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GPS-Enable the Addresses in Your Database!

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Do you realize how much your business can do with GPS coordinates? No? Well, let me tell you.

 

All of our applications' databases hold hundreds if not thousands of addresses—from our clients, suppliers, stores, warehouses, branches, and so on. This article explains how to GPS-enable, or geocode, that precious information in order to expand the horizons of what you can do with your data: improve your logistics processes, locate areas where your network (of clients, stores, or suppliers) is poor or non-existent, and develop a lot of other business-specific uses for the GPS coordinates.

 

Almost daily, our call center receives phone calls from clients asking questions like this one: "I'm in the x area; what's your closest store to my location?" Unless the operator knows the area the client is in, this is a tough question to answer...unless the operator has a little help from an online maps service (Google, Bing, Yahoo) or another application. Of course, this requires that the store locations are geocoded (that is, the stores' addresses are translated into GPS coordinates). This is what we're going to do here.

 

The process has three parts: receive the address and compose a proper request to the Web service; invoke the Web service; process the response (receive and parse the Xml) and extract the latitude and longitude coordinates from the response.

 

So let's get started!

 

There are a few things we'll need to set up. We'll be using the Yahoo Place Finder API, which is a free online Web service, and on the iSeries side, we'll use a great free utility library created by Scott Klement called HTTP API. Then we'll also need to process the Web service's response; for that, we'll use the op code XML-INTO. Lastly, your iSeries must have an Internet connection. This usually means going through a firewall to get to the Internet. Since we're going to connect to Yahoo's servers, you'll need to set up a firewall rule or two to be able to get through.

 

First of all, keep in mind that even though Yahoo Place Finder Web service is free, there are a few rules to abide by. Please read carefully the terms and conditions and the API documentation. I'll be going through some parts of it, but a complete read is advised. In order to use the Web service, you must create an Application ID. You're required to create a Yahoo account if you don't already have one. After you sign in, the application form shown in Figure 1 will pop up.

 

041311Rafealfig1

Figure 1: Fill in the application form. (Click image to enlarge.)

 

It's important to fill it in properly, because you might not be able to use the Web service otherwise. Enter your application name, choose client/desktop in the "kind of application" box, and briefly describe its purpose. If you choose "Web-based," you are also required to fill in the application and icon URLs. Finally, in the Access Scopes section, choose "This app will only access public APIs, Web Services, or RSS feeds." Tick the Terms of Use checkbox. Click the "Get API Key" button and make a note of your Application ID. It will be needed later.

 

The next step is installing the HTTP API library. This is a fairly simple process: 

 

Log on to your iSeries, and create a save file to store the downloaded file in. To do this, type CRTSAVF QGPL/HTTPAPI. Next, use FTP to transfer the save file to your iSeries by opening an MS-DOS prompt and typing the following:

 

cd \<directory where you put the save file>

ftp your-iSeries-name-here

(enter your username & password when asked)

binary

put httpapi.savf QGPL/HTTPAPI

quit

 

Back on the iSeries, type this:

 

DLTLIB LIBHTTP (ignore errors if library doesn't exist)

RSTLIB SAVLIB(LIBHTTP) DEV(*SAVF) SAVF(QGPL/HTTPAPI)

 

Finally, build and run the install program:

 

CHGCURLIB CURLIB(LIBHTTP)

CRTCLPGM INSTALL SRCFILE(LIBHTTP/QCLSRC)

CALL INSTALL

 

The install program will guide you through the rest of the process.

 

You're all set! Now let's analyze the code and see how the three steps I mentioned previously are implemented.

Implementing the Steps

In order to do that, some context is needed. I've created a function that accepts the postal address (street name and door number, city, zip code, and country—or any combination of these) and returns the GPS coordinates (latitude and longitude) closest to the address. It's important to note that the result is not always accurate: if the door number is not found, the Web service will return the closest it finds, or if the street name is a partial match to some other street name and the original is not found by the Web service in its database, you'll get the partial match. The quality of the response is also passed back by the function, and I'll explain it in detail later. There's an additional parameter named Error Code that is mainly to help the application support team track down and resolve any issue that arises. I'll also cover that in depth later. Here's how to invoke the Web service:

 

