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Recent News and Tips

WebiX: Java Web Interface for MPE and More

Dave Thatcher of Advanced Network Systens, Inc (ANSI) has a new product WebiX. It is a Web/Application server to easily deploy and extend HP e3000 applications to the Web using Java. And WebiX will run on any platform that supports Java, so you can use the same framework for all your servers.

"WebiX comes with many features not found in other application servers, such as: complete Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) standards, MPEix complete connectivity, HP e3000 connection pooling, IMAGE database pooling, MPE file pooling and powerful sub program (existing business logic) access and pooling. WebiX comes with pre-written business objects such as purchasing, order entry, stock inquiry and e-shopping If these objects don't comply with your business, just extend our objects and keep the standard business practices and add your unique 'tweak' to deploy your e-commerce application quickly to the web."

Rodale Press is using WebiX and ADBC (Adager Database Connectivity) and recently posted a testimonial on 3000-L:

From: HP-3000 Systems Discussion  
Sent: Monday, February 26, 2001 11:24 AM
Subject: JDBC/ADBC - Is any one using it?
We are using ADBC to connect to our HP3000. We use Visual Age for Java do to our programming and use WebSphere for our Application Server. We have implemented 2 systems over the Web - one we allow our customers to pay their bills; the other we allow our customers to view their orders/balances and make changes to their account (i.e. address changes, opt-in options, email address, credit card expiration date). We are in the process of writing an IVR system which will not use the Web but relies heavily on ADBC.

ADBC is very easy to use. The company is very helpful when we have questions. I strongly recommend the product. We haven't had any problems with connectivity - a fairly large MACS installation with approximately 19,312,385 orders (we archive every 2 years) and 17,706,446 customers.

Denise Wierzbicki
Technical Analyst
Rodale, Inc.
Permanent location of this story for bookmarking.


Testimonial: Qedit For Windows

Patrick Edwards, Manager, Information Systems for Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield, has some nice things to say about Qedit for Windows:

"Our programmers really like Qedit for Windows and feel it is a real time saver. We purchased Qedit for Windows two months ago and so far, my favorite features include:

Copy and paste with the click of a mouse. I don't have to remember any line-edit commands.

I hardly ever use DSCOPY anymore, since QEDIT for Windows allows me to copy a file from one account and save into another, even across machines.

With Qedit for Windows, I can easily transfer a file from my PC to the mainframe, or vice-versa. This also means I can email jobs, standard lists, etc, very easily.

QEDIT for Windows remembers the last 20 files I've opened. I can open one up again quite easily. (QEDIT on the mainframe only remembers the last file I've opened.)"


Daylight Savings Time

Daylight savings time is happening soon in North America. At 2AM on Sunday 1 April 2001 you need to set your clock forward one hour. Here is a jobstream we use at Robelle on our HP e3000 boxes. It is based on a job that was posted to 3000-L by Shawn Gordon. You will need to change the W7:00 to whatever is appropriate for your time zone. Then just do ":stream setclock; date=10/31/01; at=2:00"
!job setclock,manager.sys
!comment  Daylight Savings adjustments
!    ECHO Back to Standard Time
!    ECHO Ahead to Daylight Time


Interex: MPE System Improvement Ballot

The MPE System Improvement Ballot is now live. Go to the Interex web site to let HP know which of the proposed MPE enhancements are your favorites. The deadline to cast your votes is April 8th.


NewsWire: Interview with Bob Green

Ron Seybold, editor of the 3000 Newswire has published an interview with Robelle's President, Bob Green, on the 3kworld web site.


Amisys Users Conference: April 26-27

The Amisys user group is meeting in San Diego April 26-27. Read more about it on the 3000 Newswire.


Consultants: Tech Group

Tech Group is the parent company of Tech Group University, a training facility located in Maryland geared very heavily towards MPE related training. As of Winter 2001 they have over 70 classes covering general MPE knowledge, 3rd party utilities, and applications.

Company Name: Tech Group
Speciality:All aspects of HP e3000
Description:HP e3000 consulting, remote System Management, Hosting, contract programming, and training
Contact:Jonathan M. Backus
Location:Hagerstown, Maryland
Web site:www.TechGroupMD.com


Cobol Tips

Shawn Gordon has a series of articles on COBOL for the HP e3000 on his web site. The articles are only indexed by file name, not article title, but they should still be useful for COBOL programmers. In January 1998, Shawn started writing for the 3000 NewsWire and there are many more of his COBOL articles posted at 3kworld under the Newswire. In March 2001, Shawn published his last COBOL column.


