COMMON 2012 Recap

Report
David Mount
Owner, texAS400 Computer Consulting
www.texas400.com
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Normal presenter at MMSA is an expert on the subject matter
I was lucky winner of MMSA trip to Common Conference May 6-9,
2012 in Anaheim, CA at the Disneyland Resort
Cost of a conference is around $1,300
My first Common Conference
4 days of presentations
A dozen or so concurrent presentations
Some presentations in ballrooms, some in small classrooms
Vendor exhibition hall with all the usual suspects
Free lunch (cocktail party food) in exhibition hall as a way to see
vendors and mingle with attendees
Final evening included an outdoor Bar-B-Q with C&W band
Middle aged geeks everywhere
Note – about 35 slides in this presentation
Will try to demo the Wikis and SoapUI
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Spend 4 days with AS/400 users and experts
See presentations on topics near and dear to you
See presentations on topics that you have a casual
curiosity about (but no time to learn about)
Like going to 20 MMSA meetings in a row (but in a
good way)
For me, the worst presentation usually has a couple of
ideas that make it worth hearing
Most of these presentations have lots of really good
information
Get to see the movers and shakers of the AS/400
world
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In Grand Ballroom
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About 2 hours
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Common President, Pete Massiello
 Welcome presentation by Pete
 Pete is in NY area
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Slide presentation by IBM
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Presentation by Disney
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One hour business motivational speech
 Topic was “why Disney is successful”
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Mentioned Often
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php
Functions that use Java objects
Open source (php and Java)
IBM i
Mobile Apps
“Modernize” your system
Aaron Bartell and Scott Klement
Not mentioned
 EGL
 Cobol
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Scott Klement
Jon Paris and Susan Ganter (Partner400)
Richard J Schoen (RJS Software)
David Gibbs (Host of www.midrange.com)
Trevor Perry (Former president of MMSA)
Charles Guarino (Central Park Data Systems)
Bruce Vining (API expert and author)
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Paul Tuohy’s presentation to MMSA
 He referred to OPO rather than OOP
 Other People’s Objects vs Object Oriented
Programming
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I’ve spent 12 years avoiding Java
ILE gives up ability to call Java objects
Opens door to using Open Source code
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Poi.apache.com for Excel Spreadsheets
JDBC drivers to talk to databases
Jasper reports to mimic Crystal Reports
Ruby on Rails
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Accessing IFS from RPG
Consuming Web Services
Excel Spreadsheets
External Databases
RPG Does TCP/IP
RPG User Defined Functions
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How to use API’s to:
 Open IFS file
 Read IFS file
 Write to IFS file
 Get directory of IFS folder
 Check for object
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Most exciting concept at conference for me
 More on this later
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Free access to Scott’s HTTPAPI program
Use RPG to retrieve information using web services
 UPS Tracking Info program included
(requires free UPS user ID from UPS web site)
 At Klement Sausage, green screen login screen includes
the 5 day weather forecast
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SOAPUI overview
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Free tool for working with WSDL and SOAP
A “key to the kingdom” of Web Services
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Examples of how to create Excel
spreadsheets using RPG
Fairly long (40 slide) presentation on using
poi.apache.org
Not related to apache server
This topic also covered in Partner400 (Jon
Paris and Susan Ganter) presentation at
MMSA
Another example of using ILE to call Java
objects (OPO – other people’s objects)
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Database manufacturers make drivers for Java
 JDBC connection
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Oracle, MY SQL, Microsoft SQL
JDBCR4 – RPG wrapper to call JDBC
Includes instructions for installing the Java .jar
which has the JDBC drivers
39 slides including samples of how to use JDBCR4
to insert, select, update and delete records
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41 slides on how to use OS/400 API’s to create
socket connections
Read and Write to almost any device that can
make a socket connection
Scott uses it to program the display sign in
front of the Klement Sausage Factory
Presented by IBM’r Jesse Gorzinski
It’s free, no strings attached.
Fully supported by IBM Service.
–User forum on Web is monitored by IBM developers.
 Lets any Java app, anywhere on your LAN,
–Access and exploit your IBM i resources.
 Thoroughly documented on the Web.
 In use by IBM and customers since V4R2 (1998).
–Used under-the-covers in many other IBM products.
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Jasper Reports
 Open source, java equivalent to Crystal Reports
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“Modernize” your reports
 Green bar print outs as old fashioned as green screen
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PC Based IDE with graphic designer
A lot of work but very attractive reports
Various distribution options:
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PDF
HTML
Text
RTF (Rich Text Format)
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Another open source, java option
Ruby is an open source, object oriented
language
 Similar to Perl, Smalltalk, Python
Ruby on Rails (sometimes called Rails) is a web
application framework of Ruby
 Groupon and Hulu are Rails applications
 Tons of open source and templates
 About 1/3 as popular as php
 Good example of something I was interested in
but don’t have time to learn (yet)
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Bruce Vining – former IBM’r who wrote many
of the API’s
Author of API book
V7.1: @ 50 new, @ 80 changed
V6R1: @170 new, @ 250 changed
V5R4: @ 90 new, @ 170 changed
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V5R4
 Message Watch
 A little like reply list entries
 STRWCH, ENDWCH, WRKWCH
 Includes sample code for exit programs
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V6
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Call Job Interrupt Program (QWCJBITP)
 Allows you to run an exit program in the initial thread
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of another job
See what’s in the QTEMP library
Update objects such as a *DTAARA in QTEMP
Basically run whatever the current caller of the API is
authorized to
Can be very dangerous when in the wrong hands
woo-hoo!