CallP RtvGpsFrmAddr(P_Address : P_Quality : P_Latitude : P_Longitude : P_ErrorCode);

 

The function itself returns an indicator (in which *OFF means success and *ON means error), so the best way to use it is like this:

 

If RtvGpsFrmAddr(P_Address : P_Quality : P_Latitude : P_Longitude : P_ErrorCode) = *Off;

      // Use the P_Latitude and P_Longitude for something

Else;

      // Oops! Something went wrong! Use the P_ErrorCode to react accordingly

EndIf;

 

Finally, let's go over step one: receive the address and compose a proper request to the Web service.  The Web service is expecting two things in the request: a properly formatted address and a valid Yahoo Developer Network Application ID (YDN App ID). By "properly formatted," I mean that the address cannot have blank spaces, and any special characters (ö, for instance) have to be encoded in UTF-8. I explained earlier how to obtain a YDN App ID, so the only thing missing is here is where to use these two: the base URL of the Web service. Since Yahoo is continually working on improving its tools, the base URL might change sometime in the future (to include the version number or change the name, for instance), so I've stored it in a data area referred to as DAApiBaseUrl in the code. The real name is shorter (DAAPIURL) due to the 10-character limitation on the object names. Analyzing the code, you'll find the retrieval and check of the YDN App ID and the base URL in (1) and (2), respectively:

 

             // (1)

             // Retrieve Yahoo Developers Network Application ID

             In DAAppID;

             W_AppID = DAAppId;

             // Check If the YDN App ID is filled in

             If W_AppID = *Blanks;

               P_ErrorCode = 300; //Invalid YDN App ID

               W_Return = *ON;

               ExSr End_And_Return;

             EndIf;

 

             // (2)

             // Retrieve Yahoo Place Finder API base url

             In DAApiBaseUrl;

             W_ApiBaseUrl = DAApiBaseUrl;

             // Check If the Yahoo Place Finder API base url is filled in

             If W_ApiBaseUrl = *Blanks;

               P_ErrorCode = 350; //Invalid Yahoo Place Finder API base url

               W_Return = *ON;

               ExSr End_And_Return;

             EndIf;

 

The next step is formatting the input address to the Web service's requirements. The built-in function %XLATE is used to replace the blank spaces in the address with plus signs (+). Since usually the address doesn't take up the entire size of the variable, %Trim is used to ensure that the trailing blanks are not converted to plus signs:

 

             // Prepare the address, by replacing blanks with the plus sign

             W_Address = %Xlate(' ' : '+' : %Trim(P_Address));

 

 

After this, there's only one thing left to do: encode your request. For this task, I use a little something from the HTTP API library called a Web form. Basically, it encodes whatever variables you include, composing a string in UTF-8:

 

             // Compose the WebService URL with the address and your YDN App ID

             W_Form = WEBFORM_open();

             WEBFORM_setVar(W_Form : 'q'     : %Trim(W_Address) );

             WEBFORM_setVar(W_Form : 'appid' : %Trim(W_AppID)   );

 

             W_Url = %Trim(W_ApiBaseUrl) + WEBFORM_getData(W_Form);

 

             // Close form

             WEBFORM_Close(W_Form);

 

Here's an example to make it clearer. Suppose your address is 701 First Ave., Sunnyvale, CA 94089 and your YDN APP ID  is A234fW9. After the code above runs, the W_Url variable will contain the following URL: http://where.yahooapis.com/geocode?q=701%2BFirst%2BAve.%2C%2BSunnyvale%2C%2BCA%2B94089&appid=A234fW9

 

Here, http://where.yahooapis.com/geocode? is the API base URL, stored in the data area I previously mentioned. 701%2BFirst%2BAve.%2C%2BSunnyvale%2C%2BCA%2B94089 is the address, after it has been transformed (blanks to pluses) and encoded (since there are no special characters in this address, the only change was turning + into %2B).

 

The YDN App ID remained untouched. The q and appid are parameters of the Web service and correspond to your query (the address) and your YDN App ID, respectively. The encoder provides this double function of translating to UTF-8 and adding the necessary parameter separators (&) to make composing a proper URL very easy.

