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A Fast Path to XML Integration with DB2 for iSeries

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XML represents a fundamental change in computing. It allows applications to move away from proprietary file and data formats to a world of open data interchange. XML has become ubiquitous not only because of its range of applications, but also because of its ease of use. Its text-based nature makes creating tools easy, and since it is an open, license-free, cross-platform standard, anyone can create, develop, and use tools for XML. In short, XML means portable data.

Although XML solves many problems by providing a standard format for data interchange, some challenges remain. In the real world, applications need reliable services to store, retrieve, and manipulate data. These services were traditionally offered by relational databases. The relational database technology has matured over the last 30 years, and it is well-known for its impressive SQL query performance, unequaled reliability and scalability, strong management and security, and legendary concurrency through locking and caching. So it would seem to be natural to use relational databases to persist and manipulate XML documents. Well, the problem is that relational and hierarchical representations of data are very different. In the relational model, the data is stored in rows of two-dimensional tables where the physical order of rows is insignificant. XML, on the other hand, is a highly hierarchical model where the order of elements is significant, and the relationship among elements is described in a given document. Using a relational model to express a hierarchy of elements in a complex XML document is a non-trivial task. Therefore, some software vendors decided to implement pure XML databases designed to efficiently handle the hierarchical model. Unfortunately, the native XML databases don't provide maturity, scalability, and concurrency of the relational databases yet. Another approach adopted by other software vendors is to programmatically process the XML documents and map their hierarchy into a relational database. Typically, these solutions leverage one of the standard APIs to manipulate XML, such as Simple API for XML (SAX) or Document Object Model (DOM). The JDBC is then used to write the extracted data into the database. Although the programmatic approach works fine in many cases, it also has serious limitations. It requires custom development for each XML schema, meaning that the structure of a given XML document type is hard-coded. So the code maintenance cost is usually very high. Every time the structure (schema) of an XML document changes, the respective code needs to be changed accordingly.

I believe that a much more productive approach is to use database middleware to handle the XML parsing and XML-to-relational mapping. Most database vendors provide this kind of functionality. DB2 UDB for iSeries, for example, provides DB2 XML Extender. DB2 XML Extender offers several advantages over the programmatic approach. It allows your development team to focus on business logic implementation rather than on mastering low-level APIs such as SAX or DOM. In addition, the XML-to-relational mapping is greatly simplified by a visual mapping utility provided in IBM's WebSphere Studio Application Developer (WSAD), Rational Application Development (RAD), and WebSphere Development Studio Client (WDSc) Integrated Development Environment (IDE).

In this article, I will demonstrate how to take advantage of the XML Extender and WSAD tooling to dramatically speed up the process of building robust XML-based applications. I'll also share best practices and techniques aimed at streamlining the XML-DB2 integration.

Note: I'm assuming that you are already familiar with basic XML-related concepts such as Data Type Definition (DTD), XML Schema (XSD), and location path. If not, you may check out the online W3 Schools tutorials web site. In this article, I focus only on the functionality specific to XML Extender.

DB2 XML Extender Basics

The DB2 XML Extender for iSeries, which consists of several components, is not a part of the DB2 UDB for iSeries runtime. It is shipped as a separate license program (5722-DE1) and needs to be ordered from IBM as a chargeable feature.

DB2 UDB stores and retrieves XML data and also generates helper side tables that can greatly improve the performance of the XML retrieval process. The extender, which mediates between DB2 UDB and the application requester, is functional and flexible whether you have relational data that needs to be transformed into XML or XML data to store in DB2 UDB tables. It contains a rich set of user-defined types (UDTs), user-defined functions (UDFs), and stored procedures to manage XML data. XML documents can be stored in DB2 UDB databases as character data. These concepts are illustrated in Figure 1.

http://www.mcpressonline.com/articles/images/2002/FastPathtoXMLIntegrationwithDB2UDBforiSeriesV3--11210500.png

Figure 1: The DB2 XML Extender allows you to transform relational data into XML or store XML data in DB2 UDB tables. (Click images to enlarge.)