What Can Suprtool Do That Query Can't Do?

Query is a data base inquiry facility supplied with the IMAGE database on the HP e3000. It works only with IMAGE data. Query has two primary purposes: it is a report writer, and it is a data manipulation tool.

Suprtool works with many different data sources, not only IMAGE. Suprtool has one primary purpose: to extract data into files. Suprtool's Dbedit utililty can be used for data entry and manipulation. While Suprtool is not as sophisticated a report writer as Query, it is widely used for ad-hoc reporting since it is so flexible and quick.

Below is a small portion of a comparison of features in Query versus Suprtool, created by Mike Shumko and Paul Gobes of Robelle. For over a hundred more features, visit the permanent location of this comparison chart.

Query=Q Suprtool=S

Q S Ability to list data to screen or printer
Q S Normal IMAGE access speed

S Multi-record No-Buf high speed access
Q S Ability to link data from multiple datasets

S Ability to read non-IMAGE files

S Ability to create non-IMAGE files

S Ability to prepare data for other applications, platforms

S Ability to redefine data items

S String Handling: Uppercase/Lower/Trim/Concatenation

S Listredo stack saveable as a Use file
Q S Ability to limit search to a set number (numrecs)

S Datehandling routines : relative dates ($today(+3), $date(*/*-3/*)

S Datehandling routines : conversion to standard ccyymmdd format

S Datehandling routines : conversion to astromomical 'Julian Date' day number

S Datehandling routines : supports 28 different date types

S Datehandling routines : supports Powerhouse, ASK, Oracle, SRN, EDS datetypes

S Datehandling routines : arithmetic date manipulation

S Ability to designate date format type
Q S Key retreival by B-trees and Third Party Indexing

S Ability to define Image subfields

S Ability to define fields either by absolute or relative position

S Ability to define new fields of various data formats for extraction

S Ability to create an archive file while deleting dataset records

paul.gobes@robelle.com and mike.shumko@robelle.com


The Bit Convertor

The HP e3000 numbers bits from left to right as 0 to 15 (16 bits) or 0 to 31 (32 bits). Horner Consulting has a "bit converter" web page for converting bit values into octal PARM= values for the Run command, and vice versa. Also useful for decoding and encoding Foptions and Aoptions for file opens: Bit Converter Page


3kworld: Connecting DTCs to A and N-Class

The new servers cannot directly link to a DTC because they lack the proper connector. But they can through a transceiver. Read how in this MS Word document on the 3kWorld web site.


Windows: Quick Access to Web Address

If you wish to go to web site, use the Run dialog box of the Start menu and enter the URL (i.e., web address). For example, to go to Robelle's web site , press Start, then click on Run, and type www.robelle.com - there is no need to enter http://. This works most of the time, unless your web address is only xxxxx.com. In that case, Windows thinks you want to execute the xxxxx program.

For more Windows tips, visit the permanent location of this article.


New: Searching for Multiple Strings

Classic Qedit for MPE and HP-UX version 5.0.10 (a pre-release) is now available for testing and provides searching for multiple strings on the same line. (Note: this feature is not available in Qedit for Windows yet.) In the previous 5.0 Qedit, it is easy to list all the lines that contain a single string, such as "Suprtool":
  /List "suprtool" (Upshift)
If you wanted to select lines that contained different strings, you had to repeat the same commands using each string one by one. With the latest Qedit pre-release, a command can now have up to 10 strings. So, instead of doing:
  /List "Suprtool"
  /List "Qedit"
  /List "Robelle"
you can now do:
  /List "Suprtool" or "Qedit" or "Robelle"
Strings are separated by an OR keyword. Each string can have its own set of search options such as column range, caseless search, regular expression:
  /List "Suprtool" (upshift) or "Qedit" (10/20) 
The complete list is saved as the previous list. This means it is used when the previous list construct, typically an empty string, is used in subsequent commands.