 

Step two is invoking the Web service. For that, I'll use another HTTP API function, called http_get_url. This function accepts as an input parameter a URL and saves the corresponding Web page to a file in the IFS. The name of the IFS file is indicated as a second parameter. The function itself returns a status code (1 mean success; anything else is an error. Check Scott Klement's documentation for details). In order to use it, you must create an IFS file first. Since this is only temporary storage for our Web service response, I'll use another function, named http_tempfile, to create it. Here's the complete code for step two:

 

             // Create a temp file to receive the WebService response

             W_FileName = http_tempfile() + '.xml';

 

 

             // Invoke the WebService

             W_RetCode = http_url_get(W_url : W_FileName);

 

             // In case of error,  return *ON

             If (W_RetCode <> 1);

               P_ErrorCode = 400; //Problems invoking the Web Service

               W_Return = *ON;

               ExSr End_And_Return;

             EndIf;

 

I'll explain what is done in here case of error later. The important thing is that after this piece of code runs, I have the Web service's response, in XML format, stored in an IFS file. The file name is saved in variable W_FileName for the next step, which is process the response (receive and parse the XML) and extract the latitude and longitude coordinates from the response.

 

There are a few ways to process an XML file in RPG. My favorite is the op code XML-INTO. Even if you have used it before, read on because you might find something new.

 

The op code itself is very simple to use: just provide an XML file, a data structure to receive the parsed contents, and some options that define how the parsing should occur. I'll start by this last bit. You might not need the whole content of the XML document: it's normal to use only a sub-tree (a smaller set of data) or even only a few elements (fields) within that sub-tree. By specifying the correct options, you indicate how the parser should behave and what is acceptable in terms of validation. In the code, I don't care about the case (lowercase or uppercase is irrelevant to me) or the complete XML structure of the file (this is done to ensure that the RtvGpsFrmAddr function will continue to work even if Yahoo adds new elements to the xml of the Web service). Having this in mind, here's how I set up the options for XML-INTO:

 

             // Prepare parameters for XML-INTO

             W_Options = 'doc=file +

                    path=RESULTSET +

                    case=any +

                    allowextra=yes +

                    allowmissing=yes';

 

From top to bottom, doc=file means that we'll be parsing XML coming from a file; path=RESULTSET tells the parser which sub-tree we're interested in (I'll get back to the XML structure later); case=any refers to the upper or lowercase of the element names themselves (as I mentioned earlier, it's really irrelevant to us); finally, allowextra=yes and allowmissing=yes ensure that the parsing will still occur if the XML structure is (slightly) changed.

 

Now the parser knows how to act and what to act upon. W_FileName contains the name and path of the XML file. The only thing missing is where to store the result of the parsing. XML-INTO expects a data structure that "clones" the XML structure that it's parsing. In other words, the data structure field names must match the XML element names so that the parser finds the proper match and stores the content of element '<street>' in the data structure field 'street'. Because I specified case=any in the options, the field and element names can be either 'street' or 'STREET'; I really don't care about the case. To build the data structure, we need to analyze the XML structure. Specifically, we need to find the latitude, the longitude, the quality of the match, and the error code; these are the output parameters of RtvGpsFrmAddr. However, I've tried to leave the code as flexible as possible, so I've created a data structure that covers the whole XML structure. Going back to the example from the first step, the URL http://where.yahooapis.com/geocode?q=701%2BFirst%2BAve.%2C%2BSunnyvale%2C%2BCA%2B94089&appid=A234fW9 will return the following XML:

 

<ResultSet version="1.0">

<Error>0</Error>

<ErrorMessage>No error</ErrorMessage>

<Locale>us_US</Locale>

<Quality>87</Quality>

<Found>1</Found>

<Result>

<quality>87</quality>

<latitude>37.416275</latitude>

<longitude>-122.025092</longitude>

<offsetlat>37.416397</offsetlat>

<offsetlon>-122.025055</offsetlon>

<radius>500</radius>

<name/>

<line1>701 1st Ave</line1>

<line2>Sunnyvale, CA  94089-1019</line2>

<line3/>

<line4>United States</line4>

<house>701</house>

<street>1st Ave</street>

<xstreet/>

<unittype/>

<unit/>

<postal>94089-1019</postal>

<neighborhood/>

<city>Sunnyvale</city>

<county>Santa Clara County</county>

<state>California</state>

<country>United States</country>

<countrycode>US</countrycode>

<statecode>CA</statecode>

<countycode/>

<uzip>94089</uzip>

<hash>DDAD1896CC0CDC41</hash>

<woeid>12797150</woeid>

<woetype>11</woetype>

</Result>

</ResultSet>           

 