The DB2 XML Extender provides you with the ability to use DB2 UDB to store, manage, query, and update XML data. Two basic techniques are used:

  • XML column method
  • XML collection method

With the XML column method, you can use DB2 UDB tables to store XML documents in columns that have been enabled for XML, or you can store them as external files. The XML data can then be retrieved, updated, and searched. Furthermore, you can extract XML element or attribute values into secondary tables, called side tables, which, when indexed, provide fast XML element and attribute search capabilities. Columns that have been enabled for XML are known as XML columns and can be implemented as one of the three user-defined types provided with the XML Extender:

  • XMLVARCHAR
  • XMLCLOB
  • XMLFILE

The XML collection method allows you to compose XML documents from existing DB2 UDB data or decompose (shred) XML documents into DB2 UDB data--that is, store untagged element or attribute values in DB2 UDB tables.

One of the cornerstones of the extender's architecture is the Data Access Definition (DAD) document. The DAD specifies how to map the hierarchical structure of XML documents to the actual relational structure in the database. For example, if you have an element called in your XML document, you might map this element to a column called EFFECTIVE_DATE in the GLOBALSALES table.

The XML Extender provides two types of mapping schemes: SQL mapping and Relational Database (RDB_node) mapping. Both methods use the XPath model to define the hierarchy of the XML document. My experience shows that, for most applications, the RDB_node mapping provides much richer functionality and better flexibility than the SQL mapping. In the RDB_node mapping, the relationship between XML elements and relational database columns is expressed by employing element_node (or attribute_node) to RDB_node associations.

Let's explore these concepts by examining the following excerpt from a DAD document:



NO
[1]
?xml version="1.0"?
!DOCTYPE GlobalSales PUBLIC "GlobalSales_tId" "GlobalSales_t.dtd"

[2]


[3]

GLBLSALES.GLOBALSALES.GLOBALSALESUID = [4]
GLBLSALES.COUNTRY.GLOBALSALESUID


[5]





[6]














...





In the DAD source listed above, [1] indicates that the XML Collection method is used. The top element_node at [2] represents the root element of the XML document. The RDB_node associated with the root element is used to specify all tables that are associated with the XML document. At [3], I list two tables necessary for mapping. In the condition tag at [4], I provide the join condition for the two tables. At [5], I use an attribute_node to associate an XML attribute with an RDB_node . This time, the RDB_node defines the column name, its data type, and the target table name. Note that the nesting of the attribute_node within the root_node reflects the hierarchy of the XML document. At [6], I use an element_node to associate the content of the element represented by a text_node with an RDB_node. The RDB_node defines the target column in the database table. Again, the nesting of the element_node within the root elements represents the hierarchy in the XML document.

XML Shred Walkthrough

Armed with the basic understanding of the DB2 XML Extender functionality, we can now analyze the shredding methodology that I have successfully implemented for several large projects. As mentioned, the purpose of shredding is to store untagged elements or attributes in DB2 UDB tables. The proposed end-to-end development and deployment process is illustrated in Figure 2.

http://www.mcpressonline.com/articles/images/2002/FastPathtoXMLIntegrationwithDB2UDBforiSeriesV3--11210501.png

Figure 2: Shredding stores untagged elements or attributes in DB2 UDB tables.

In the above figure, steps 1through 5 are performed in WSDC. Once the necessary application files are generated, the solution is deployed to the target iSeries server, where the application files are used as input to the XML Extender shred procedures. The development and deployment steps are described in the following sections.

Analyze the XML Document's Structure and Figure Out the Mapping

I use a sample XML document called GlobalSales.xml as an input to the shredding process (source code contained in the Download Image. The document contains global sales data for various brands distributed in the retail stores throughout the world. First, the XML document is imported into a folder in a newly created Java project in WSAD. I use a Java project because the solution contains a simple Java program that needs to be compiled and tested. After you switch to the XML perspective, you can use the Outline view to analyze the hierarchy of the sample document. This is shown in Figure 3.


http://www.mcpressonline.com/articles/images/2002/FastPathtoXMLIntegrationwithDB2UDBforiSeriesV3--11210502.png

Figure 3: From the XML perspective, you can see the hierarchy of GlobalSales.xml.

