Like Your Data Access? ProData Gives A Reason To Like It Better
February 15, 2017 Dan Burger
It’s crunch time and the IBM i staff is feeling the pressure. It’s time to step up your information retrieval game. In your tool box is the DBU Database Utility. Is this the right tool for your job? It is if your goal is to access data without writing programs. DBU tracks changes (adds and deletes). It also tracks all the views of company data. And it can be accomplished via green-screen, RDi, or Web interfaces.
The Web interface for DBU Database Utility is called DBU Web. The software, designed and marketed by ProData Computer Services, was introduced in 2010, but last week, a re-engineered version was released.
The new DBU Web was spawned last fall when ProData delivered DBU RDi with its graphical interface for IBM i developers using Rational Developer for i. The ProData developers realized it would be a welcome upgrade to the 2010 version of DBU Web. And now it is.
The majority of ProData customers prefer the green-screen interface and feel more comfortable in that environment. However, IBM i modernization projects are introducing more developers to the Rational tools and it’s reasonable to believe DBU RDi and DBU Web will gain some traction because of this.
DBU Web allows editing, searching, and organizing data on IBM i as well as remotely stored data. With the latest release, it can be launched through Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox or other modern browsers.
It’s easy enough to get started with DBU Web. It can be downloaded from the ProData website and installed on the IBM i along with an additional component called DBU/Server, which can be run on IBM i or on a Microsoft Windows Server.
DBU/Server is packaged with the core DBU engine, which can be installed via an executable or PTF update. After installing or updating DBU, DBU/Server is started by executing the DBUSVRRST command. In an ideal scenario, the entire process from installation to utilization can be completed in a matter of minutes. Then to access DBU Web, users point a browser to the IP address or domain name of the machine running DBU/Server.
In the IBM i environment, the DBU/Server job runs under the default job queue on which the DBUSVRRST command is executed. This command starts DBU/Server, which handles all communication between the browser requests and DBU engine. In the Windows environment, DBU/Server is installed as a service on a network-connected Windows machine. This service is started automatically, but can be controlled manually as well. In either case, users point to the IP address or domain name of the machine running DBU/Server to access DBU Web.
The DBU Web interface offers the functionality and features associated with the traditional DBU green-screen environment. That includes the basic capability to edit field contents, add or delete records, and the display of specific file characteristics. More advanced features–including reactivation of deleted records, a facility to allow complex search functions, and options to export data–are also available.
There are two search methods: Classic Search and SQL Search. Both methods provide search capabilities similar to the green-screen version of DBU. Both methods allow the user to list and select the fields/columns within the file/table.
The Classic Search allows users to key search criteria of a field name (or positions in a field) to a value using operations such as Contains, Does Not Contain, Equal To, Not Equal To, Greater Than, Greater Than or Equal To, Not Greater Than, Less Than, Less Than or Equal To, or Not Less Than. The criteria can contain multiple fields joined with AND and OR operators. There are additional options for matching the case, include deleted records, and displaying a subset of records matching the search criteria as well as the number of records to search.
The SQL Search allows the records to be searched using the SQL WHERE clause syntax.
There are three options for exporting data: HTML, XML. or CSV files. The choice depends on whether users want to generate a web page of the data, or an XML file to send to a supplier, or a CSV to be used as the base of an Excel spreadsheet.
Prior to this release of DBU Web, remote database access was only available through the green-screen interface.
In terms of security, DBU relies on user-profiles and provides audit trails that monitor file modifications.
DBU Web requires a connection to an IBM i and user profile security on the IBM i is a requirement for defining that connection. User profile also allows system administrators to tailor access based on the needs of one group of users to update data in the files/tables and prevent another group of users from updating that data.
DBU Audit, an add-on product, provides even more detail on DBU mods.
Access from IBM i to remote data in MySQL, Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server is part of the deal. This allows access to any data on any server within the network from the IBM i. This feature can be combined with DBU Audit to track modifications or additions to any database for compliance regulation. The performance and functionality of DBU Web provides quick and easy access to all information about and contained within any of the databases selected.
DBU/Server is built on the Apache Tomcat Servlet, which gives users a robust foundation with a relatively small footprint, plus speedy startup and shutdown times. The advanced features available in DBU are not sold separately. DBU Web and DBU RDi are priced at $95 per seat on a yearlong subscription basis.