Changing Cobol Tags

Also, the Change command now has a new Tag option. This new feature makes it easier to manipulate Cobol tags in CobolX-type files. A regular Change command operates on the text area located in columns 7 to 72. The Tag option forces the requested changes to be applied in the tag area only i.e. columns 73 to 80. The text area (columns 7 to 72) remains unchanged.

If you are interested in these features, please contact us (email support@robelle.com) and we will be glad to provide the new 5.0.10 version of host Qedit. Of course, we are also interested in any comment you might have about these features or about Qedit in general.

Read about all the changes introduced in Qedit 5.0.10.


Stay Current on Internet Topics

Tomalak's Realm is a site that provides selected daily links to the best new items on the web on the topics of web design, e-commerce, privacy, and the Internet in general. With just a small investment of your time you can get up to date. This site has been going for several years and has a searchable archive. Highly recommended.


eXegeSys Conference

MM/3000 and PM/3000 users, plan now to attend the eXegeSys eRP Users Conference 2001, Oct. 1-4, Downtown Salt Lake City. Register today by visiting www.exegesys.com/erp2001/welcome.htm


Adding Record Numbers to SD Files

By Hans Hendriks, Robelle Technical Support

Jim Walker, consultant, asked this question about Suprtool: "I need the record number as part of my data file...I also need an SD file or a file that is identical to the dataset (i.e., in =) so I can do some more work with the file...however, I am lazy and do not want to re-define all the fields in the dataset when I read the file back in after using the NUM,DATA option. When processing through the dataset, do I have access to the record number field? If so, how can I access it...extract it...and still use the ,LINK option on my output statement?"

Here's my response:

No, there's no way to reference the record number while reading a dataset. And of course adding the NUM option to output means that the output file is no longer identical to the input one. But I see your point, Suprtool should be able to add a field in the SD file description, and I'll log this as an enhancement request.

Meanwhile, here's a workaround:

- Pass 1 builds an SD file of the correct structure:

  > get dataset
  > define RECNUM,1,4,integer
  > extract recnum,field1 / fieldlast
  > output foo,link
  > numrecs 1          
      {write 1 record}
  > set squeeze off    
      {but leave free space in file}
  > x 

-Pass 2 populates the file with records (including the record number):

  > get dataset
  > out foo,num,data,erase
  > x 

This will give you an SD file that recognizes the record number and the data fields.



Consultants: Summit Systems, Inc.

If you need some help with the MANMAN package and Suprtool, you would do well to consult David Byrns at Summit Systems, Inc (not related to Summit Informations Systems). David kindly handed out some Robelle information at the recent CAMUS conference, for which we thank him.

Company Name: Summit Systems, Inc.
Description:Provider of Manman enhancements and custom programming.
Contact:David Byrns
Location:St. Loius, Missouri
Web site:www.sumsystems.com
References: The Support Group, Austin, TX


Travel Tip: A Fridge in the Room

Stan Sieler, master software craftsman of Allegro, has the following tip for travellers:

It is very useful to have a small refrigerator in your room, for storing cold drinks, snacks, and something for breakfast. But many hotel rooms do not come with a refrigerator. Did you know that you can call the hotel desk and ask for a fridge in your room? Most hotels have them available, due to the requirement of diabetics to keep their insulin cooled, and will add one to your room if you just ask!


Robelle Newsletter for March

Last week we issued the March 2001 edition of our What's Up Documentation newsletter, and it is now available on-line. Stories in this issue include the new servers from HP, Suprtool in use at a credit union and much more. Subscribers should already have received the newsletter by email: if you didn't receive a copy, subscribe now. The newsletter is also avaiable in PDF format, best for printing (of course you need the Adobe Acrobat Viewer).


HP-UX For MPE Users

You can download Neil Armstrong's paper from our web site and get a cram course in HP's UNIX, designed for people who have an MPE background. For example, here is Neil's description of variables:

We are used to the concept of system variables on MPE. On HP-UX we have a similar concept called environment variables. As the name implies, these variables describe your environment. Some typical MPE variables are HPPATH, HPACCOUNT, and HPGROUP.

Some very common environment variables on HP-UX are the PATH (same as HPPATH), TERM, and MANPATH variables. TERM, which describes your type of terminal, is checked by programs that use the Curses library, such as the vi editor. MANPATH is similar to PATH, but aids the "man" utility in searching for documentation pages.