Before you start the XML-to-RDB mapping process, you need to understand some fundamental concepts of XML technology:

  • Containment--Some elements are fully contained in other elements. For example, in Figure 3, a Store element is contained in the StoreChain element that, in turn, is contained in RetailSales.
  • Repeating Elements--Some elements may repeat within one parent element. For example, a StoreSales element can contain one or many occurrences of the Brand element. So there is a one-to-many relationship between StoreSales and Brand.
  • Optional Elements--Some elements are optional. For example, a Returns element may occur zero times or one time within a Brand element. Optional elements are mapped to nullable columns in the database tables.
  • Wrapper elements--These elements have no child attributes or text nodes. However, they contain children elements that have attributes or text nodes. For example, CountrySummary is a wrapper element. It has no attributes or text nodes. It is used to logically separate sales data from other elements.

In the proposed methodology, I assume that the target tables do not exist and that they need to be designed as part of the mapping process. In other words, during the mapping, I decide what tables and columns are needed to accommodate the data found in the XML document. Each text node or attribute of an element is mapped into a column in a table. Note that an element and all its children that cannot repeat can be mapped into columns of the same table. This is so because different columns in one row of a table correctly represent the one-to-one relationship between parent and child for those elements that cannot repeat. For example, each occurrence of a Store element can have just one occurrence of StoreInfo element, thus all data from Store and StoreInfo can be stored in one row. On the other hand, a child element that can repeat must be mapped to
a separate table. In this case, there is a one-to-many relationship between a parent and its children. The only way to reflect this relationship in a relational database is to store the parent element in a parent table and store the children elements in multiple rows of a dependent table. For example, a StoreChain element contains multiple Store elements, so the data for a particular occurrence of StoreChain can be stored in one row of a StoreChain table while children of this StoreChain element are stored in multiple rows of the Store table. This is illustrated in Figure 4.

http://www.mcpressonline.com/articles/images/2002/FastPathtoXMLIntegrationwithDB2UDBforiSeriesV3--11210503.png

Figure 4: This is an example of a parent element and children elements that repeat.

I'll now employ the concepts I've explained so far to map out the GlobalSales.xml document. The Data Type Definition (DTD) for the sample XML document allows you to easily follow the XML hierarchy and find all elements that occur once, occur multiple times, or are optional. Here's the source of GlobalSales.dtd:



<!ELEMENT GlobalSales
(EffectiveDate,CountrySummary)>
<!ELEMENT EffectiveDate
(#PCDATA)>
<!ELEMENT CountrySummary
(Country+)>
<!ELEMENT Country
(CountryInfo,CountrySales)>
<!ELEMENT CountryInfo
(Name)>
<!ELEMENT CountrySales
(RetailSales)>
<!ELEMENT RetailSales
(StoreChain+)>
<!ELEMENT StoreChain
(StoreChainInfo,Store+)>
<!ELEMENT StoreChainInfo
(Name)>
<!ELEMENT Store
(StoreInfo,StoreSales)>
<!ELEMENT StoreInfo
(Name,Address)>
<!ELEMENT Address
(Street,City,PostalCode)>
<!ELEMENT Street
(#PCDATA)>
<!ELEMENT City
(#PCDATA)>
<!ELEMENT PostalCode
(#PCDATA)>
<!ELEMENT StoreSales
(Brand+)>
<!ELEMENT Brand
(Name,Sales?,Returns?)>
<!ELEMENT Sales
(Currency,Amount)>
<!ELEMENT Returns
(Currency,Amount)>
<!ELEMENT Currency
(#PCDATA)>
<!ELEMENT Amount
(#PCDATA)>
<!ELEMENT Name
(#PCDATA)>

The analysis starts at the root element, GlobalSales in this case. It has two children: EffectiveDate and CountrySummary. Both can occur only once. So I can map data from all three elements to a single table. For simplicity, let's call this table GlobalSales. Note also that GlobalSales and CountrySummary (a wrapper) contain no attributes or text nodes. Only EffectiveDate contains a text node. The CountrySummary, in turn, contains Country, which, as indicated by the plus sign (+) next to it, can occur one or more times. So Country needs to be mapped to a separate table. This leaves me with just one column in the GlobalSales table, namely EffectiveDate. Similarly, Country contains CountryInfo and CountrySales (a wrapper). The text node of element CountryInfo/Name cannot repeat, thus it is mapped into the Name column in the Country table. The process is continued recursively until all elements are mapped.

