A Glimpse of the WebSphere Development Environment

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Looking for a powerful and efficient development environment for the WebSphere Application Server for iSeries Version 3.5? Ready to streamline your development life cycle and bring both you and your company into the e-business age? If that’s you, step back from your iSeries, kick up your feet, and get ready to read our version of the full monty.

This article is extracted from material available from IBM as a service offering: IBM Installation Services for WebSphere Application Server (6942-86B, will be given a glimpse of the iSeries’ crown jewel: the WebSphere Development Environment. We will explore how to use IBM WebSphere Studio for AS/400, IBM Visual Age for Java, and IBM DB2, all on Windows NT as a complete WebSphere development environment. In this article, we will highlight some impressive features, including development, debugging, local testing, and tight integration with the IBM WebSphere Application Server for iSeries.

Why the iSeries’ Crown Jewel?

As you can see in Figure 1 (page 46), the WebSphere Development Environment, residing on a Windows NT workstation, consists of IBM VisualAge for Java (VAJ), IBM WebSphere Studio for AS/400 (Studio), and IBM DB2 UDB, making it easier than ever to create scalable, hardworking e-business applications. VAJ provides the industry’s most advanced support for building, testing, and deploying 100% Pure Java applications, JavaBeans components, servlets, and applets. Tightly integrated to VAJ is Studio, a comprehensive set of tools that reduces the time and effort required to build dynamic and exciting Web applications. The IBM WebSphere Application Server (WAS) resides on an iSeries production system. WAS is an e-business application deployment environment built on open-standards-based technology and is the cornerstone of WebSphere application offerings and services. The WDE’s capabilities and its tight integration with the WebSphere Application Server make it the iSeries’ crown jewel.

The Project

Throughout this article, we will be using a prepackaged Web site called JKToys that was put together for use with this article. The JKToys Web site will allow us to demonstrate some of the major concepts surrounding Web sites and their development. In particular, the server-side Java components, including servlets, JavaServer Pages (JSPs), and basic database connectivity are included in the JKToys Web site. The JKToys Web site example was coded and tested for the latest versions of VAJ, Studio, and WAS, Version 3.5.2.

The file can be downloaded from Download and extract the file to the Windows NT development workstation, and open the /Document/getstart.pdf file. This PDF file is extracted without change from the IBM service offering, hence the inconsistent chapter numbering. Follow the NT Development Install instructions and verify that you have the prescribed WebSphere Development Environment components installed properly. First-time WebSphere Development Environment users will find instructions on how to freely obtain Entry Editions.

WebSphere Test Environment

Once you have installed VisualAge for Java, WebSphere Studio, and DB2 using the getstart.pdf, you will then have to configure VAJ’s WebSphere Test Environment. The WebSphere Test Environment contained within VAJ may be configured to act as a Web server. By using such a test environment, it is possible to quickly develop and test Web applications without the extra overhead of running, maintaining, and configuring a WebSphere Application Server. For instructions on configuring VAJ’s WebSphere Test Environment, see the sidebar “JKToys: A WebSphere Tutorial” at

To create the project, complete the following steps:

1. If not already started, start VAJ. From the Start menu, select Programs/IBM Visual Age for Java for Windows V3.5/IBM Visual Age for Java.

2. From the VAJ workbench, select Selected/Add/Project.

3. Select the Create a New Project Named button and enter the name WASDev. Select Finish.

4. The WASDev project will be created and added to the repository and workspace.

In VisualAge for Java 3.5, a new tool called the WebSphere Test Environment Control Center has been introduced. Once the WebSphere Test Environment (WTE) Control Center has been started, it can be used to control servers such as the Servlet Engine and Persistent Name Server, control the JSP execution monitor, and define DataSources.