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User Customized Options for WRKOUTQ,
WRKSPLF
 Lets you define options for WRKSPLF similar to
the way you add user options to PDM
 You could make option “EM” to email the spool
file
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Older but clever tips and techniques
Using prestart jobs to run monitor type jobs
 User cannot end job
 They can end it but it starts up again
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Use Database trigger to populate last date
and time changed
 Also mentioned a trick to write a message and
then read it as a way of determining program
that changes data
 See slide 28
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Includes short overview of journaling
Random WRKSPLF fun fact
 V5R4 adds filter to select by date range
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Update data area with each step of nightly
job
 If job abends, data area has last successful step
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Create QSYSMSG message queue
 Only serious messages get written to QSYSMSG
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Lots more clever tips
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Wiki comes from Hawaiian word for fast
Web pages that can be updated by users
Everyone knows what Wikipedia is
 Pages can be changed by users
 Audit trails are kept and changes can be reversed
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Wikipedia runs a php application “MediaWiki”
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Open source
Lots of forums
A bit complicated
Simple enough that I could do it
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Drew works for an Alaskan Railroad
 His company is not Sarbanes Oxley compliant
 He recognized that their company documentation was in
hard copy in a storage room
 Inaccessible and obsolete
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He replaced the company documentation with
MediaWiki
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Users enter and modify documentation constantly
Software allows users to upload documents and images
Written in php
Could run it on your AS/400, PC (WAMP or LAMP)
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More on MediaWiki
 It uses a markup language that it very simple
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= Heading 1 =
== Heading 2 ==
=== Heading 3 ===
Automatically builds clickable table of contents at top of page
[[ links to another wiki page ]]
[[http:// links to internet page ]]
Lots of other simple formatting rules
Also supports html
Go to www.texas400.com:82/wiki to see the one
running on my PC
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Wiki on a Stick
 Very small
 The idea is that you can keep all of your info on a
USB flash drive
 It is really just an updatable html document
 I used it for 3 days
 It self destructed – it cleared the document
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I am using ZimWiki
 It is really just a note taker
 Even simpler formatting rules
 Not intended as a group product
▪ It’s for me only
 I am creating a knowledge base so I can be replaced by a
machine
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Phone #’s
AS/400 tips
Copy and paste articles and source code
Projects I’m working on
Testing tips (use Invoice # 5564 to test)
Easy to search complete database
Working well for me to organize information especially when I an
interrupted
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My thought is that the AS/400 is capable of doing almost all
“modern” things but often requires bolt-on software
 Consume web services with Klement’s HTTPAPI
 Parse XML with XML-SAX
 Run php with free Zend software
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Things to consider:
 Php server with open source applications like MediaWiki, help desk
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software (Mantis400 or osTicket), or SugarCRM
Consume web services – I’ve added Scott Klements UPS Tracking
application to one of my clients system in 4 hours
Magento Web Services
Mobile Apps – I’ve written a demo mobile app for Order Entry
Web development – I’ve written a demo shopping cart application that
included learning why CSS is so cool
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Help start a movement to re-re-re-rename the i
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i sounds like an Apple product
Android OS is named ios
Can’t be googled
Hated by everyone I’ve ever met
Encourages people to believe that AS/400 is no longer produced
In fact, the AS/400 is no longer produced
AS/400 Version 7.1
 AS/400 Generation 2012
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Trevor Perry has URL www.i4everyone.com
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Maybe start a site www.bringbackas400.com
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Select some high profile reports and “modernize”
them
 For example
▪ Take daily sales report
▪ Rewrite as a pretty report (use AFPDS or Jasper or Excel)
▪ Convert it to pdf and email it to CFO every morning
▪ Or rewrite it to output to a static html file so CFO can view the
report online
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Use CGIDEV2 or php to rewrite a screen or two as a
browser page
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You do not need to convert everything, only a few
things
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Add things to your system that will make
upper management afraid to migrate away
 “you mean your PC system doesn’t even include
the 5 day forecast on the login screen?!?”
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As a Common attendee, I have a user ID to download presentations from the
conference I attended
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I could see topics from previous conferences but could not download them
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Many of the presentations are re-runs
I contacted Common to see if it was OK to share the downloads with MMSA
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They had never been asked about this
They said that they were merely providing access to the presentations and that I could do
whatever I liked with the material. Copyright issues were up to me.
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I took the view that almost all of the presenters would be flattered.
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I did not include Partner400 presentations since Jon and Susan make a living
out of their presentations.
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Go to www.texas400.com
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Click on last link on left side of home page labeled MMSA
Download about 78mb that includes 44 pdf’s

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