The Web service documentation explains each element in depth here, so I'll just cover the structure itself and the relevant elements. The structure only has one tree, called ResultSet. Within it there are six elements, of which five are simple and one is complex. This last one, named Result, is what we're interested in. In a situation such as this one, where there's only one match, the <Result> element exists only once. I have decided to keep things simple and expect only one <Result> element. I'll briefly explain how to change the RtvGpsFrmAddr function to handle more than one <Result> later. However, keep in mind that this might also mean that you need some logic on your program to decide which GPS coordinates to use. Our data structure has to match this duality of simple and complex elements. For those of you unfamiliar with the terminology, complex element basically means that the element has sub-elements. In the <Result> case, a lot of them! To match this structure, we need a data structure that contains five fields, with names that match the five simple elements, and another data structure that in turn has fields whose names match the sub-element names. I know it's a mind twister, so let's look at the data structure, and it might start to make sense:

 

 

      *------------------------------------------------------------------------*

      *   Data Structures                                                      *

      *------------------------------------------------------------------------*

     D ResultSet       DS                  Qualified

     D   Error                             Like(t_Error)

     D   ErrorMessage                      Like(t_ErrorMessage)

     D   Locale                            Like(t_Locale)

     D   Quality                           Like(t_Quality)

     D   Found                             Like(t_Found)

     D   Result                            LikeDS(t_Result)

     D                                     Dim(10)

 

     D t_Error         S              4  0

     D t_ErrorMessage  S             50A

     D t_Locale        S              5A

     D t_Quality       S              2  0

     D t_Found         S              3  0

 

     D t_Result        DS                  Qualified

     D                                     Based(Template)

     D   quality                           Like(t_Quality)

     D   latitude                    15A

     D   longitude                   15A

     D   offsetlat                   15A

     D   offsetlon                   15A

     D   radius                       4  0

     D   name                       100A

     D   line1                      100A

     D   line2                      100A

     D   line3                      100A

     D   line4                      100A

     D   house                       10A

     D   street                     100A

     D   xstreet                    100A

     D   unittype                   100A

     D   unit                       100A

     D   postal                      10A

     D   neighborhood               100A

     D   city                       100A

     D   county                      50A

     D   state                       50A

     D   country                     50A

     D   countrycode                  5A

     D   statecode                    5A

     D   countycode                   5A

     D   uzip                        10A

     D   hash                        20A

     D   woeid                       10A

     D   woetype                      5A

 

 

The ResultSet data structure is qualified, just to make it easier to read in the code. Similarly, the t_Result data structure, which is the definition used for the sixth "field" of the ResultSet data structure, is also qualified. The "field" Result is an array that can contain up to 10 elements, just to prevent XML-INTO from returning an error if there's more that one <RESULT> element in the XML.

 

It now time to put everything together—the XML file, the options, and the data structure:

 

             // Receive xml file into data structure

             Monitor;

               Xml-Into ResultSet %xml(W_FileName : W_Options);

             On-Error;

               P_ErrorCode = 500; //Malformed xml

               W_Return = *ON;

               ExSr End_And_Return;

             EndMon;

 

I'm using Monitor just to make sure that the function aborts gracefully if something is not as it should be. If everything goes well, the XML contents are now in the ResultSet data structure. If the Web service returned a valid response (in other words, a single address match), we can extract the GPS coordinates from it:

 

             // Check for API errors before processing

             // In case of API error, return the error code and leave

             If ResultSet.Error <> 0;

               P_ErrorCode = ResultSet.Error;

               W_Return = *ON;

               ExSr End_And_Return;

             EndIf;

 

             // If an exact match was found (only 1 result returned), pass the

             // coordinates to the output parms

             If ResultSet.Found = 1;

               P_Quality   = ResultSet.Result(1).quality;

               P_Latitude  = ResultSet.Result(1).latitude;

               P_Longitude = ResultSet.Result(1).longitude;

               P_ErrorCode = 0; // Sucess!

