beyond Query/400 and PC files transfers?
    - Need a Web reporting solution without the learning curve and overhead of DB2 Web Query?
    - Have many reporting needs, but a tight budget and small staff?
    View the demo and request a FREE TRIAL of the SDK.
    * Limited time offer.

  • Your introduction to RCAC and Authority Collection

    SB PowerTech WC Generic

    IBM has provided us with two powerful and very exciting security enhancements in the last two versions of IBM i.

    Scott Forstie of IBM joins Carol Woodbury to demonstrate and describe the V7R2 feature called Row and Column Access Control (RCAC), which extends how you define which users have access to specific rows in a database file. RCAC also provides a way to mask data for all or selected users.

    The recently released V7R3 adds Authority Collection. Authority Collection provides organizations and vendors with the ability to know exactly what authority is required to perform a task, eliminating the guesswork. Gone is the need to set *PUBLIC authority on database files to *ALL or to automatically grant service accounts *ALLOBJ special authority just because you’re unsure of what authority is required.

    Watch Scott and Carol as they discuss these and other new security features delivered in V7R2 and V7R3.

  • ​Getting Started with IBM i Security: Event Auditing

    SB PowerTech WC Generic

    Learn why event auditing is necessary and how to configure it
    Experts’ fears surrounding the risks associated with poor configuration were recently confirmed by the 2016 State of IBM i Security Study. Published annually, the results reveal most Power Systems lack adequate security controls and auditing measures.
    In this fast-paced webinar series, leading experts Robin Tatam and Carol Woodbury share insight into critical areas of IBM i security.
    This second session of the series introduces event auditing, with Robin Tatam covering the basics and more:
    - Why auditing is necessary
    - Determine if IBM i auditing is currently active
    - How to configure auditing with one simple command
    - What audit events are recorded (and which are missed!)
    - How high availability (HA) applications often make critical events disappear
    - Event reporting and real-time alerting

  • Getting Started with IBM i Security: Securing PC Access

    SB PowerTech WC Generic

    Protect your system from unauthorized network access through readily available PC tools

    Experts’ fears surrounding the risks associated with poor configuration were recently confirmed by the 2016 State of IBM i Security Study. Published annually, the results reveal most Power Systems lack adequate security controls and auditing measures.

    In this fast-paced webinar series, leading experts Robin Tatam and Carol Woodbury share insight into critical areas of IBM i security.

    This on-demand webinar will show you how well-known services like FTP and ODBC enable users to access sensitive data without oversight or restrictions. Robin Tatam will also explain what exit programs are and how you can use them to protect your organization.

  • No Time for IBM I Security? No Problem

    SB PowerTech WC Generic

    “Security” is definitely on your IT staff’s to-do list, but how often does this item get checked off?

    IT doesn’t have enough time for security—the 2016 IBM i Security Study proves it. The trouble is that data security isn’t a set-and-forget project. Data security on your IBM i requires on-going attention and expertise.

    In this on-demand webinar, you’ll learn how to save time and work more effectively. We’re cutting to the core of IBM i security by outlining the simple strategy developed by our experts.

    You’ll see a straightforward approach to understanding and addressing risk to your IBM i data. We’ll also show you how our world-class security services help people protect business-critical data when they don’t have the time, resources, or knowledge to tackle IBM i security on their own.

  • Getting Started with IBM i Security: System Values

    SB PowerTech WC Generic

    Set the tone for data protection with security-relevant system values

    Experts’ fears surrounding the risks associated with poor configuration were recently confirmed by the 2016 State of IBM i Security Study. Published annually, the results reveal most Power Systems lack adequate security controls and auditing measures.

    In this fast-paced webinar series, leading experts Robin Tatam and Carol Woodbury share insight into critical areas of IBM i security.

    The series opens with an introduction to security-relevant system values.

    System values are one of the fundamental elements of IBM i security. The security system values enable you to “set the tone” of security on your IBM i, enforce password composition rules, and enable auditing. Watch this on-demand webinar to see Carol Woodbury describe these system values and provide guidance on their best practice settings.

