Getting to Know JDBC

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JDBC lets Java programs access relational databases through a standard SQL interface. Just like Java, JDBC is supported by most platforms, including the AS/400. This article shows you how to use JDBC to access DB2/400 data and metadata from a PC. JDBC is simple to use and provides an easy way to access AS/400 data from PC programs.



Java excites and scares me at the same time. The excitement comes from developing programs that run on any machine. The scary part is looking through all the $50, 800-page Java tomes at my local bookstore.



I am finding out, however, that Java is not as difficult as it looks. The topic of this article, Java Database Connectivity (JDBC), is a good example. I sat down to understand JDBC and found out it was very easy to use, especially since I had some good examples to follow.



I hope this article will encourage you to dig into JDBC. If I can do it, so can you.



To understand the purpose of JDBC, you must first understand the purpose of SQL. IBM developed SQL ages ago as part of the System/R project, the experiment to design a relational database management system (RDBMS). The original name was SEQUEL, which stood for Structured English Query Language. The name was later shortened to SQL, which is pronounced either “sequel” or “S-Q-L.”



SQL was designed to define, manipulate, and retrieve data. Many of us use it primarily or exclusively as an ad hoc query tool, but it was intended to be a standard way for high-level language (HLL) programs to interact with a relational database.



JDBC is one way Java programs use SQL to communicate with a database. I’m told other methods are in the works.






Components of JDBC



JDBC has four components—driver manager, connection, statement, and result set. I wrote a short example program, (shown in Figure 1), to illustrate how to use them. Please refer to Figure 1 as I explain the use of these four JDBC components to retrieve and present records from a sample AS/400 database file.



A Java program that uses JDBC must load the driver manager object, DriverManager, before it can communicate with a database. At Label A of Figure 1, I load the AS/400 JDBC driver, found in the AS/400 Toolbox for Java. If I were connecting to some other DBMS, I’d load some other driver instead. If I were going to connect to more databases in the same program, I would load those drivers as well.



If you look at programs written for JDBC on other platforms, you might see the Class.forName method used instead of the DriverManager.registerDriver method. (I will be using the term method throughout this article. A method is simply the object-oriented term for a function that is an explicit part of an object.)



Once the driver manager is loaded, I can establish a connection, as in Label B. The driver manager uses the getConnection method to establish a connection to a database. The various versions of the getConnection method of the DriverManager object accept different parameter lists, but the first parameter is always a Uniform Resource Locator (URL), a unique identifier for the database.



The URL consists of three parts—protocol, subprotocol, and datasource name. For JDBC, the protocol is always jdbc. The subprotocol for DB2/400 is as400. (Contrast this to the World Wide Web, where the protocol is http and there is no subprotocol.)



The datasource I use in the example is the IP address, but, of course, that is not the real address I used when I ran this program. You’ll have to fill in the appropriate value in your JDBC programs.



I chose to add two more string parameters—a user ID and password—after the URL. I represent them here with the values MYUSERID and MYPWD. If I had omitted these parameters, I would have been prompted for them every time this program ran.



Now that the driver manager has established a connection, I’m ready to start sending SQL statements to the database. The connection object creates one or more SQL statements.



I could have chosen from three statement classes: Statement, PreparedStatement, and CallableStatement. The Statement object is good for ad hoc querying. The PreparedStatement class is better in situations in which an SQL statement is executed over and over. Prepared statements are precompiled, so the entire SQL statement does not have to be translated into a usable form each time it is executed. CallableStatement objects are used to execute stored procedures on the server.



In this program, the statement is executed only one time, so I chose to use a Statement object. You can see it at Label C.



Once the statement object is created, I can run SQL commands. This I do at Label
D. I build a simple SQL SELECT command in variable SQLStmt, then run the connection’s executeQuery method to query the database. The DBMS returns a result set, a group of zero or more rows (records) that satisfy the query.