Three more elements can repeat: StoreChain, Store, and Brand (check out the + signs in the DTD). As a result, the mapping requires five tables: GlobalSales, Country, StoreChain, Store, and Brand. The following figure shows the layout of the target tables and their relationships. Sample data is provided to better illustrate the one-to-one and one-to-many relationships between rows.

http://www.mcpressonline.com/articles/images/2002/FastPathtoXMLIntegrationwithDB2UDBforiSeriesV3--11210504.png

Figure 5: The layout of the example target tables looks like this.
In the above figure, the arrows indicate the hierarchy of the elements in the sample XML document mapped into a set of tables. For example, a Store named ABC Hardware Winona contains two Brand elements (Bosch and DeWalt). In other words, the arrows are needed to correctly reflect the containment and repeating elements.

Our discussion has reached the most critical aspect of hierarchical-to-relational mapping: How do we preserve the relationships represented by the arrows in Figure 5 in a relational database model? Referential integrity (RI) is probably the most natural choice, and, in fact, it is the cornerstone of the proposed methodology. In order to tie the related rows with the unique key/foreign key constraints, I need to insert unique key values into the designated elements. The key value uniquely identifies the given instance of an element, and at the shredding time, the extender will propagate the key value as a foreign key to the children elements that can repeat. That way, the children will be tied back to the parent element. The process of selecting the designated elements is pretty straightforward: I need to add a unique key to the GlobalSales element and then to all elements that can repeat--Country, StoreChain, Store, and Brand.

Use XSLTransform to Insert Unique Keys

The mapping process determined which elements need to contain the unique keys. I decided to use the XSL Transformation to insert the necessary values into the inbound sample XML document. I use the javax.xml.transform.Transformer class to apply the following simple XSL style sheet (see download for source code of the Java GlobalSalesTransform program):



xmlns:xalan="http://xml.apache.org/xslt">








[1]


[2]






At [1], the elements that need to contain a unique key are selected. At [2], a unique key is generated. The input parameter guuid is concatenated with the return value of the XSL generate-id() function to produce a unique value. For simplicity, I use the current timestamp as the input parameter. This guarantees the key uniqueness on consecutive invocations of the transformer. The newly generated unique key value is inserted as an attribute called Uid. All other nodes in the inbound document are just copied to the transformed XML document.

Here's an excerpt from the transformed GlobalSales_t.xml document:




2004-10-07



USA

...

Note the presence of the inserted attributes for the GlobalSales and Country elements.

Modify DTD or XSD

The original DTD needs to be modified to reflect the structure of the transformed XML document. The necessary change boils down to adding a new attribute called Uid to the designated elements. The DTD for the transformed XML document is used in step 5. Additionally, the DTD may be required if you decide to validate the inbound documents before shredding them into the database.

Once the DTD has been updated, I can use the WSAD's Generate XML Schema wizard to generate a corresponding XSD from the modified DTD. To do so, I right-click the GlobalSales_t.dtd in the Navigator window and select Generate -> XML Schema. The process outlined in this step is illustrated in Figure 6.
http://www.mcpressonline.com/articles/images/2002/FastPathtoXMLIntegrationwithDB2UDBforiSeriesV3--11210505.png

Figure 6: Use this process to modify DTD.

The XSD, in turn, serves as input to the Generate DDL wizard that is used in step 4.
Alternately, an existing XSD may have to be modified to reflect the structure of the transformed XML. XSD is better than DTD, because it more precisely reflects the data types for elements and attributes.

Create Target Tables

In step 1, I defined the layout of the target tables. Now it is time to create a DDL script that can be run on the database server to actually create the necessary tables. Once again, WSAD provides a handy wizard that can facilitate the process. I use the Generate DDL wizard to produce a "draft" DDL script from the modified XML schema (GlobalSales_t.xsd). To do so, I right-click the GlobalSales_t.dtd in the Navigator window and select Generate -> DDL. As indicated, the wizard provides only a rough guess as to what tables are needed to accommodate data contained in an XML document described by a given XSD. Despite the wizard's imperfection, I still prefer to use it rather than type the entire DDL script from scratch.

Typically, in the generated script, I need to remove unnecessary and redundant table and column definitions. Then I add to all tables the unique key constraints to accommodate the inserted Uid attributes. Next, starting from the GlobalSales and Country tables, I recursively express the one-to-many relationship between rows in two tables by specifying a foreign key in the dependent table. This is done by adding a new column to the dependent table with the same attributes as the unique key column in the parent table and defining it as a foreign key. This definition ties the two tables together.

