04 - System Administration (EN)04g - System Admin miscellanea

IBM i Technology Refresh 7.4 TR1 and 7.3 TR7

Last Updated on 14 October 2019 by Roberto De Pedrini

Welcome to this new IBM i Technology Referesh TR1 for 7.4 and TR7 for 7.3.

The announcement is only two days ago, October 8, 2019, Technology Refresh for IBM i, TR1 for 7.4 and TR7 for 7.3, updates to the latest version of the operating system arrived on time with new features for developers and systems engineers. new interesting things on the Open Source side. Yet another proof of the efforts that Rochester’s laboratories are making to make this fantastic IBM i platform ever more modern and up-to-date, which unfortunately we often see today, even in large companies, with old versions and old ways of working and developing … when instead it could give great satisfaction if used as an IBM i and not yet as an AS400 …. but it is an old speech!

The news concern both the development side and the administration side for IBM i: I bring you here the direct links to the IBM announcements and I limit myself to deepen or highlight those that, in my opinion, are the most important aspects:

What’s new for the IWS Integrated Web Server

Interesting news on the IWS side, the Integrated Web Server. Now we all have to deal with Web Services and more and more often we find ourselves having to publish or consume services in Web API mode. IWS greatly simplifies the whole process of publishing Web Services from IBM i, not only starting from our normal RPG or Cobol programs or service programs but also from simple SQL statements that can be published as real web services without worrying about the whole Json or XML conversion.

The novelties of this TR are:

  • Possibility to publish (deploy) web services in user subsystems and not only in the QHTTPSVR subsystem … allowing us to better manage the resources to be assigned to the jobs called by the web services themselves. When Web Services start to become so many and integration with other systems and applications passes from there it is important to be able to keep the resources involved under control.
  • A special scripting interface allows us to republish web services in other partitions in an automatic and guided way: a very useful function in the classic test and production environments and the deployment of the service in production becomes child’s play (in truth it was possible even before calling up shell scripts directly … but given the number of parameters and references it was not a simple thing!)

DB2 for i

Also in this TR Scott Forstie and his laboratory have managed to “churn out” several new “sweets”: not only in the field of IBM i DB2 services, which simplify access to objects, configurations and system analysis without having to resort to complex system API or the recall of system commands with output to file, but also different enhancements to the DB2 engine itself.

Let’s see someone:

  • QSYS2.PROGRAM_INFO an SQL view to see the information of a program object (DSPPGM)
  • QSYS2.PROGRAM_EXPORT_IMPORT_INFO to get information about functions – procedures exported and imported by serice-programs ((DSPSRVPGM)
  • The UDTF IFS_OBJECT_STATISTICS to read the IFS directories from SQL as if we were doing an RTVDIRINF
  • Again for IFS three new UDTFs to get information on the use of IFS objects: IFS_JOB_INFO, IFS_OBJECT_USAGE_INFO and IFS_OBJECT_USAGE_JOBS
  • Even for normal system objects, three new services: QSYS2.OBJECT_OWNERSHIP for the property of the object,
  • QSYS2.ACTIVE_DB_CONNECTIONS for info on DRDA, DDM and DB2 Mirror connections
  • For Data Queue * DTAQ three new services: QSYS2.DATA_QUEUE_INFO for info, QSYS2.RECEIVE_DATA_QUEUE to receive individual messages and QSYS2.CLEAR_DATA_QUEUE for deletion / cleaning of a * DTAQ or its messages.
  • ALLOW_DDL_WHILE_OPEN, a key of QAQQINI that, if activated, allows modifications to be made to the authorizations (GRANT and REVOKE Authorities both in sql and from the command line) even with the objects in use.
  • The QAQQINI SUPPRESS_INQUIRY_MESSAGES setup is also interesting … avoid message CPA32B2 (Are you sure?) when we make ALTER TABLE, CREATE OR REPLACE TABLE and CHGPF with possible data loss … that from SQL Script we do not see and prevent the action.
  • Different “functional enhancements”, such as the possibility to call up service programs with more than 32 routines, or the management of PROGRAM NAME for SQL functions and procedures, compatibility with the rest of the DB2 family and other nice things.

