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The CL Corner: More on View Flexibility

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Let's review of some of the SQL functions available.

 

In the February 2015 CL Corner, A More Flexible Interface to the RUNSQL CL Command, we saw how to create a command of our own, CRTSQLVIEW, to create views by utilizing some of the built-in functions provided by the SQL language. The CRTSQLVIEW command removed the need for us to write a custom program per view (which was covered in the January 2015 article Enhancing WRKQRY Reports the Easy Way. These previous articles used the SQL built-in functions of VarChar and DayName to return the mixed-case name of the day for a date field. This month, using CRTSQLVIEW, we'll be looking at additional built-ins that are available to you.

 

Deciding which built-in to start with today turned out to be quite easy. I have received quite a few notes from readers who have a little problemnamely, that the previous articles used date fields while their production databases store dates in a combination of alphanumeric and packed-decimal fields. To look at what's available using a view approach, we'll first create a new physical file where we're storing date values using a variety of formats and data types. This file will be called TESTDATA, and here's the DDS definition for the file.

 

R RECORD                    

  DATFLD          L         

  MDYALPHA       6A         

  YMDALPHA       6A         

  MDYNBR         6P 0       

 

The first field, DatFld, is defined as a date field, which is similar to how we defined TskStrDat in the previous articles. The second field, MDYAlpha, is defined as a 6-byte character field and will be used to store date values using a MDY format. The third field, YMDAlpha, is defined as a 6-byte character field and will be used to store date values using a YMD format. The fourth field, MDYNbr, is defined as a 6-digit packed-decimal field and will be used to store date values using a MDY format.

 

Assuming that the previous source is stored in member TESTDATA of QDDSSRC, then you can create the file using this command:

 

CRTPF FILE(TESTDATA)

 

To write two test records to the file, prompt and then run the following RUNSQL commands:

 

                           Run SQL Statements (RUNSQL)                          

                                                                                

 Type choices, press Enter.                                                     

                                                                                

 SQL  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . > Insert into TESTDATA Values('2015-03-21', '0

32115', '150321', 032115)                                                       

                                                                     ...        

 Commitment control . . . . . . . > *NONE         *CHG, *UR, *CS, *ALL, *RS...  

 Naming . . . . . . . . . . . . .   *SYS          *SYS, *SQL                    

 

 

                           Run SQL Statements (RUNSQL)                          

                                                                                

 Type choices, press Enter.                                                     

                                                                                

 SQL  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . > Insert into TESTDATA Values('2015-12-25', '1

22515', '151225', 122515)                                                       

                                                                     ...        

 Commitment control . . . . . . . > *NONE         *CHG, *UR, *CS, *ALL, *RS...  

 Naming . . . . . . . . . . . . .   *SYS          *SYS, *SQL                    

 

The first command writes one record with the date March 21 2015 stored in each of the four fields defined to TESTDATA. The second command writes a second record using the date December 25 2015.

 

Now let's see what we can do to get those non-date data type fields MDYAlpha, YMDAlpha, and MDYNbr to become "true" date fields.

 

We'll first tackle the alphanumeric fields MDYAlpha and YMDAlpha. SQL provides the built-in TIMESTAMP_FORMAT, which returns a timestamp that's based on a string definition of how to interpret an input character value. This string definition allows you to indicate where in the input character value to find, among other things, a 2-digit year (YY), a 4-digit year (YYYY), a 2-digit month (MM), and a 2-digit day (DD). For instance, using TIMESTAMP_FORMAT as in

 

TIMESTAMP_FORMAT(MDYAlpha, 'MMDDYY')

 

indicates that the field MDYAlpha contains a formatted value that should be converted to a timestamp, where the first two bytes identify a 2-digit month, the next two bytes a 2-digit day, and the last two bytes a 2-digit year. So a MDYAlpha value such as '032115' (like the first record we wrote to TESTDATA) would be converted to a timestamp value of '2015-03-21-00.00.00.00000'.

 

Along the same lines, using TIMESTAMP_FORMAT as in

 

TIMESTAMP_FORMAT(YMDAlpha, 'YYMMDD')

 

indicates that the field YMDAlpha contains a YMD formatted value that should be converted to a timestamp. A YMDAlpha value such as '151225' (like the second record we wrote to TESTDATA) would then be converted to a timestamp value of '2015-12-25-00.00.00.000000'.

 

With that introduction let's now use CRTSQLVIEW to create a view, using the fields MDYAlpha and YMDAlpha, to again determine the name of the day they represent. Prompt and fill in the CRTSQLVIEW command as shown below:

 

                          Create SQL View (CRTSQLVIEW)                  

                                                                        

 Type choices, press Enter.                                             

                                                                        

 View . . . . . . . . . . . . . . > TESTVIEW      Name                  

   Library  . . . . . . . . . . .     *CURLIB     Name, *CURLIB         

 Table  . . . . . . . . . . . . . > TESTDATA      Name                  

   Library  . . . . . . . . . . .     *LIBL       Name, *LIBL, *CURLIB  

                                                                                

 Columns:                                                                       

   To column  . . . . . . . . . . > DATFLD        Name                          

   From . . . . . . . . . . . . .   *SAME                                       

                                                                                

   To column  . . . . . . . . . . > DATFLDDOW     Name                          

   From . . . . . . . . . . . . . > Varchar(DayName(DatFld), 10)              

