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IBM AS/400 and Alpha5 as a Front End?

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  • IBM AS/400 and Alpha5 as a Front End?

    Yesterday, I was speaking with the department head at my former agency. We were talking about the possibility of developing an A5 application to track a vast amount of training data for the agency.

    Of course he had many questions, but there was one I could NOT answer. Apparently they are required to enter all training data into the agency's IBM AS/400 system.

    Although I don't know anything about the AS/400 operating system, I have seen it in action so I can say it is extremely cumbersome and archaic. For example, in order to run a fairly basic query, one has to go through about 8-10 screens. Therefore, they are extremely eager to replace that with a PC/Windows based database program.

    I told him I would research the question and it was only a guess on my part, but it shouldn't be too difficult to use A5 as a front end, enter the data into the PC, and then seamlessly export it over to the IBM AS/400.

    Does anyone have any knowledge or experience in this area? I'm sorry I cannot provide any specifics as to the operating system on the AS/400. I can probably get that information if needed, but for now, I was hoping most of them use a standard IBM operating system.



  • #2
    RE: IBM AS/400 and Alpha5 as a Front End?

    Hi Robert,
    I don't have any expertise to offer you here but I am in the middle of an app that will replace one currently running on an as400. Is the as/400 currently networked with the pc's? In my situation the pc's are currently networked up with the as400 and running I believe somba, (I've been doing some linux playing lately, so maybe getting the two confused). Anyway, it would probably depend on the import/export capabilities of the as400 app. You are probably dealing with an SQL database of some type and you can certainly import/export/merge etc IF you know SQL. Sorry I couldn't be if more help.



    • #3
      RE: IBM AS/400 and Alpha5 as a Front End?

      Have you played with wine for linux that will allow you to run a windows app like A5 in a linux OS?



      • #4
        RE: IBM AS/400 and Alpha5 as a Front End?

        Hi Jim:

        No, the PC currently isn't networked the AS/400 but I that is a fairly routine matter because the agency has some other PC's networked to the AS/400.

        One clue might be OBDC capbilities. I did some quick research on the AS/400 and it appears as if the 400 machine is using the IBM operating system, OBDC capability [which A5 has] is required to import/export data to and from the AS/400.



        • #5
          RE: IBM AS/400 and Alpha5 as a Front End?

          Hi Nick,
          No I haven't played with wine. I've read a little about it and at some point it'll probably be an option, but I'd rather have a port of A5 to linux.



          • #6
            RE: IBM AS/400 and Alpha5 as a Front End?

            All I can say is good luck. I tried using A5v4 a couple of years ago as a kind of front end for an MS SQL database using ODBC and had so many problems and ran into so many limitations that I finally gave it up as being either hopeless or not worth the trouble (I wasn't getting paid for the experiement!). The few things I remember about it include the following: 1) If all you want is a form for entering data, it might work OK (you'd have to build field rules into the form though), but if you want all the power of A5 you are probably going to be very disappointed. 2) There was some problem with date formats (don't remember the details). 3) A5 connected to the SQL database gave no way of doing an A5 query or even a simple Find on a SQL indexed field. 4) For some reason if the database in question contained a large number of records A5 would not work at all (i.e., would not even page through the records). In short, as near as I could see, the only way to get A5's power and features was to export the the SQL database to an A5 compatible format and end up with 2 separate databases. And that was unacceptable for what I was trying to do, which included having a single database that both SQL and A5 users could access.