The Evolution of DB2 Web Query for i
DB2 Web Query for i is the foundation to take the use of the product way beyond a simple query tool and into business intelligence.
Illustration by Eric Joyner
I’m privileged to share with you some of the exciting new products and other supporting ecosystem developments around DB2* Web Query for i on its one-year anniversary. It seems like the year has just flown by. Why is it that as you get older, the birthdays and anniversaries start coming around so much faster? At any rate, we’re here now—one year since our team shipped the first CD with the new Web-based query and reporting solution from IBM. By the time you read this, we’ll have shipped more than 15,000 licenses of DB2 Web Query’s base product (offered as a no-charge upgrade to clients licensed to the popular Query/400 product).
And while the base product is certainly a more modern, Web-based version of Query/400, with traffic lighting, linked reports, more than 100 charts and graphs, and an extensive set of output options (including direct to spreadsheet), it’s also the foundation to take the use of the product way beyond a simple query tool and into business intelligence. With additional components of DB2 Web Query, you can add dashboards, slice and dice through data interactively, and leverage the metadata layer, taking the Web-based query capabilities into a whole new realm. IT personnel will love the improved productivity in report writing and reduction of report maintenance, as well as the great tools available to monitor and address query-performance issues. End users will love how quickly data is delivered to them in a presentation form that’s commensurate with their needs. And the metadata layer removes the complexities of the databases, shielding end users from becoming ad hoc database experts as well as ensuring confidence and trust through standardization of data across the enterprise.
Responding to Feedback
Since the birth of DB2 Web Query for i a year ago, IBM has gotten many comments from clients and business partners on ways to build on the Web-based technology. Two of the more frequent requests were for enterprise-reporting capabilities and the capability to more tightly integrate the reporting environment into applications. As you’ll see in this issue of IBM Systems Magazine, Business Systems edition, IBM delivered on those two requirements with the introduction of DB2 Web Query Report Broker and DB2 Web Query Software Development Kit (SDK).
DB2 Web Query Report Broker automates the report distribution function and provides significantly more output options when running reports in batch mode. For example, you could schedule a report to run at end-of-day processing and intelligently burst the report, sending tailored sections of it to those who must know. In other words, recipients only see the portion of the report (in PDF or other formats) that’s pertinent to them. See Robert Andrews’ article “A Powerful Broker” (page 32) for more details.
The SDK is a set of Web services that lets you customize an interface or integrate DB2 Web Query functions into your applications. Many 5250 applications incorporate the execution of Query/400 reports from within the application. Now, Web-based applications can provide this level of integration as well. The set of Web services includes authentication functions, the capability to obtain and pass report parameters, and the execution of the reports from a completely customized application. You can also work with Report Broker functions through specific Web services provided by the SDK.
The Next Phase
Another big advance in the latest level of DB2 Web Query will be the next phase of languages that are supported as the IBM team works to match the more than 30 languages that Query/400 supported. In this latest level, Italian, Chinese, the Nordics and many other languages will be supported.
As you might imagine, IBM hears many more requests for additional functions through formal or informal processes. IBM hopes to address as many of those requirements for additional function as possible where it makes sense. Some function may not make sense for IBM to provide, and in those cases IBM will look to its ecosystem partners.
End users will love how quickly data is delivered to them in a presentation form that’s commensurate with their needs.