Now my Java program has to read these rows, one at a time (see Label E). It uses the result set’s next( ) method, which is something like FETCH in AS/400 HLL programs that use embedded SQL. The next( ) method moves from row to row the same way an RPG or COBOL READ works its way through a sequential file. The next( ) method returns a Boolean true each time it finds another row in the result set, and it returns false when all records in the set have been processed.



Unlike an HLL READ, next( ) does not copy data into variables. Other ResultSet methods, starting with the letters get, do that. In this example, I’ve used getString( ), a method that returns a data value as a Java string. Some of the other get methods of note are getDate, getInt, getDouble, and getBigDecimal. The getBigDecimal method is especially important because it is used to retrieve the value of DB2/400 zoned and packed decimal fields. For my purpose, the getString method works fine because I am not doing any numerical calculations on the retrieved AS/400 data.



The getString method needs one parameter—the number of the column to return—so getString(1) references the data in the first column of the current row. Since the SQL SELECT statement asked the DBMS for columns (fields) CUSNO and CUSNM, getString(1) refers to CUSNO (customer number), and getString(2) refers to CUSNM (customer name).



Inside the while loop (at Label E), the println method displays the customer number, tabs to the next tab stop, displays the customer name, and moves to the next line. All that’s left to do is close everything down and end the program.



Running the Program



I compiled and ran this program in a DOS window on a Pentium running Windows 95. The compiler I used was the JDK, Version 1.1.3. The AS/400 was MC’s RISC machine, to which I connected through the Internet.



Here’s what I had to do to make this run: First, I had to compile the program. To do so, I created a directory called jt400 on the Pentium’s hard disk and installed the file jt400.jar, from the AS/400 Toolkit for Java, into it. To make the program find this jar file, I set the CLASSPATH environment variable to point to the jar file:



C:> SET CLASSPATH=.;C:jt400jt400.jar



To compile, I ran this command from a command line:



C:> javac



To run the program, I dialed up my ISP and connected to the Internet. Then, I typed this command:



C:> java JDBCExample01



Figure 2 shows what I saw on the monitor of my PC. As I requested, DB2/400 sent the customer records to my Java program in name sequence, and the Java program dumped them to the screen.



If the only thing JDBC could do is retrieve data from servers, it would be useful. But JDBC has another powerful capability. JDBC can retrieve data about data, or metadata, as it’s called. The Connection and ResultSet classes both have getMetaData methods.



Program (Figure 3) illustrates how these methods work. To help you understand the metadata methods, I’ve included the output of the program in Figure 4.



At Label A of Figure 3, Connection’s getMetaData builds an object of type DatabaseMetaData. This object contains information about general things, like the URL to which the program is connected, the driver, and the DBMS.






The rsmeta object, at Label B, uses the getMetaData method to retrieve information about the columns (fields). It can determine how many columns are in the result set and the characteristics of each one. I’ve made this program tell the name, data type, and size of each column. If you want to see all of the methods available to you, run the following javap command.



C:> javap java.sql.ResultSetMetaData



The ability to access metadata opens the door for all sorts of possibilities for query tools and flexible applications.



Some Final Points



I hope you’re convinced that JDBC is not hard to use, even if you don’t fully understand all the things I’ve shown you. Keep working with it, and I’m sure it will eventually make sense.



Now, let me add a few points: First, these programs are portable to other clients. Ideally, I should be able to port these class files to other types of machines, and they should run against the same server.



Second, these programs are portable to other servers. If I had a CUSTMAS table of the identical description defined in an Oracle database on a UNIX machine,



I would have to change only the registerDriver statement. Third, you don’t have to use two machines to run JDBC. You can compile and run a Java program on an AS/400 and access that same AS/400’s database through JDBC.



Fourth, JDBC is slow (relatively speaking). It may not always provide an acceptable response time. You may find you need to use other methods, such as record- level access, in some situations. (See “Record-level Access with the AS/400 Toolbox for Java” in this issue of MC for more about record-level access.)