Here's an excerpt from the modified SalesGlobal.sql script:


CREATE SCHEMA GLBLSALES;
SET SCHEMA GLBLSALES;
CREATE TABLE GlobalSales (
GlobalSalesUid CHAR(30)NOT NULL, <---------
EffectiveDate VARCHAR (80), |
PRIMARY KEY (GlobalSalesUid) |
); |
CREATE TABLE Country ( |
CountryUid CHAR(30) NOT NULL, |
GlobalSalesUid CHAR(30)NOT NULL, <-----------
Name VARCHAR (80),
PRIMARY KEY (CountryUid),
FOREIGN KEY (GlobalSalesUid) REFERENCES GlobalSales (GlobalSalesUid)
ON DELETE CASCADE ON UPDATE RESTRICT
);


In the above example, the GlobalSalesUid column in Country is a foreign key referencing the same-named column on the parent table. Note also that, in the foreign key definition, I specified the ON DELETE CASCADE rule. This will allow me, if needed, to remove all shredded data for a given XML document by deleting just one row in the GlobalSales table. DB2 will automatically remove all other related rows.

Note: Currently, the XML Extender does not provide the functionality to update the data once the document has been shredded. To perform the update, you could delete the data from the target tables and then shred again using the modified XML document.

Once the DDL script is cleaned up, I create the target tables by right-clicking on GlobalSales.sql in the WSAD's Navigator and selecting Run on the database server.

Build the DAD

WSAD provides a wizard that allows you to create RDB-to-XML mappings using graphical drag-and-drop editing. To invoke the wizard, I switch to the XML perspective and then select File -> New -> RDB-to-XML mapping. The wizard uses the target database meta data previously imported into the project (see the download materials for details) and GlobalSales_t.dtd as input. The mapping editor allows me to drag a column from a target table and drop it on an element or attribute in the XML structure. That way, I provide the information about the required mapping. The mapping editor session is shown in Figure 7.

http://www.mcpressonline.com/articles/images/2002/FastPathtoXMLIntegrationwithDB2UDBforiSeriesV3--11210506.png

Figure 7: The RDB-to-XML mapping editor offers drag-and-drop functionality.
In the above figure, the upper left panel contains the list of target tables and their columns. The upper right panel contains the expanded structure of the XML document. The lower panel shows what mapping has been already defined.

In addition to column-to-element/attribute mapping, I also need to specify the join condition for the target tables. I use the unique key/foreign key pairs for that purpose. Here's the join condition needed for the target tables:


GLOBALSALES.GLOBALSALESUID = COUNTRY.GLOBALSALESUID
AND COUNTRY.COUNTRYUID = STORECHAIN.COUNTRYUID
AND STORECHAIN.STORECHAINUID = STORE.STORECHAINUID
AND STORE.STOREUID = BRAND.STOREUID

Once the mapping and the join condition are provided, I can generate the DAD by selecting Mapping -> Generate DAD in WSAD. Next, I verify that in the generated DAD file the multi-occurrence attributes are present for elements that repeat. Also, decomposing a wrapper element into one row requires a multi-occurrence attribute.

The WSAD's Generate DAD function automatically provides the necessary multi-occurrence attributes for repeating elements but not for the wrappers. Hence, you might need to manually modify the DAD. Check the Multi-occurrence requirements for wrapper elements technote for more info on that subject.

This concludes the development phase of the proposed methodology.

Deploy the Solution on the iSeries

I'm assuming that the XML Extender is already installed and enabled on the target iSeries server. To deploy the application, I need to copy the following files to the iSeries IFS: GlobalSales.xml, GlobalSales.xsl, GlobalSales_t.dad, GlobalSales_t.dtd, GlobalSales_t.xsd, and GlobalSalesTransform.java. Note that DTD and XSD files are needed only if the validation is required. I use the Export function in WSAD to copy all the files into an IFS directory called /dxx/Demo. To compile the Java source, JDK 1.4 or higher is required. You can check the default JDK version on your system by running the following command from the Qshell prompt:

java ?version


The default Java version on V5R2 systems is 1.3.1; therefore, you need to change it to 1.4. To do so, create a stream file called SystemDefault.properties in your home directory--for example, /home/jarek. Add the following line to the properties file:

java.version=1.4

From now on, JDK 1.4 will be used for your user profile. Of course, this assumes that 57722-JV1 Option 6 is installed on your iSeries. The following command is used to compile GlobalSalesTransform.java:

cd /dxx/Demo
javac GlobalSalesTransform.java

Additionally, I create an SQL stored procedure called ShredXMLWrapper in the target DB2 schema (GLBLSALES). The source of the stored procedure is listed below:


