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QMF for Windows for AS/400, Version 7.1

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In June, IBM announced Query Management Facility (QMF) for Windows for AS/400, Version 7.1, an advanced Business Intelligence (BI) tool for enterprise data sharing by DB2 Universal Database for AS/400 (DB2 UDB for AS/400) users, both expert and novice. QMF for Windows has a wealth of powerful new features, including Java-based SQL queries from a Web browser, and was made generally available on September 29, 2000—just in time for use on IBM’s new high-performance IBM server iSeries and AS/400e servers.

The new servers have been designed to handle core business applications, as well as applications associated with front-end Internet-based solutions, like customer relationship management (CRM), supply chain management (SCM), server-side Java, Domino, BI, and B2B.

QMF for Windows—with its Java-based SQL query from a Web browser, its robust data distribution and integration capabilities, and its advanced administrative controls—now serves a wide range of operational and data-warehousing applications and can also be used in conjunction with many e-business applications, serving IBM’s embedded AS/400 base of small to midsize customers, as well as new ones.


New and Better Query


Long-time AS/400 users who have built libraries of query objects using Query Manager for AS/400 or Query/400 will find that migration to QMF for Windows is easy. (You can download migration tools that support those traditional IBM AS/400 query products from the IBM Query Management Facility Web site at www.ibm.com/qmf.) And new users of iSeries 400 and AS/400 hardware and QMF for Windows software will be impressed with the combined power of hardware and software.

The IBM AS/400e and iSeries Model 840 server is powered by the world's first production microchips made of silicon-on-insulator (SOI) transistors and copper wiring. The addition of SOI alone can increase performance up to 20 to 30 percent beyond the use of copper by protecting the millions of transistors on a chip with a blanket of insulation, reducing harmful electrical leakage that wastes power. The AS/400e and iSeries Model 840 is 3.6 times faster than the previous generation of AS/400 servers.

This powerful combination of iSeries 400 and AS/400e hardware and QMF for Windows software opens up many new possibilities for business applications. Whether running on new iSeries 400 or older AS/400 hardware, QMF for Windows gives its users, application developers, and database administrators a quick start to enterprise reporting.

QMF for Windows has also been designed to deliver the most frequently required business-reporting capabilities at a competitive advantage, using the minimum number of tools. This multipurpose, scalable enterprise query environment allows business reporting, object sharing (queries, form templates and procedures) and reports, server resource protection, robust application development, and native connectivity to DB2 UDB for AS/400.

In today’s security-conscious world, QMF for Windows can be deployed widely, including via the Internet, to access multiple DB2 UDB for AS/400 databases with the connect-and-protect confidence so necessary for today’s BI.


Expanded Research Power


QMF for Windows allows browser-based SQL querying with Java servlets, which expands the breadth of customers’ research capabilities, giving them access to databases via the Internet, not just to databases on their own LANs.

Customers can create, locate, and run SQL queries, and publish the results to a server in HTML format. Browser-based querying allows customers to view query results in their browsers and download those results into spreadsheets or to other desktop tools. This new feature supports Java-enabled browsers, and no plug-ins are required.

QMF for Windows now also offers a dynamic display for creating meaningful reports. Users can summarize and aggregate data, and drag-and-drop or right-click to group by summary fields, creating reports that convey complex information at a glance. With QMF for Windows, users can highlight trends, make comparisons, and generate multiple views of answers to key business questions that are so important for enterprisewide BI.

Users can choose from a list of functions, such as sum, average, percentage of total, standard deviation, maximum, minimum, last, first, count, and more. Plus, enhanced sorting allows users to sort their query results on more than one noncontiguous column.

To enhance the look of reports, this latest version of QMF for Windows allows users to add repeating colors and various font formats.

QMF for Windows supports centralized report sharing and navigation by letting customers sort and group objects by type and by owner and providing faster location and retrieval of relevant objects. It also lets users change the object icon styles to suit their own desktop style.


Organize Data on the Desktop


QMF for Windows offers a new Report Center as an install option. With this new Report Center, users can create their own tree structure on their desktop, from which they can launch centrally shared queries and then send the resulting data to the desktop tools of their choice. Reports and formatted spreadsheets with mission-critical information can be created and instantly shared on an enterprisewide basis. Users can also publish these reports on the Web and quickly create automated Web warehouses of enterprise data.

