New Release Of ACS Now Available
December 9, 2020 Alex Woodie
IBM delivered a new release of Access Client Solutions (ACS) last week, right on schedule. With ACS version 18.104.22.168, users will find a host of new features designed to accelerate their productivity across a range of uses.
ACS is the Java-based utility that has become one of the most used (and useful) ways that administrators, programmers, and engineers can interact with the IBM i server. The software, which is free to IBM i customers on maintenance, features a 5250 emulator, 5250 printer emulation, data transfer capabilities, IFS file viewing, spool file management, and a virtual console for LAN and HMC management. Run SQL Scripts is a component of ACS, as is an Open Source Package Management, which enables users to access open source programs distributed via RPM.
IBM originally announced ACS 22.214.171.124 as part of its fall 2020 Technology Refresh for IBM i on October 6, which included IBM i 7.3 TR9 and IBM i 7.4 TR3. On December 1, the company delivered the new release by making it available for download at ibm.biz/IBMi_ACS.
The new release brings enhancements to Content Assist, a nifty function in the Run SQL Scripts component of ACS that gives users prompts when writing (or editing) SQL commands. Users can use Content Assist to pull up common SQL commands, displays additional information about a database object, and other features.
With this release, users can pull up content assist by pressing the CTRL and space bar at the same time. Steve Will, the chief architect for IBM i at IBM, says this will be a much-appreciated feature among users.
“If you’re a longtime IBM i user, you might think of this as the GUI version of F4 for commands,” Will said earlier this year. “It’s so much more powerful than that though, because it looks at all the different options that you could have for the SQL that you’re building . . . It helps you to converge and get preferences that you can carry over from one script to another so you don’t have to set them each time you’re doing it.”
IBM has also extended Content Assist coverage for additional SQL statement and for more SQL syntax. “The team has gone crazy with updates to the Content Assist support,” said Tim Rowe, IBM’s architect for application development and systems management, said in a recent webinar. “There are more and more options that have been added to allow you to build simplistic as well as fairly complex SQL just by prompting.”
Also getting some attention is Run SQL Scripts, which is an ACS features that lets users execute all sorts of SQL scripts for a variety of functions. With this release, IBM has converged and enhanced the preferences dialog. It also delivered new usability and performance enhancements, and added the capability to automatically close incompletely consumed queries.
Browsing the IFS will be a much-improved experience with ACS 126.96.36.199. IBM says its can return thousands of IFS objects in “mere seconds,” a feature it has taken to calling “freaky fast IFS.”
According to Will, this one feature alone will boost both the IFS and ACS. “With some of the advancements that we made in the prior Technology Refresh to allow you to subset which part of IFS you want to look at — these two things combined can make using IFS and ACS as fast as you can imagine, really,” he said.
This release also brings multi-file upload in ACS, which will give users more power to move multiple files at once. This had been on many clients wish lists for some time, according to Will.
IBM is also providing an IBM i Access ODBC driver for Mac OS and IBM i, to go along with the previously available driver for Windows and Linux. This will simplify how users create and deploy application packages, according to IBM.
Finally, ACS can be launched from Rational Developer for IBM i (RDi), the full-featured IDE from IBM, without requiring a separate Java runtime installation.
IBM Delivers New Goodies with ACS Update (ACS 188.8.131.52)