  • Getting Started with IBM i Security: Integrated File System (IFS)

    SB PowerTech WC Generic

    The IFS is one of the most commonly overlooked aspects of IBM i security
    Experts’ fears surrounding the risks associated with poor configuration were recently confirmed by the 2016 State of IBM i Security Study. Published annually, the results reveal most Power Systems lack adequate security controls and auditing measures.
    In this fast-paced webinar series, leading experts Robin Tatam and Carol Woodbury share insight into critical areas of IBM i security.
    This recorded session has Robin Tatam introducing IFS security:
    - Defining IFS
    - How the IFS is configured
    - Common IFS security mistakes
    - What a virus can do to IBM i through the IFS
    - Tracking user activity

  • ​7 Habits of Highly Secure Organizations

    SB PowerTech WC Generic

    Everyone knows that cyber security is important, but getting started on the road to data protection and compliance can be confusing and intimidating. Understanding common vulnerabilities helps you focus your attention and resources on the areas that need the most help.
    We all want “best-practice” security, but what are top organizations doing to achieve and maintain it?
    Watch this webinar to learn the details about how to develop the seven habits that are part of daily life for secure organizations. You’ll learn how to:
    - Break the Ostrich Syndrome
    - Develop a Security Policy
    - Assess Current Standing
    - Perform Security Event Logging and Review
    - Use “Best of Breed” Technologies
    - Monitor for Ongoing Compliance
    - Plan for the Future
    This on-demand webinar examines what each of these habits means to IBM i, and helps you make sure that you don’t become the next security statistic.

  • An Introduction to PCI Compliance on IBM Power Systems

    SB PowerTech WC Generic

    "From the world's largest corporations to small Internet stores, compliance with the PCI Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is vital for all merchants who accept credit cards, online or offline, because nothing is more important than keeping your customer’s payment card data secure.” — PCI Security Standards Council
    Complying with the PCI standard is a normal part of doing business in today’s credit-centric world. But, PCI applies to multiple platforms.
    The challenge becomes how to map the general PCI requirements to a specific platform, such as IBM i. And, more importantly, how can you maintain—and prove—compliance?
    Watch this webinar to understand:
    - How PCI requirements relate to IBM i systems
    - IBM i-specific barriers to compliance
    - How PowerTech security solutions help you fulfill PCI requirements, meet compliance guidelines, and satisfy auditors
    You’ll leave with the knowledge and confidence you need to evaluate PCI compliance requirements and prepare your IBM i system for today’s regulatory challenges.

  • Implementing Multiple Layers of Defense

    SB PowerTech WC Generic

    Your IBM i holds a massive amount of data. In most organizations, that data constitutes a mission-critical and high-value asset.

    How do you adequately protect the data residing on your IBM i, given its value to your organization? IBM has provided us with many options for protecting our data, but it’s now always clear how to select and implement the best options for your circumstances.

    This recorded webinar describes IBM i’s different data security options, along with implementation recommendations and tips for getting started. Carol Woodbury, one of the world’s top IBM i security experts, also provides considerations to help you determine how many layers of security are right for your organization.

  • 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 Generic

    Watch 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!
    Watch this Webinar Now!

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

    SB Profound PPL 5491


    Modern, 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.
    We will demonstrate how Profound UI:
    - Goes beyond simple screen-scraping to truly modernize your RPG applications
    - Uses RPG Open Access and your own RPG code and development talent to modernize
    - Supports rapid development with an easy-to-use, drag-and-drop Designer
    - Integrates with our on-the-fly modernization, mobile development, and Enterprise Modernization solutions

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

    SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericHigh availability for IBM i has been a hot topic in 2017, jumping 20% from our 2016 survey to take the #2 seat on IT priority lists just behind cybersecurity. And no surprise with these two topics so closely tied to your most valuable asset: your irreplaceable business data.
    With major airline outages last year and the recent ransomware attacks, you 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—Tom Huntington, Matt Staddler, and Cole Ragland—deliver lively discussion around the top high availability issues of today, including:

    • 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

    There are no do-overs when it comes to your data. Once it’s gone, it’s gone...unless you have a data replication layer in place to protect it. Learn the value of these strategic solutions and how you can implement them in a hurry—watch now!

     

  • 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 5541Roses are red, your UIs are green...It's time to make your apps proud to be seen!
    Whether 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.
    In this webinar, you'll learn how you can use both Profound UI and Profound.js to:

    • 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

    This webinar will include a live product demonstration and Q&A with the presenters.

    Download and watch today!