With QMF for Windows, users can now organize, locate, launch, and even program the objects they care about most. Options are available for filtering objects by object owner and object name. Users can group and selectively display tables, QMF queries, procedures, forms, public favorites, and IBM DB2 Forms objects. (IBM DB2 Forms is an IBM drag-and-drop tool that quickly creates front-ends to DB2 UDB databases for functions such as order entry, table editing, and data lookup. DB2 Forms also accesses DB2 UDB for AS/400 databases. You can download an evaluation version from the IBM DB2 Forms Resource Center at www.software.ibm.com/db2forms.)

Users can gather data from the DB2 UDB for AS/400 databases of their choice and then automatically upload that data to a Web server, browser, or printer or into a program such as Lotus 1-2-3, Microsoft Access, Microsoft Excel, Text Viewer, Microsoft Word, or Lotus Word Pro.

Users can create Favorites folders using drag-and-drop, and these folders can be made public at the server for others throughout the enterprise to view and use.


Refreshing Standard Reports


Report Center seamlessly integrates with Windows scheduling features, which makes it easy to create and refresh reports at specified intervals. These regularly updated reports can then be used to create Web data warehouses so that decision-makers throughout an enterprise can always have access to the most current BI. Report Center lets users schedule individual jobs to run and rerun at set intervals—either by hour and minute, day of the week, or day of the month. Jobs can be run either once, a specified number of times, or on a regular basis.

In addition to distribution to Web data warehouses, jobs can be scheduled to perform a variety of tasks, such as distributing query results to any number of recipients via email. Virtually any task a user can perform manually using QMF for Windows can be automated with QMF for Windows through its job scheduling and QMF procedures.


Support for Large Objects


QMF for Windows now offers support for binary large objects (BLOBs), text LOBs, double-byte text LOBs, spreadsheets, documents, sound, video, and images. The LOB is displayed as a text-based placeholder, such as , which indicates that the cell contains a text LOB that is stored in a file in the local file system. The indicates that a cell contains only the locator that is returned by the server.

An individual LOB value can be retrieved upon request. Four LOB options are offered for retrieving LOB data from the server: disable LOB data completely, disable LOB data, retrieve LOB data on demand, and retrieve LOB data automatically.

Enjoy fast, accurate, and efficient manipulation of LOBs by always associating a particular LOB with its appropriate Windows application operation. Automatically combine a LOB value with the predefined set of operations that can most efficiently manipulate it. For instance, QMF for Windows would launch a playback or rendering application for a LOB that was a complex graphic or video, or it would launch an editing application with a LOB that was a lengthy word document, such as an e-book.

A new property page has been added to the QMF for Windows Resource Limits Group, to allow you to specify the current user for LOB options.

Host Variables and Stored Procedure Parameters dialogs have been enhanced to allow LOB data types both as input and output variables. The Grid View has been enhanced to accept LOB columns in a result set. A new menu item has been added for retrieving all LOB data, if the option to retrieve LOB data on demand has been enabled.

The Table Editor dialog box allows LOB columns; users can enter a LOB value by typing in a file name, or they can browse for a file in Windows Explorer, then drag and drop it into the LOB column.

With all this flexibility in creating, refreshing, and manipulating LOBs, new possibilities are opened, such as building and maintaining Web data warehouses that include data as well as documents and other unstructured information.


Increased Application Enabling with QMF Procedures


QMF procedures with REXX are now supported in QMF for Windows. A “dockable” command bar accepts QMF command line commands, so Version 7.1 is ready for immediate use by host QMF users.

For more information on these and other new features of QMF for Windows for AS/400, Version 7.1, such as new API commands, governing administrative enhancements, and DB2 Warehouse Manager for AS/400 integration, visit the IBM QMF site at www.ibm.com/qmf.

QMF for Windows is architecturally coupled with DB2 across platforms with Distributed Relational Database Architecture (DRDA), the enterprise data-sharing standard. It offers server-based pricing, unlimited users per server, and centralized installation.




• IBM DB2 Forms Web site: www.software.ibm.com/db2forms
• IBM Query Management Facility Web site: www.ibm.com/qmf



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