                                                                                

   To column  . . . . . . . . . . > MDYDOW        Name                          

   From . . . . . . . . . . . . . > Varchar(DayName(Timestamp_Format(MDYAlpha, 

'MMDDYY')), 10)                                                              

                                                                                

   To column  . . . . . . . . . . > YMDDOW        Name                          

   From . . . . . . . . . . . . . > Varchar(DayName(Timestamp_Format(YMDAlpha, 

'YYMMDD')), 10)                            

 

 

The previous command creates a view named TESTVIEW. If you now go into WRKQRY, select the file TESTVIEW, and use F5 to run the query, you should see this:

 

        DATFLD      DATFLDDOW   MDYDOW      YMDDOW     

 000001 2015-03-21  Saturday    Saturday    Saturday   

 000002 2015-12-25  Friday      Friday      Friday     

 

As with the two earlier articles, the first column (titled DATFLD) is simply the value of the DatFld field followed by the day of the week (DATFLDDOW). What's new is that now we also see the day of the week for the alphanumeric fields MDYAlpha (MDYDOW) and YMDAlpha (YMDDOW).

 

Before handling the packed-decimal field MDYNbr, let's also see how we might be able to simplify existing queries that have been working with alphanumeric "date" fields such as MDYAlpha and YMDAlpha. Some of you may in the past have constructed date fields within WRKQRY such as the MyDate field shown below.

 

Field       Expression                         Column Heading        Len   Dec

MYDATE      Date(Substr(MDYAlpha, 1, 2) || '/                                 

            ' || Substr(MDYAlpha, 3, 2) || '/                                 

            ' || Substr(MDYAlpha, 5, 2))                                      

 

 

While you can continue to construct date fields in this manner, you could also have CRTSQLVIEW do it using the SQL DATE built-in. For instance, adding the following COLUMNS entry to our previous command will create the field MyDate in TESTVIEW, allowing you to eliminate the construction shown above.

 

Columns:                                                                       

   To column  . . . . . . . . . . > MYDATE        Name                          

   From . . . . . . . . . . . . . > Date(Timestamp_Format(MDYAlpha, 'MMDDYY'))

 

 

Returning to the handling of "date" values being stored in numeric fields, the TIMESTAMP_FORMAT built-in only supports an input character value for the "date" to be interpreted. So what we need to do is convert the numeric field MDYNbr to a character string. There are several SQL built-ins that can accomplish this, with each of them having slightly different characteristics. There is, for instance, the built-in CHAR, which is often used as it returns a fixed-length character string representation of a number. This built-in, however, has a definite consideration when it comes to handling numeric valuesnamely, that it removes leading zeroes. So if we have a numeric value such as 032115 (the value of MDYNbr for the first record we wrote to TESTDATA), the CHAR built-in will return a character value of '32115' rather than a value of '032115'. This will be a problem as TIMESTAMP_FORMAT is looking for a 2-digit month (though a MDYNbr value of 122515 would work just fine). As the number of significant digits in a numeric date can vary, we will want to use the DIGITS built-in. DIGITS returns the character-string representation of the absolute value of a number and retains leading zeroes.

 

With this knowledge, we can now get the day of the week for MDYNbr by adding another column definition to our CRTSQLVIEW command. This addition will be:

 

 Columns:                                                                       

   To column  . . . . . . . . . . > MDYNBRDOW     Name                          

   From . . . . . . . . . . . . . > Varchar(DayName(Timestamp_Format(Digits(MDYN

br), 'MMDDYY')), 10)                                       

 

This 'From' parameter value is a nesting of several SQL built-ins that result in:

  1. Getting the absolute value of MDYNbr, with leading zeroes, using DIGITS
  2. Converting the value obtained in step 1 to a date using TIMESTAMP_FORMAT, interpreting this value as being MMDDYY
  3. Obtaining the date portion of the value obtained in step 2 and getting the name of that day using DAYNAME
  4. Truncating the name of day value obtained in step 3 to the first 10 characters using VARCHAR

 

Today, we have reviewed several additional built-ins that can used from CL to create views over data, views that can in turn be used by utilities such as WRKQRY or processed as an input file by a CL program. The built-ins introduced were TIMESTAMP_FORMAT (which can also be accessed using the name TO_DATE if you prefer less typing, though note that all of the Information Center documentation is found under the name TIMESTAMP_FORMAT), DATE, CHAR, and DIGITS. We have only touched on what all could be used, though in terms of the built-ins found here, so I encourage you to review what's possible.

 

More CL Questions?

Wondering how to accomplish a function in CL? Send your CL-related questions to me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. I'll try to answer your burning questions in future columns.

 

Bruce Vining

Bruce Vining is president and co-founder of Bruce Vining Services, LLC, a firm providing contract programming and consulting services to the System i community. He began his career in 1979 as an IBM Systems Engineer in St. Louis, Missouri, and then transferred to Rochester, Minnesota, in 1985, where he continues to reside. From 1992 until leaving IBM in 2007, Bruce was a member of the System Design Control Group responsible for OS/400 and i5/OS areas such as System APIs, Globalization, and Software Serviceability. He is also the designer of Control Language for Files (CLF).A frequent speaker and writer, Bruce can be reached at bvining@brucevining.com. 


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    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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  • 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.