  • 2017 IBM i Marketplace Revealed

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_Generic

    IBM i is one of technology’s best-kept secrets, with little information available about what IBM i users are doing on this server. Even companies that use this technology struggle to explain to their own teams what IBM i stands for and who else is using it.
    The IBM i Marketplace Survey—now in its 3rd year—was designed to solve this problem. Watch this on-demand webinar for the exclusive results of the 2017 survey. IBM i Champion Tom Huntington is joined by a panel of technology experts to discuss year-over-year trends and new insights. The panel will discuss:

    • What other platforms do you run alongside IBM i?
    • What programming and Open Source languages are you using?
    • What are your top IT issues?
    • What version of POWER and what OS level is most prevalent?
    • Are you expanding your usage of IBM i?
    • Is IBM i a good ROI?

    The expert panel will provide industry insight and comments about the results. When the webinar concludes, you’ll get access to the full results.

  • 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_Generic

    Everyone wants a piece of your business data. But keeping up with data access requests in the era of constantly growing data is a challenge. As a result, your IT department can be overwhelmed, inundated, and constantly needing to play catch-up.
    It’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 in 2018.
    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_Generic

    Let’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 noted 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_Generic

    There’s a better way to run your queries. With an advanced query tool like Sequel Data Access, you can deliver the IBM i data your organization needs quickly and efficiently—without the hang-ups.
    In this session, we’ll address common frustrations with Query/400, discuss major data access and distribution trends, and help you understand what to look for in a more advanced query tool.
    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
    • Watch the webinar and learn why you shouldn’t just settle for Query/400.

     

  • How to Manage Documents the Easy Way

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_Generic

    What happens when your company depends on an outdated document management strategy?
    Everything is harder.
    Capturing documents means scanning and filing—which takes you away from tasks that actually matter to the business. Managing documents means sorting through an endless sea of shared folders or filing cabinets—and sometimes documents can’t be found. Distributing documents means following a frustrating, manual process for routing documents internally and sending them to vendors and customers.
    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_Generic

    Get 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.

  • Monitor VIOS (and AIX) from Your IBM i

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_Generic

    Virtual I/O Server (VIOS) runs on AIX and allows you to share input/output resources across logical partitions. The health of your VIOS server is critical to the performance of all your Power server partitions, so monitoring it is a must.
    Our 2017 IBM i Marketplace Survey Results uncovered a cool trend: an increasing number of IBM i shops are running AIX instances alongside IBM i on Power Systems servers. We like to see these systems playing nicely together on the same server, though it does shine a spotlight on shared resources.
    During this 30-minute recording, our experts demonstrate the new VIOS and AIX monitoring capabilities in Robot Monitor. You’ll learn about:

    • The top AIX metrics that impact VIOS
    • Real-time monitoring with dashboard displays
    • Threshold and notification options
    • Identifying trends to better allocate resources

    With VIOS/AIX running alongside IBM i, you need visibility into your entire Power environment.
    Watch now to see how Robot Monitor can get you there!

     

     

  • Overwhelmed by Operating Systems?

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_Generic

    You’re responsible for looking after Windows, Linux, AIX, and VIOS, but you worry that you don’t understand their complexities well enough to make your job effective—or easy.
    No problem! Simplify the management of multiple operating systems and applications without becoming experts in each area.
    In 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 and shows how easy monitoring multiple operating systems and applications can be using point-and-click technology.

     

  • Real-Time Disk Monitoring with Robot Monitor

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_Generic

    When IBM i disk space pulls its notorious disappearing act, you don’t have time to waste figuring out how the trick is done. You need to know when disk space starts to disappear and where it has gone before system performance and productivity start to suffer.
    Looking behind the curtain to keep a close eye on disk space—especially in a multi-partition environment—can have its challenges, but every good admin can have an ace up their sleeve. 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

    Start seeing through the sleight of hand and get instant visibility into disk usage. Add advance warning of potential threats and—abracadabra!—you’ll reduce the risk of disk space depletion and curb the sudden flurry of activity to clean things up.

     

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

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_Generic

    Still following manual processes for extracting and transferring data across platforms? You’re not alone. Many business still depend on RPG for their daily business processes and report generation. And that leads to a lot of manual effort.
    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, you’ll see a demonstration of how data automation software from HelpSystems will help you finally stop re-keying data.

