WOW Makes a Good Database Story
April 13, 2016 Dan Burger
Those who do more with less get rewarded. Sometimes the incentive is a raise or a bonus. Sometimes it’s just being able to keep your job. Either way, you could be surprised what can be accomplished in terms of business intelligence, graphical presentations, and modernization with a relatively unknown product called WOW, which is the name of the Web application development tool from PlanetJ.
WOW, an abbreviation for Web Object Wizard, was designed to extract data in real time from relational databases, including DB2 for i and all the other enterprise databases of note, while generating the kinds of charts and dashboards that boost end user productivity and satisfaction. It runs native on IBM i, or Microsoft Windows or Linux thanks to its Java-based framework.
The wizard in WOW allows queries to be customized a variety of dashboard templates that simplify data interpretation through the use of filters capable of dynamically sorting database fields. Practically no coding is involved. The end result is a browser-based application with an HTML interface with the capability to update real time DB2 data, including insertion, deletion, and copying records. It can also create a URL REST-based Web Service with XML and JSON data formats.
Basic SQL skills will yield applications in just minutes, according to PlanetJ CTO Paul Holm, who demonstrates the product capabilities in this YouTube video, which runs for 9 minutes. Holm says traditional IBM i development methods would require days or even weeks to accomplish the same level of functionality.
New to WOW as of the 7.4 release (which was just released) are real-time metrics on the dashboards, clustering support that allows the synchronization of multiple WOW servers, the capability to upload images and associate them with database records, and the incorporation of QR code functionality.
The second option is a bi-directional polling, a capability that updates only when there is something new to update. In this case, the server recognizes when a refresh is needed. The second option uses WebSocket technology that allows the server to push events to the client. Any time a database table or file is updated, it recognizes whether any screens are monitoring updates and, if so, it will tell the client to update.
Clustering and QR Codes
WOW clustering is done behind the scenes. Large enterprises with multiple server environments are interested in load balancing. WOW clustering enables changes that are made to one database server to be synchronized with other database servers, which allows horizontal scaling for 24×7 scenarios.
Scanning QR codes as a shortcut to doing database lookups continues to be popular in many business applications. One example, from a PlanetJ customer, involves a large construction firm with employees operating equipment that requires training certifications. Each employee wears a badge with a QR code that can be scanned by inspectors to verify that the employees possess the proper certifications. WOW has the capability to embed a URL in a QR code that leads to an application containing the details of the operator and the training he or she has relative the equipment being operated.
WOW is available in three flavors. The Community Edition is free. It includes the functionality to access any relational database in real time and allows users to create web applications, but those apps can only be used internally. The new QR code feature is also available. To have the capability to put applications on Internet requires the Professional Edition. The Enterprise Edition is where all the latest features and functionality reside, including the automatic updates, inserts, deletes, and enhanced security features.