               W_Return = *Off;

               ExSr End_And_Return;

             Else;

               P_ErrorCode = 600; // No exact match (none or more than 1 found)

               W_Return = *ON;

               ExSr End_And_Return;

             EndIf;

 

In the If ResultSet.Found = 1 block, you can see the beauty of the Qualified keyword; the P_Quality parameter is receiving the "quality" field of the first element of the data structure Result, which in turn, is part of the ResultSet data structure. This ends the third step. It's now time to explain all of those ExSr End_And_Return calls. Each anomalous situation in the code is handled by a set of three lines:

 

               P_ErrorCode = 600; // No exact match (none or more than 1 found)

               W_Return = *ON;

               ExSr End_And_Return;

 

You've seen this over and over again, right? P_ErrorCode returns a predetermined error code telling the caller program what went wrong. The error code itself is hardcoded, except in this situation:

 

             // Check for API errors before processing

             // In case of API error, return the error code and leave

             If ResultSet.Error <> 0;

               P_ErrorCode = ResultSet.Error;

               W_Return = *ON;

               ExSr End_And_Return;

             EndIf;

 

 

In this situation, I return the error code of the Web service. You can find the meaning of these error codes here. W_Return contains the success or failure indicator for the RtvGpsFrmAddr function. You might have noticed that is always set to *ON, except when I extract the latitude and longitude from the data structure. The error code and the return indicator are used in routine End_And_Return:

 

 

         //--------------------------------------------------------------------*

         //  End and Return                                                    *

         //--------------------------------------------------------------------*

           BegSr End_And_Return;

 

             // Log status (useful for debuging)

             ExSr Log_Status;

 

             // Delete temp file

             unlink(W_FileName);

 

             // End and return the indicator (*on = error / *off = success)

             Return W_Return;

 

           EndSr;

 

         //--------------------------------------------------------------------*

         //  Log status                                                        *

         //--------------------------------------------------------------------*

           BegSr Log_Status;

 

             // Log request

             Open Log;

             Log_TypeReq = 'RtvGpsFrmAddr';

             Log_StsCode = P_ErrorCode;

             Log_InpParm = %Trim(P_Address);

             Log_OutParm = 'Quality=' + %Char(P_Quality)

                           + '|Latitude=' + %Trim(P_Latitude)

                           + '|Longitude=' + %Trim(P_Longitude);

             Log_DateTim = %TimeStamp;

             Write LogR;

             Close Log;

 

           EndSr;

 

End_And_Return is a very simple routine that logs the request to a file (I'll explain routine Log_Status next), deletes the temporary file using another function from the HTTP API library, and returns *ON or *OFF, in case of error or success, respectively. The Log_Status routine will be useful in the early days of the implementation, because it saves all the input and output parameters in a record per invocation of the RtvGpsFrmAddr function. You might want to disable it later on, even though I strongly recommend keeping it; it might be of use in the future.

 

Now let's consolidate all of this with an example:

 

      * Retrieve GPS Info Procedures

      /Copy QCPYLESRC,RTVGPS_PR

 

     DW_Response       S             52A   Inz(*Blanks)

 

      /FREE

         P_Address = '701 First Ave., Sunnyvale, CA 94089'; // Full address w/ door nbr

         If RtvGpsFrmAddr(P_Address :

                          P_Quality :

                          P_Latitude :

                          P_Longitude :

                          P_ErrorCode) = *Off;

           W_Response = 'Latitude=' + %Trim(P_Latitude) +

                        ' Longitude=' + %Trim(P_Longitude);

           Dsply W_Response;

         Else;

           W_Response = 'Error Code=' + %Char(P_ErrorCode);

           Dsply W_Response;

         EndIf;

 

         *InLr = *On;

      /END-FREE

 

Here, I'm calling the function from an IF statement and displaying the GPS coordinates of the address passed as a parameter. In case something doesn't work as expected, I'm displaying the error code. Note that the copy member RTVGPS_PR contains all the necessary variable definitions for the parameters, so be careful with the names of the variables in the caller program, to avoid duplications (and consequent compilation errors). I've included source member TST_GPSADD, which has other addresses ready for testing. There, you'll find incomplete addresses, airport codes instead of the address (LAX for instance), and an invalid address (which will cause ResultSet.Found = 0). Try all of these to get a feel of the way the function works before using it on your data. By the way, if your address is from a country that has a different structure (for instance, the door number appears after the street name), you might have some problems because it will return the GPS coordinates for the street but not for the door number you specified.

