A Better Way to View IBM i Journal Contents?
December 9, 2014 Alex Woodie
IBM provides a fairly suitable command, DSPJRN, for retrieving journal information. It tells you why the data in a file changed, which program changed, and what user was responsible. The only thing it doesn’t do well is show you actual contents of the file. That’s where a new command from iData Development Limited comes in.
You can get to the journal data in DSPJRN, but only if you’re good at doing backflips, according to Mark Golden, the principle at iData, which is based in the UK. “You could display it on the screen and, by using various function keys from within DSPJRN, you can see the data,” Golden tells IT Jungle. “However, you still have to work out data positions, read hex data, and other things to see what you want.”
Golden thinks he has come up with a better solution with his new RTVJRN command. The command builds on top of DSPJRN to display the contents of the journal in, as Golden calls it, “a nice readable format.”
The command starts with the DSPJRN command and uses various programs and SQL scripts to extract the file data and match it up with its journal data, thereby enabling users to see the journal data and the database file in the same record. The command also allows users to restore data.
The RTVJRN command will be handy for troubleshooting and fixing stuff that goes wrong in IBM i apps. For example, consider a program that suddenly stops after working fine for years. You, the programmer, aren’t aware of any changes that have been made, but it stopped working nonetheless. You could dive into using IBM’s DSPJRN command and hope that the data suitably lines up so you can diagnose what went wrong. Or you can use RTVJRN to see the contents of the journal without all the gymnastics.
Golden hopes to make the software available for download from his website at www.iexlsoftware.com soon, but for now interested parties can retrieve the command by sending an email to Golden at firstname.lastname@example.org. The command will be free to try, and licenses will be available for $100.