Profound Ships New Web-Based DB2/400 Editor
April 9, 2008 Alex Woodie
Profound Logic last week announced from COMMON the general availability of iData, its new Web-based database editor for DB2/400 that it first unveiled late last year. The company will sell three versions of the tool, including one version that’s free and other versions that allow users to accomplish more advanced tasks, including performing file joins–all from the comfort of Firefox or Internet Explorer.
It took a little longer than Profound originally expected to get the software out to market after it first unveiled iData back in late November 2007. At that time, the company was expecting to deliver the software by mid January. Instead, the tool stayed in beta tests, and Profound tweaked it enough to justify calling the new release iData version 2.0.
And what a Web 2.0 product iData is. Instead of using green-screen tools such as IBM‘s ancient Data File Utility (DFU) to access DB2/400 files, Profound developed iData using the latest AJAX techniques, thereby allowing users to scroll or search through DB2/400 entries using intuitive inputs, including standard mouse or keystrokes. iData’s other Web 2.0-style interface elements include drag-and-drop capabilities, movable tabs, animated charts, pop-up dialogs, and resizable grids.
In addition to enabling users to scroll through millions of records if they so choose (the software features new data-fetching techniques, for which Profound has a patent pending, that company officials say is very fast), users can perform a number of other actions including editing, filtering, sorting, updating, joining, graphing, and exporting the data.
However, not every version of iData contains these capabilities. Users of the iData Free Edition are restricted to browsing the database and making manual edits to individual records. Stepping up to iData Basic Edition allows users to search, sort, and export database records, as well as the capability to edit records from a spreadsheet-like grid interface. iData Professional Edition gives users all of the product’s features, including graphing and charting capabilities, support for running SQL, and the capability to perform mass updates, deletes, groups, and joins.
The Professional Edition is also the only version with the option to purchase more licenses. A Basic Edition license costs $995 for five named users, but users cannot purchase additional user licenses. A Professional Edition license costs $1,990 for 10 users, and customers can purchase additional licenses for $199 each.
Alex Roytman, president and CEO of Ohio-based Profound Logic, says the fact that iData doesn’t require any software to be installed on the desktop will appeal to systems administrators, who are hard-pressed to provide users with access to DB2/400 data and reports built on that data.
The use of AJAX in iData is critical to that achievement, he says. “We think this is the direction everyone is going,” he said during a press conference at the COMMON expo in Nashville, Tennessee, last week. “We’re pretty good at this stuff, because that’s what we’ve been doing for the last six years or so.” iData was developed using RPG Smart Pages (RPGsp), Profound’s flagship Web application development tool for i5/OS, OS/400, and i (as the midrange IBM operating system is now known).
Profound is giving users who download the Free Edition 30 days of access to the Professional Edition, which the company hopes will whet their appetite for the iData’s full functionality.
One of the big benefits of iData Professional Edition is that it allows administrators or programmers to create a report or a view of data, and then export it to their users, who then have fast, native access to updated relational data, straight out of the database. This style of ad hoc reporting is very beneficial to i5/OS, OS/400, and i customers, he says.
Future releases of iData will feature more business intelligence and charting capabilities, Roytman says.
iData also takes security into consideration. Instead of using ODBC connections, which can be difficult to track on AS/400, iSeries, i5, System i, and i-based Power servers, Profound respects native i5/OS, OS/400, and i security. The Basic Edition adds support for application-level security, while Professional Edition adds object-level security.
For a complete list of features and prices, see www.profoundlogic.com/idataprice.rpgsp.
This article has been corrected. iData was developed using RPG Smart Pages (RPGsp), not RPG Server Pages. IT Jungle regrets the error.