 

You can download the source code here.

 

A Quality Issue

One of the output parameters of the function is the quality of the response. If you look closely at the XML, you'll see that there are two elements named "quality";  one belongs to <RESULTSET> (with uppercase Q) and the other to <RESULT> (with lowercase q). The Web service documentation explains why:

 

"The response contains two Address Quality elements:

  • Quality: Child element of ResultSet. This element defines the best possible quality of the address specified by the input parameter.
  • quality: Child element of Result. This element defines the quality of the address data for this result. If a response has multiple Result elements, each will contain a quality element.

 

If the result quality is less than the best possible Quality, then the accuracy of the result is less than requested. For example, suppose the input parameter is "1000 1st Ave Sunnyvale CA," but the result is "998 1st Ave Sunnyvale CA." In the response, the best possible Quality for the input parameter is 87. However, the result quality is 86 because closest street number found does not match the requested street number."

 

You'll find additional information and the list of quality codes here.

 

The RtvGpsFrmAddr function returns the one from the <RESULT>, and it's up to the programmer to decide if the quality level is acceptable or not. Ideally, if the address is accurate, you should always (or almost always) get 87 in the P_Quality parameter. Read the documentation carefully and decide what you consider acceptable.

Multiple Results

I mentioned that the function would handle only an exact match (one element in the Result array) to keep things simple. Here's what you have to do to handle multiple results:

  • Transform the output parameters into arrays with the same number of elements as the Result array.
  • Change the If ResultSet.Found = 1; into a For cycle that loops through the whole Result array and assign each element of the Result(index).fieldname to the respective parametername(index). Something like this: P_Quality(W_Index) = ResultSet.Result(W_Index).quality;
  • In the caller program, build logic to handle the multiple responses. I won't make any suggestions here, because it will have to be a case-by-case decision.

 

Final Thoughts

The Yahoo Place Finder Web Service is a very powerful tool, and I've only scratched the surface here. The documentation and support forums will most definitely provide valuable help and ideas to new functions. The RtvGpsFrmAddr function is a basic implementation of the Web service, with a few limitations. It uses only a small, yet important, part of the data provided by the Web service. I urge you to adapt it to your specific needs!

 

The next logical step is to use the newly found richness of information. A lot can be done with the GPS coordinates, once you have them—from calculating the ideal route between stores and warehouses to analyzing and reporting on geographical coverage of stores, resellers, or clients. Instead of building something from scratch, have a look at the Geographic Information System (GIS) applications out there (Google it up!) and see how they can help your business. It's certainly helping mine!

RPG, 

as/400, os/400, iseries, system i, i5/os, ibm i, power systems, 6.1, 7.1, V7, V6R1

Rafael Victoria-Pereira

Rafael Victória-Pereira has more than 20 years of IBM i experience as a programmer, analyst, and manager. Over that period, he has been an active voice in the IBM i community, encouraging and helping programmers transition to ILE and free-format RPG. Rafael has written more than 100 technical articles about topics ranging from interfaces (the topic for his first book, Flexible Input, Dazzling Output with IBM i) to modern RPG and SQL in his popular RPG Academy and SQL 101 series on mcpressonline.com and in his books Evolve Your RPG Coding and SQL for IBM i: A Database Modernization Guide. Rafael writes in an easy-to-read, practical style that is highly popular with his audience of IBM technology professionals.

Rafael is the Deputy IT Director - Infrastructures and Services at the Luis Simões Group in Portugal. His areas of expertise include programming in the IBM i native languages (RPG, CL, and DB2 SQL) and in "modern" programming languages, such as Java, C#, and Python, as well as project management and consultancy.


MC Press books written by Rafael Victória-Pereira available now on the MC Press Bookstore.

