Linoma Boosts Surveyor/400’s SQL Functionality
October 9, 2007 Alex Woodie
With SQL making such deep inroads into the System i platform as a data access language, programmers can use every little bit of help to make writing and managing SQL easier. To that end, Linoma Software recently introduced a new version of its multi-function Surveyor/400 database utility that provides users with more powerful SQL-generating capabilities, including new wizards that automate SQL actions, such as joins, new color-coding to make SQL easier to read, and new security functions.
Surveyor/400 is a versatile, Java-based, client-server program that enables users to accomplish a range of tasks on the iSeries server, such as viewing and editing DB2/400 files, accessing the IFS, writing and running SQL statements, creating stored procedures, converting spool files to PDF and Excel, and accessing applications via TN5250. The product offers so many features–over 20 of them, according to Linoma–that the company likens Surveyor/400 to a Swiss army knife.
With Surveyor/400 version 3.4, Linoma has added several new SQL-related functions, including syntax coloring of SQL statements; enhancements to the SQL-generating wizards, specifically around joins; more predesigned SQL templates that feature with color-coding, and new audit logging of executed SQL statements, which will boost the security of SQL-based reports and applications. Non-SQL related enhancements include new testing and execution enhancements to the stored procedure tool; the capability to view detailed properties on database triggers; and support for running the tool as a plug-in to IBM WDSc 7.0.
One happy user of the new release is Bill Barnes, a programmer with The Pantry, a $6 billion, publicly traded company that includes a chain of nearly 1,500 convenience stores, restaurants, and gas stations in 11 Southeastern United States.
Barnes particularly likes the new syntax coloring feature in version 3.4, which he says makes it easier to read his hand-written SQL. He also appreciates some of the new error-reporting features added to the product.
One of the strengths of Surveyor/400 is its error reporting, according to Barnes. Compared to other products, like IBM’s Client Access suite of tools and other third-party DB2/400 tools, Surveyor/400’s simple and intuitive interface makes it easier to track down problems.
“Surveyor is a lot more forgiving. It doesn’t just blow up if it hits a bad data element,” he says. “It gives you a log, and says ‘Here are the records that didn’t go and here are the reasons why’ rather than just blowing up. Client Access would never tell you where it blew up. It would just blow up, and then you have to start figuring out where.”
Barnes also uses Surveyor/400 for standard housecleaning tasks, such as identifying old files, and purging them to tape or deleting them to free up DASD. The tool is also used as a SQL editor for writing the data access components of The Pantry’s homegrown RPG applications, for displaying and converting spool files, and for generating reports for the accounting department and the state of North Carolina’s tax collectors.
The other day, Barnes even discovered a new way Surveyor/400 is being used at The Pantry. One of his users was running a report with the product, and then using it to export the report to a spreadsheet. “I didn’t even know you could do that in Surveyor,” he says. “I just never paid much attention to it. I just print the report, look at it, and be done with it. But you can actually send it to the spreadsheet.”
Surveyor/400 version 3.4 is available now. The product’s server component requires OS/400 V5R1 or higher, while the product’s client component runs on Windows, Mac OS X, or Linux. The software is priced according to tier, and starts at $995 per server. For more information or trial downloads, visit www.linomasoftware.com.
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