Rational Development Studio for i (5770-WDS) … RPG compiler

Interesting news for our dear RPG … which, used in free mode with the ILE functions, has nothing to envy to other more famous languages and allows us, directly or via Embedded SQL, to deal with XML, JSON and Web Service in a fairly simple way.

Specific details in this post on RPG Cafè: Fall 2019 enhancements for RPG – DATE-GEN, OVERLOAD, OPTIONS (EXACT)

  • Also introduced in RPG the concept of the Overloads with a specific keyword to indicate in the prototype to execute different procedures depending on the number and type (footprint) of the parameters passed: in practice it is a matter of defining n-procedures that manage a number of different parameters / types and then “group” them all under a single prototype with OVERLOAD on the individual procedures depending on the type / number of parameters.
  • A fantastic DATE-GEN to generate Json and XML starting from a DS of data: it works contrary to the DATE-INTO that instead starts from a JSON or XML document and “maps” it inside a Data Structure DS: maybe it is not clear .. . create XML and JSON with an instruction from a Data Structure with RPG … “stuff” not just!
  • A new option for the parameters of the procedures: OPTIONS (* EXACT) which adds congruence checks between called and calling also on the CONST and VALUE parameters to be sure not to lose contents in the call (actually CONST and VALUE in the parameters are very convenient for and allow the passage of parameters without having to worry about lengths … this option however allows us to distinguish the input parameters of a procedure but to have certainties on the length of the parameters passed by the caller!)

Rational Developer for i (5733-RDW)

Rational Rdi is spreading more and more among IBM i developers, even the loyal ones to the SEU / PDM are changing their minds about the advantages offered by an integrated IDE that allows a better management of the sources and of the whole process of development, compilation, testing and debugging of the programs. With the latest version 9.6 we already have an excellent IDE and this TR still brings some interesting things:

  • Improved formatting and control of SQL statements
  • A favorites management for searches … it’s not very clear to me … I’m waiting to install the new version and learn more!
  • New functions for the * LIBL of a connection
  • Improvements to the refactoring function in RDi, advanced find-and-replace functions that are very useful when we are doing application refactoring

Interesting news also for ACS Access Client Solution

ACS has now replaced everywhere the old Client Access or Iseries Access thanks to its portability and compatibility with different operating systems, but also thanks to all the new functions that it brings with it, like “Run SQL Script”, priceless!

Just in the “Run SQL Script” there are interesting news, like SQL Content Assist, the prompting functions (F4 of STRSQL) … and here we need a stadium “ola” … we really needed it! Remaining in this function of ACS interesting also the novelties on “Insert from example” and “Save as Example” to put away our SQL “templates”.

Also in the 5250 emulation some interesting innovations for those who use it on the development or administration side, like the functions of F8 and F9 of shooting previous commands clearly improved (for example if you do DSP * and F9 are presented the last commands entered that start with DSP!) .

The new ODBC Application package for accessing DB2 from Open Source Node.js and Python applications is also interesting.

More news from the Technology Refresh

There are other innovations introduced by the TR on BRMS, Open Source and Hardware support … which I invite you to read directly from IBM ads.

Conclusion

These are just the ads … we have to wait until November 15th to download and test them on our IBM i partitions. Different times instead for the news of ACS and Rational Rdi, available before November 15th!

--- Roberto De Pedrini Faq400.com
About author

Founder of Faq400 Srl, IBM Champion, creator of Faq400.com and blog.faq400.com web sites. RPG developer since I was wearing shorts, strong IBM i supporter, I have always tried to share my knowledge with others through forums, events and courses. Now, with my company Faq400 Srl, I help companies to make the most of this great platform IBM i.

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