     

  • Survey Results: 2018 Top Cybersecurity Risks and Mitigation Strategies

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_Generic

    Protecting your organization from cyberthreats has never been more important—or more difficult.
    IT pros have many tactics to choose from, but time (and budgets!) are not unlimited. The key is prioritizing risks and identifying the most effective ways to mitigate the danger.
    In 2018, HelpSystems surveyed more than 600 IT and cybersecurity professionals to find out what security exploits loom largest and what strategies they’re turning to for protection.
    In this on-demand webinar, our team of cybersecurity security experts analyzes results. You’ll learn about:

    • Security strategies your peers are most interested in implementing
    • How managers and executives prioritize security
    • Who is responsible for cybersecurity at organizations around the world
    • Where IT pros turn for assistance with security

    You'll also get practical tips for using this data to drive cybersecurity conversations at your organization.

     

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

    SB_Profound_WC_Generic

    When it comes to IBM® Rational® Open Access: RPG Edition (also known as RPG Open Access), 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"

    This Webinar features IBM i expert Alison Butterill, and Profound Logic’s Brian May and Alex Roytman.

     

    Watch the On-demand Webinar Now!

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

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_Generic

    Do your users keep paperwork on their desk until it's processed?
    Are people constantly removing documents from filing cabinets?
    What happens when your company depends on an outdated document management strategy?
    Too much paper is wasted—approximately 1,000 pages per month per worker.
    Attempts to locate documents in endless filing cabinets drive your employees crazy.
    And distributing documents to customers, vendors, and business partners 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

    Plus, our experts will provide a live demonstration of how implementing a document management solution will quickly solve your paper-based problems, so you can be more

  • 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

     

  • TRY the One Package That Solves All Your Document Design and Printing Challenges

    SB CYBRA PPL 5382

    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. Why support 5 different products, when you can do it all with MarkMagic?

    - Drive over 450 different printer types.
    - Create invoices, statements, checks.
    - Set dynamic rules that transform output on the fly.
    - Conditionally distribute via Email, fax, or PDF.
    - Integrate with your current applications in minutes.
    - Preview printing on screen.
    - Native System i, Windows, AIX, Linux.

    Try MarkMagic today for free

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

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413

    Disaster protection is vital to every business. Yet, it often consists of patched together procedures that are prone to error. From automatic backups to data encryption to media management, Robot automates the routine (yet often complex) 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 5413

    Managing messages on your IBM i can be more than a full-time job if you have to do it manually. Messages need a response and resources must be monitored—often over multiple systems and across platforms. 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
    Keep your critical applications and data available. Try the Robot Message Management Solution FREE for 30 days.

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

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413

    The thought of printing, distributing, and storing iSeries reports manually may reduce you to tears. Paper and labor costs associated with report generation can spiral out of control. Mountains of paper threaten to swamp your files. Robot 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 5413

    For over 30 years, Robot has been a leader in systems management for IBM i. With batch job creation and scheduling at its core, the Robot Job Scheduling Solution reduces the opportunity for human error and helps you maintain service levels, automating even the biggest, most complex runbooks.
    Manage your job schedule with the Robot Job Scheduling Solution. brKey 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.

  • MS Office Connector for Query/400...FREE Trial!

    SB NGS PPL 5130

    NGS' Qport Office enables Windows users to run IBM Query/400 queries to:
    - Create and update Excel spreadsheets and Access databases
    - Create Word documents
    - Send to Windows screen and PC printers
    No query conversion is required. Works with i5/OS V5R1 & above. Installs in minutes!
    If you don’t have a budget to replace IBM Query/400, but want your users to have one click enhanced output of their queries.... Request the online license agreement and product download instructions today!
    Offer good through December 31, 2016.

  • Control and Monitor User Access from Desktop PCs (ODBC, FTP)

    SB PowerTech 5422

    Protect your company by monitoring network traffic to your IBM i servers with the industry-leading exit program, PowerTech Network Security.
    Without visibility into IBM i's exit points, your users could be viewing, changing, or even deleting sensitive data—and you wouldn’t know!
    Network Security lets you monitor and control access to over 30 exit points, including:

    - ODBC
    - FTP
    - DDM
    - Remote command
    - Fileserve (mapped drives to IFS)
    It’s easy to set up custom access rules and get notified in real-time when security events occur.
    Stop “back door” access today. Try Network Security free for 30 days.

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

    SB DDL Systems 5429

    More than a paging system - ACO MONITOR is a complete systems management solution for your Power Systems running IBM i. Managing the complexities of today's operating systems, business applications, and networks challenges even the most knowledgeable IT professionals. The cost to an enterprise of unplanned downtime, loss of human expertise during sick leave or vacation, and system/application or environmental failure can be devastating. 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 (and staff) efficiency.