CREATE PROCEDURE GLBLSALES.SHREDXMLWRAPPER ( IN DAD_FILE VARCHAR(512),
IN XML_FILE VARCHAR(512),
OUT ERRCODE INTEGER,
OUT ERRMSG VARCHAR(1024) )
RESULT SETS 0
LANGUAGE SQL
SPECIFIC GLBLSALES.SHREDXMLWRAPPER
P1 : BEGIN
DECLARE DAD_BUF CLOB ( 102400 ) ;
DECLARE XMLOBJ CLOB ( 1048576 ) ;

SELECT DB2XML.XMLCLOBFROMFILE(DAD_FILE) INTO DAD_BUF FROM SYSIBM.SYSDUMMY1; [1]
SELECT DB2XML.XMLCLOBFROMFILE(XML_FILE) INTO XMLOBJ FROM SYSIBM.SYSDUMMY1; [2]
CALL DB2XML.DXXSHREDXML( DAD_BUF , XMLOBJ , ERRCODE , ERRMSG ) ; [3]
IF ERRCODE < 0 THEN
SET ERRMSG = 'ErrCode=' || TRIM ( CHAR ( ERRCODE ) ) || ' - ' || ERRMSG ;
SIGNAL SQLSTATE '70001' SET MESSAGE_TEXT = ERRMSG ;
END IF ;
END P1

At [1], the DAD file is read into a Clob variable. At [2], the XML file to be shredded is read into another Clob variable. At [3], the XML Extender stored procedure is called to perform the shredding. So the purpose of the wrapper is to read the DAD and XML from a file system and pass them to the XML Extender as Clobs.

Run the Application

Once the application is deployed, just a few easy steps are required to shred any number of XML documents that comply with GlobalSales.dtd grammar. For example, I use the iSeries Navigator Run SQL Scripts utility to execute the following commands:


set path=glblsales;
CL: cd '/dxx/Demo';
CL: RUNJVA CLASS(GlobalSalesTransform) PARM('/dxx/Demo/GlobalSales.xml'
'/dxx/Demo/GlobalSales.xsl' '/dxx/Demo/GlobalSales_t.xml'
'2005-09-29-11:48:00');

CALL SHREDXMLWRAPPER('/dxx/Demo/GlobalSales_t.dad',
'/dxx/Demo/GlobalSales_t.xml',0,'');
commit;

If everything works fine, the stored procedure returns the following message:


Output Parameter #3 = 0
Output Parameter #4 = DXXQ025I XML decomposed successfully.

The data from the GlobalSales.xml is now stored in DB2!

Software Prerequisites

For maximum database server stability, you should install the latest database group PTF (SF99502 for V5R2 or SF99503 for V5R3) on the iSeries server. In addition, the following table lists the PTFs required for the recently implemented DB2 XML Extender enhancements and improvements:

PTFs Required for the DB2 XML Extender Enhancements
OS/400 V5R2
i5/OS V5R3
SI17088, SI14558
SI17118

Go Forth

I hope that this article will help you select the XML-to-RDB strategy that is the most efficient in your computing environment. I believe that XML Extender can be used in many situations to simplify and speed up the implementation process. It's also important to know that the XML Extender development lab intends to provide function and performance improvements in future releases of the product.

Additional Material


Download the source code that accompanies this article: Download Image

The following publications can be helpful to those who want to learn more about the DB2 XML Extender:

  • Simplified XML applications, DB2 Developer Domain white paper
  • XML Extender Administration and Programming, SC27-1234-00
  • XML for DB2 Information Integration, ITSO Redbook, SG24-6994

Jarek Miszczyk is the Senior Software Engineer, PartnerWorld for Developers, IBM Rochester. He can be reached by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Jarek Miszczyk

Jarek Miszczyk is a Lead Technical Consultant for System x Virtualization and Cloud Computing at the IBM STG Global ISV Enablement organization. He is located in Rochester, Minnesota. He can be reached by email at jarek@us.ibm.com.

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  • 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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    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.