Accessing AS/400 Data Using the AS/400 Toolbox for Java java/java.htm Horton, Ivor. Beginning Java. Birmingham, UK: Wrox Press, 1997. Savit, Jeff, Sean Wilcox, and Bhuvana Jayaraman. Enterprise Java. New York;



McGraw-Hill, 1998.


import java.sql.*;

public class JDBCExample01 {

public static void main (String[] args) {

Connection con = null;

try {


// Load the JDBC driver




// Connect to the database

String sourceURL = “jdbc:as400://”;

con = DriverManager.getConnection (sourceURL,”MYUSERID”,”MYPWD”);

// Use this version of getConnection if you want the user

// to be prompted for user ID and password

// con DriverManager.getConnection (sourceURL);


// Run an SQL SELECT statement

Statement stmt con.createStatement ();



ResultSet rs stmt.executeQuery (SQLStmt);


// Display each row (record) retrieved by the SQL statement

while ( ()) {

System.out.println ( rs.getString (1) + “ ” +

rs.getString (2) );



rs.close ();

stmt.close ();


catch (Exception e) {

System.out.println (“ nERROR: “ + e.getMessage());


finally {

try {
con.close ();


catch (SQLException e) {



System.exit (0);




Figure 1: The Java client program,



1ACME Fine Foods, Inc. 2Jack Spratt & Sons, Inc. 9Joe’s Waffle Palace 11Pete’s Burger Heaven 3Polyphonic Records, Inc. 12 Tom’s Ice Cream Bazaar



Figure 2: Output of the Java program in Figure 1


import java.sql.*;

public class JDBCExample02 {

public static void main (String[] args) {

Connection con = null;

try {

// Load the JDBC driver


// Connect to the database

String sourceURL = “jdbc:as400://”;

con = DriverManager.getConnection (sourceURL,”MYUSERID”,”MYPWD”);


// Retrieve and display the connection metadata

DatabaseMetaData dbmeta = con.getMetaData();


“ URL: “ + dbmeta.getURL() +

“ Driver: “ + dbmeta.getDriverName() +

“ DBMS name: “ + dbmeta.getDatabaseProductName() +

“ DBMS version: “ + dbmeta.getDriverVersion() +

“ Driver name: “ + dbmeta.getDriverName() +

“ Driver version: “ + dbmeta.getDriverVersion() +

“ User: “ + dbmeta.getUserName() +

“ Read only: “ + dbmeta.isReadOnly());

// Run an SQL SELECT statement

Statement stmt = con.createStatement ();


ResultSet rs = stmt.executeQuery (SQLStmt);


// Retrieve and display metadata about the result set

ResultSetMetaData rsmeta = rs.getMetaData ();

int ColumnCount = rsmeta.getColumnCount ();


“ Number of columns: “ + ColumnCount);

for (int i = 1; i <= ColumnCount; i++) {


“ Column “ + i + “:” +

“ Name: “ + rsmeta.getColumnName (i) +

“ Label: “ + rsmeta.getColumnLabel (i) +

“ Data type: “ + rsmeta.getColumnTypeName(i) +

“ Display size: “ + rsmeta.getColumnDisplaySize(i) +

“ ”);




catch (Exception e) {

System.out.println (“ nERROR: “ + e.getMessage());


finally {

try {

con.close ();


catch (SQLException e) {



System.exit (0);




Figure 3: This Java program retrieves metadata describing the database and the columns


URL: jdbc:as400://

Driver: DB2 for OS/400 JDBC Driver

DBMS name: DB2/400 SQL

DBMS version: 1.0

Driver name: DB2 for OS/400 JDBC Driver
Driver version: 1.0


Read only: false

Number of columns: 9

Column Name Type Size


Figure 4: Output of the program in Figure 3


Ted Holt

Ted Holt is IT manager of Manufacturing Systems Development for Day-Brite Capri Omega, a manufacturer of lighting fixtures in Tupelo, Mississippi. He has worked in the information processing industry since 1981 and is the author or co-author of seven books. 

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    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.