To launch the WTE Control Center, select Workspace/Tools/WebSphere Test Environment from the Workbench menu bar. Once launched, update the Servlet Engine classpath to include your WASDev project. From the left-hand panel in the Control Center, select Servers/Servlet Engine. On the right-hand panel, click the Edit Class Path button. On the Servlet Engine Classpath dialog, scroll down the list of projects, select the WASDev project, and click OK. Now that the classpath has been updated to include your project, you need to start the Servlet Engine. On the right-hand panel, select Start Servlet Engine. To view the console, select Window/Console from the Workspace menu bar. The final output message should be similar to ‘***Servlet Engine is Started***’.

Creating the Initial Web Site

To turn the JKToys Web site from a static data site to a dynamic one, we need “live” data, which in this case means data in a database. To save setup time, we have supplied some DB2 tables with some initial data. Log on to Windows NT as any user. Start a DB2 command window by selecting Programs/DB2 for Windows NT/Command Window from the Start menu. From the DB2 command window, locate the file /database/dbsetup_db2_nt.cmd extracted from the supplied Enter the command dbsetup_db2_nt, which will create the JKDB database and populate it with data.

While HTML technology is adequate for producing the sort of static content illustrated in the skeleton JKToys Web site, we need to inject some dynamism into the site in order for it to be more than just a presence on the Web. As it currently stands, the skeleton site could just as well be implemented with an HTTP Web server. In order for JKToys to become an e-business, we need to take full advantage of the application processing facilities of an application server such as IBM’s WebSphere. WebSphere is based around servlet technology; servlets are server-side Java programs that run inside a Java-enabled application server. Java servlets are to a Web server what Java applets are to Web browsers. Servlets are loaded and executed within a Web server, and applets are loaded and executed within a Web browser. Servlet features include portability, persistence, performance, and Java. For more information on the servlet API and general servlet technology, refer to products/websphere/docs/as400v35/docs/pvindex2.html.

The DisplayInformation Servlet

In this section, we will implement our first servlet. This simple servlet, DisplayInformationServlet, will be referred to as the DisplayInformation servlet and will produce some HTML for output (JKToys’ company information, such as the main office address). In reality, we would use just static HTML to achieve the same result; however, we are using a servlet here to provide a simple example to illustrate the common features found in a servlet.

To save you coding time, we have already created the classes that will be used throughout this article.

1. Open the VAJ workbench window, select the WASDev project, then select File/Import from the menu bar.

2. On the Import SmartGuide window, select the Repository radio button and click Next.

3. Select the Local repository radio button and then Browse to find the extracted VaJavawasdev.dat file.

4. Select the Projects radio button and click the Details button slightly to the right; ensure that the WASDev project and latest version are ticked.

5. Finally, tick the Add Most Recent Project edition to Workspace checkbox and click Finish. The project will be added to your workspace.

At this point, you will notice packages and classes within the WASDev project now that have not been referenced. Please disregard them for now; they will be referenced and used later.

A Closer Look at the DisplayInformation Servlet

The DisplayInformation servlet outputs HTML using VAJ. Use the VAJ workbench to locate the DisplayInformation servlet within WASDev/com.jktoys.waslab.servlets. Notice that by importing the, java.servlet and java.servlet.http packages, you are able to reference class names from these packages without needing to qualify the class from its package name. For instance, javax.servlet. http.HttpServlet can simply be referenced as HttpServlet. The key method used in this servlet is doGet(), which will allow the DisplayInformation servlet to respond to a GET request from the Web browser. The HttpServletRequest object enables the servlet to inquire about additional details of the incoming request. Such information includes access to the request header, additional path information, cookies, session ID, parameter values, and so forth. The HttpServletResponse object permits the servlet to communicate a response back to the client. This includes the ability to open up an output stream, set header and status information, and perform URL indirection. Notice how the doGet() method simply calls the performTask() method. This may seem unnecessary at this stage, but if the doPost() method was written to handle a POST request, it could also call the performTask() method, thereby allowing both a GET and POST to invoke a single piece of code.

