With components running on both the server and PC, the snappy editor automatically formats reports, retrieves deleted records, and allows for viewing user-defined file relations that otherwise would be hidden in obscurity.
Everyone likes utilities—at least everyone likes to try utilities; sometimes they even stick around and become good friends. Then, over time, something changes and you part ways. Often, it's hard to say goodbye to your old buddy, even though your new acquaintance may offer the thrill of new powers and freedoms. The features that your new companion lacks, however—which may have been present in your old partner—can be cause for some regret.
There is a new database editor that recently moved into the IBM i neighborhood, and she offers a very tidy little graphical package that is bound to tempt even the most devoted developer to take a peek. And for a limited time, straying into her GUI arms won't have any financial consequences.
Yes, the new database editor, called neuEdit, from neuObjects, Inc., is run from a Windows PC, but it's more than just a GUI front-end for an ODBC or JDBC interface, and it's not a screen-scraper; there is a significant component of neuEdit running on the IBM i server linking to native APIs. The result is one snappy editor.
"We spent a lot of time developing the framework for neuEdit," says Brian Lazarz, head of newObjects, Inc. "Now that we have that, we will be able to develop other new tools relatively quickly," says the IBM i and iSeries consultant who has been helping AS/400 shops, including some Fortune 500 companies, with custom solutions for the past 12 years.
One of the reasons Lazarz decided to put the information about IBM i data onto a Windows GUI is to increase the amount of viewable real estate. With the green-screen's 24x80 limit on what the user sees, the developer often just can't see enough information to get the big picture. neuEdit opens things up considerably and gives the user a much grander view of what's going on under the covers of the Power Systems machine.
Compatible with every version of the IBM operating system from OS/400 V4R3 to IBM i 7.1, neuEdit promises to make managing DB2 on the IBM server a lot easier for longtime users and easier to learn for new converts. While there is a wealth of information available on the server, oftentimes the field names in the database and the various relationships that exist can be challenging to navigate, even for an experienced developer, particularly if she isn't familiar with the individual machine. neuEdit's field list screen gives the developer a quick way to find fields by name, type, and even description with information on each field displayed as you navigate. And if the system has both internal and external field names, say through using Synon/2E for application development, you can still find them using neuEdit.
The utility organizes the extended attributes of a file being edited into a single screen so the information can be accessed and better understood. Getting information about trigger programs, journals, jobs with file locks, as well as database and user relationships is available at the click of a tab. neuEdit even has a unique Database Relations screen that offers users information on select/omit criteria, as well as key field names and descriptions, and provides format-level text for access path details. If you need a hard copy, you can create a summary or detail report of all your database relations printed to any Windows printer.
Of course, you can edit a single record (IFS files aren't yet supported), and you can control what privileges a single user has to do just that. With the record displayed in an easy-to-follow view, a user of almost any skill level can manage the process. Should you ever need to open data areas or do byte-level editing, neuEdit features a hex editor for both record- and field-level edits.
Finding records is easy too, and you can do so by key or relative record number. neuEdit's filter option allows viewing only those records that meet your search criteria. You can also replace field values with neuEdit's find and replace feature. One feature could be worth the price of admission alone—neuEdit's Undelete button. If a user accidentally deletes a record, it can create a minor crisis in IT. If they do it using neuEdit, it's just a question of recovering the deleted record in a couple of seconds.
Yet neuEdit is more than just a database editor. As they say on TV: "But wait! There's more!" The utility's reporting features allow the user to create and print clear and usable reports on a single record or range of records. The application automatically formats the data into readable page columns, making it much easier to analyze large amounts of information. Reporting is available for all of neuEdit's primary screens, such as the field list, member list, object list, extended attributes, user-defined relations, or program references.
Clearly, there are a number of valuable time savers built into neuEdit, from the Program References feature that lets you see all objects referenced by a program, to the user-defined relations that allow you to view not only the file, but such things as customer orders, invoices, payment history, etc. Once these relationships are defined, you can save them and share them with others in the company.
A couple of other features a developer might find handy include the import/export feature, giving you the ability to import multiple file types directly onto the server (forget rekeying data). If your users want to work with data on a spreadsheet or word processor, you can use neuEdit to give it to them. Formats supported include text, Excel, Open Office, and Access, as well as ADO-compliant datasets such as Microsoft SQL Server.
After neuEdit, what does the future hold for Lazarz' solution-development aspirations? "We're working on a second product that should be out in beta in about six months," he says. "It will take a wizard approach to building an application generator. Eventually it will extend to mobile apps."
In the meantime, potential customers, who normally would have 60 days to evaluate neuEdit, can—for a limited time—get a single user license (supporting one unnamed concurrent user) for a whole year at no charge! (A single user license on one LPAR of unlimited duration is normally $795.) To take advantage of the promotional offer and download the software, click here.
For an unlimited number of users on a single LPAR, the utility is priced at $2,495, and unlimited users on multiple LPARS, $3,495. Maintenance is optional but runs an additional 18 percent of the base price annually.
as/400, os/400, iseries, system i, i5/os, ibm i, power systems, 6.1, 7.1, V7, V6R1