Evolve Your RPG Coding: Move from OPM to ILE...and Beyond Evolve Your RPG Coding: Move from OPM to ILE...and Beyond
Transition to modern RPG programming with this step-by-step guide through ILE and free-format RPG, SQL, and modernization techniques.
List Price $79.95

Now On Sale

Flexible Input, Dazzling Output with IBM i Flexible Input, Dazzling Output with IBM i
Uncover easier, more flexible ways to get data into your system, plus some methods for exporting and presenting the vital business data it contains.
List Price $79.95

Now On Sale

SQL for IBM i: A Database Modernization Guide SQL for IBM i: A Database Modernization Guide
Learn how to use SQL’s capabilities to modernize and enhance your IBM i database.
List Price $79.95

Now On Sale

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  • Mobile Computing and the IBM i

    SB ASNA PPL 5450Mobile 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.

    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!

  • 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.

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

    SB Maxava PPL 5476PRACTICAL 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 from Maxava today.

     

  • 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!

     

  • 2020 IBM i Marketplace Survey Results

    HelpSystems

    This year marks the sixth edition of the popular IBM i Marketplace Survey Results. Each year, HelpSystems sets out to gather data about how businesses use the IBM i platform and the IT initiatives it supports. Year over year, the survey has begun to reveal long-term trends that give insight into the future of this trusted technology.

    More than 500 IBM i users from around the globe participated in this year’s survey, and we’re so happy to share the results with you. We hope you’ll find the information interesting and useful as you evaluate your own IT projects.

  • AIX Security Basics eCourse

    Core Security

    With so many organizations depending on AIX day to day, ensuring proper security and configuration is critical to ensure the safety of your environment. Don’t let common threats put your critical AIX servers at risk. Avoid simple mistakes and start to build a long-term plan with this AIX Security eCourse. Enroll today to get easy to follow instructions on topics like:

    • Removing extraneous files
    • Patching systems efficiently
    • Setting and validating permissions
    • Managing service considerations
    • Getting overall visibility into your networks

     

  • Developer Kit: Making a Business Case for Modernization and Beyond

    Profound Logic Software, Inc.

    Having trouble getting management approval for modernization projects? The problem may be you're not speaking enough "business" to them.

    This Developer Kit provides you study-backed data and a ready-to-use business case template to help get your very next development project approved!

  • What to Do When Your AS/400 Talent Retires

    HelpSystemsIT managers hoping to find new IBM i talent are discovering that the pool of experienced RPG programmers and operators or administrators is small.

    This guide offers strategies and software suggestions to help you plan IT staffing and resources and smooth the transition after your AS/400 talent retires. Read on to learn:

    • Why IBM i skills depletion is a top concern
    • How leading organizations are coping
    • Where automation will make the biggest impact

     

  • IBM i Resources Retiring?

    SB HelpSystems WC GenericLet’s face it: IBM i experts and RPG programmers are retiring from the workforce. Are you prepared to handle their departure?
    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
    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.

     

  • Backup and Recovery Considerations for Security Data and Encrypted Backups

    SB PowerTech WC GenericSecurity expert Carol Woodbury is joined by Debbie Saugen. Debbie is an expert on IBM i backup and recovery, disaster recovery, and high availability, helping 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.

  • Profound.js: The Agile Approach to Legacy Modernization

    SB Profound WC GenericIn this presentation, Alex Roytman and Liam Allan 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

     

  • 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 GenericWatch 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!

     

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

    SB Profound PPL 5491Modern, 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.

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

    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.

    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).

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

    SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericYou 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 discuss:


    - 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

  • 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 5541Whether 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:

    • 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

     

  • 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_GenericIt’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. 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_GenericLet’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 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_GenericWhile introducing Sequel Data Access, we’ll address common frustrations with Query/400, discuss major data access, distribution trends, and more advanced query tools. 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

  • How to Manage Documents the Easy Way

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericWhat happens when your company depends on an outdated document management strategy?
    Everything is harder.
    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_GenericGet 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.

  • Overwhelmed by Operating Systems?

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericIn 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.

     

  • Real-Time Disk Monitoring with Robot Monitor

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericYou need to know when IBM i disk space starts to disappear and where it has gone before system performance and productivity start to suffer. 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

     

     

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

    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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    SB CYBRA PPL 5382

    TRY the one package that solves all your document design and printing challenges on all your platforms.

    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.

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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.