Make sure you have followed the instructions in the sidebar “JKToys: A WebSphere Tutorial” at for loading the Web site into Studio and have published to VAJ.

Verify that the Servlet Engine is running by checking the Control Center message and icon; also check the VAJ console. Open up a Web browser window and enter the URL that is the starting point for the JKToys application: http://localhost:8080/JKToysInternet/ index.html. Select the Information button on the JKToys logo to invoke the servlet you just created. You should see the names of the two authors of this article plus some additional information.

Don’t worry if you encountered problems—the DisplayInformation servlet will allow us to take a closer look at the debugging capabilities of VisualAge’s WTE. Now you can proceed to set a breakpoint in the DisplayInformation servlet and interactively debug it within VisualAge. With such a simple servlet, the scope for errors is limited; however, as you progress to developing complex servlet interactions that involve access to back-end systems such as DB2, the value of a good debugging environment becomes paramount.

Place a breakpoint at the start of the performTask() method by double-clicking in the left-hand margin of some source code in the method. A blue dot indicates a breakpoint. Notice that you do not need to stop and restart the WTE to place the breakpoint. When you invoke the servlet again, the debugger window appears and allows you to step through the code, inspecting variables as necessary. Whilst the debugger is running, the Web browser is stalled waiting for a reply from the servlet. Click on the Resume button (it looks like a play button or triangle) on the debugger toolbar to run through the remaining code without stopping. The servlet will now complete and return the HTML to the Web browser. Close the debugger window and remove the breakpoint. If the servlet is invoked again, it will now execute without interruption.

JavaServer Pages

JavaServer Pages provide a way to combine the worlds of HTML and Java servlet programming. JSPs are text files that look very much like HTML pages. To enable some dynamic content in a JSP, the HTML is enhanced with some new scripting tags. Because a JSP contains static HTML plus some scripting tags to control dynamic content, the JSP must be processed before it can deliver its content. This processing involves taking the JSP, converting it into a Java servlet, compiling it, and invoking the appropriate servlet to dynamically create HTML for return to the browser. From now on, whenever the JSP is required, the servlet will be used to generate the HTML output. The conversion of the JSP

into a servlet and its compilation is a once-only process, provided the source for the JSP does not change. Hence, the first invocation of a JSP can be slow due to the conversion and compilation. However, future invocations are quick, since the previously prepared servlet is executed. To reduce this first-time overhead, WebSphere Application Server can be configured to preload Java servlets so they can quickly respond to even the first user’s request.

A Closer Look at JSPs

What are the benefits of using a JSP as opposed to coding HTML inside a Java servlet? JSPs provide for separation of content presentation and generation, better Model/View/Controller architecture, separation of roles in the development team, and portability while retaining the familiarity of HTML and Java. The previous servlet example, DisplayInformation, demonstrated how to return HTML to a Web browser within a servlet. For the second example, we demonstrate how the Model/View/Controller architecture can be implemented using a servlet, JavaBean, and JSP.

The Java Bean JKToysAdminDBBean (in com.jktoys.waslab.dbaccess package) acts as the model; once its properties are initialized, it can be executed. In this case, the bean uses a JDBC call to access some data from the database. However, its implementation is hidden from the invoking servlet (the controller) and the JSP (the view).

The JSP, body_JKToys_AdminResults.jsp, which is stored in the Pages folder in the WebSphere Studio project, is responsible for extracting information from the JavaBean and formatting the information in an HTML page. Notice how any Java code in the JSP is surrounded by <% and %> tags. Another set of tags, <%= and %>, known as an expression, are used to identify output destined for the user’s browser. The and its corresponding tag identify the JavaBean this JSP will use.

Use the VAJ workbench to locate the CustomerByAge servlet within WASDev project (com.jktoys.waslab.servlets package). This servlet receives the POST request from the HTML form in the user’s Web browser. The servlet extracts the requested age group from the request object, and instantiates and executes a JavaBean called JKToysAdminDBBean in the com.jktoys.waslab.dbaccess package (the model). Finally, it passes control (forwards) to a JSP called body_JKToys_AdminResults. jsp (the view).

Verify that the Servlet Engine is running by checking the Control Center message and icon; also check the VAJ console. Open up a Web browser window and enter the URL that is the starting point for the JKToys application: http://localhost:8080/JKToysInternet/ index.html. Select the Administration button on the JKToys logo. Select an age group
(e.g., 5 to 7) and press the Display Customers button. This will invoke the servlet, and the above Model/View/Controller process will take place. You should see customer information—extracted from the DB2 database table prepared earlier—for that age group in a table view. Further information on JSPs, their use, and—most importantly—the syntax for the tags can be found at products/websphere/docs/as400v35/docs/pvindex3.html.

If you’d like to know how to debug JSPs from within VAJ, and for information on how to publish the JKToys application to your iSeries, read the Web sidebar “JKToys: A WebSphere Tutorial” at www.

Just a Glimpse—Still So Much More

There are tools in place within VAJ and Studio to help manage your changes in parallel with other developers. You saw this very briefly when you checked out the file within Studio and updated it. Also, we did not use the Studio wizards for the JKToys Web site, but they are powerful development tools for rapidly building servlets, JavaBeans, and Web content. The JavaBean in our second code sample, JKToysAdminDBBean, uses JDBC to establish a connection to a database, issue an SQL statement, and drop the connection. This type of database access works, but a

more efficient way to develop this would be to utilize techniques such as Connection Pooling and Data Sources. Since HTTP is a stateless protocol, every request to WebSphere is regarded as unique. To develop pages for the JKToys Web site that allow users to purchase toys, we would want to consider utilizing Session Management. Still other pages would be developed with additional server-side Java components like XML and EJBs. More information about this can be found at websphere/docs/as400v35/docs/pvindex1.html. The good news is that the WebSphere Development Environment can handle the full monty, making it the crown jewel of the iSeries. Add the WebSphere Application Server that is screaming on your iSeries production system; the e-business age is yours for the taking.


• DB2 Universal Database page:
• IBM eServer iSeries home page:
• IBM Installation Services for WebSphere Application Server information page: its/us/source/ss-websphere.pdf
• VisualAge Developer Domain page:
• WebSphere Application Server for iSeries page:
• WebSphere Application Server home page: www-4.
• WebSphere Studio overview page: Figure 1: This shows a topological view of the WebSphere Development Environment.

A_Glimpse_of_the_WebSphere_Development_Environment06-00.png 455x247



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

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


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

    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 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.



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

    SB Profound WC GenericHave you been wondering about Node.js? Our free Node.js Webinar Series takes you from total beginner to creating a fully-functional IBM i Node.js business application.
    Part 1 will teach you what Node.js is, why it's a great option for IBM i shops, and how to take advantage of the ecosystem surrounding Node.
    In addition to background information, our Director of Product Development Scott Klement will demonstrate applications that take advantage of the Node Package Manager (npm).
    Watch Now.

  • The Biggest Mistakes in IBM i Security

    SB Profound WC Generic The Biggest Mistakes in IBM i Security
    Here’s the harsh reality: cybersecurity pros have to get their jobs right every single day, while an attacker only has to succeed once to do incredible damage.
    Whether that’s thousands of exposed records, millions of dollars in fines and legal fees, or diminished share value, it’s easy to judge organizations that fall victim. IBM i enjoys an enviable reputation for security, but no system is impervious to mistakes.
    Join this webinar to learn about the biggest errors made when securing a Power Systems server.
    This knowledge is critical for ensuring integrity of your application data and preventing you from becoming the next Equifax. It’s also essential for complying with all formal regulations, including SOX, PCI, GDPR, and HIPAA
    Watch Now.

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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.