These variables must be "export"-ed for any child process to reference them. Otherwise they are private to the current process. Environment variables can be inherited by a child process from its parent. The parent process, however, cannot reference variables created or changed by the child process once the parent process becomes active again. This is quite different from MPE and means that a child process cannot pass back results in a variable; the typical alternative is a file.

On MPE we reference a variable by preceding the name of the variable with an exclamation point. On HP-UX you precede the name of the variable with a dollar sign ($).

To read the rest of Neil's paper, download the PDF file. Remember, you will need a copy of Adobe Acrobat Viewer.

For another paper on the same topic, visit Shawn Gordon's web site.


Suprtool: Changing Data Types

One area that generates a steady stream of support calls is when users need to change the storage format of numeric data fields. For example, lets say somebody sends you an ASCII file of data, and you need to add it to one of your Image datasets. Problem is, some of the numeric fields are stored in the dataset in numeric formats, like integer or packed. How can you convert the storage format of those fields into the format Image expects them to be?

There are two basic things you need to know to accomplish this:

1) You can define ASCII numbers as DISPLAY and

2) You can create new fields with the DEFINE command.

Combining these two insights allows Suprtool to change the field storage attribute of a field from Ascii number to binary numeric. To find out how, read the entire article by Hans Hendriks of Robelle Technical Support.


Samco Certified as HP e3000 Solution Reseller

Samco Automation BV, Robelle's distributor in the Netherlands and headed by long-time 3000 expert Marius Schild (marius@samco.nl), has been certified as an HP e3000 Solutions Reseller.


New: System Monitoring Tool

Outer Banks Solutions offers a new tool that will monitor the critical resources of your e3000 systems and alert you when something needs your attention. They call it SMS for System Monitoring Software and it can watch over jobs and sessions, system limits, outstanding REPLY's, disk space, disk fragmentation, disk drive availability, spooling resources, network server processes, network links, and network connectivity. Similar to our technique for Remote DBA, but more ambitious. We haven't tried it, but SMS sounds interesting.


Robelle at HP World

The annual convention of HP computer users will be held in Chicago this year, August 20-24. Robelle will be there, and company President Bob Green will be presenting a paper and a tutorial:

Building Better Software: read the paper now.

IMAGE Internals and Performance: a new 2-hour tutorial, expanding on our previous HowMessy paper.


Suprtool In Education

Eric Guisinger
Eric Guisinger of Lucia Mar Unified School District writes:

I'm a major advocate of Suprtool - the product has saved me literally hundreds of hours of work. We acquired the product here at Lucia Mar in 1998 at my recommendation, as I'd also used it at Kaiser-Permanente in Colorado and at Atascadero State Hospital here in California. In other words, I've used Suprtool for around 20 years (good grief, is that really possible?). I highly recommend Suprtool for virtually any HP 3000-based school, school district, and/or county office of education, and/or state department of education.

Each night we extract data from the remote data bases via a wide area network and transmit the extracted files to the HP 3000. On the HP 3000, Suprtool is used to erase existing student information and replace it with the information from the remote system. This is a "replace everything" approach: The remote system is the 'master' copy and data existing on the HP is only a copy of that. A typical Suprtool task here might be to read the enrollment history data set with about 285,000 entries, extracting just those records of a specific type for a specific school, subsequently deleting them, and then adding (updated) records that were extracted from the remote system into the data set. Suprtool reads our enrollment history data set in about 6 seconds. We actually read the enrollment data set a total of 4 times for each school being processed. We have 15 schools, so 15 schools x 4 x 6 seconds still means we've processed a data set with 285,000 records in about 6 minutes - a very acceptable level of performance. Since it is all done in Suprtool, it is relatively easy to maintain (as compared to, say, COBOL). We have similar Suprtool processes that maintain parent/guardian information and student demographic information that has been extracted from the remote systems.

To read all of Eric's article, visit the permanent location.


Ole Nord Certified as HP Systems Integrator

Ole Nord
Robelle's distributor in Scandinavia, Ole Nord AB, has been certified as an HP business partner in the category HP e3000 Systems Integrator.


First-Time FTP Installation on an e3000

FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol and is the Internet standard way to move data and programs between systems, even systems of radically different OS architecture. Starting with MPE/iX 6.0, it has been very easy to enable the ftp server on your HP e3000. Once enabled, the FTP server makes it easy for you to deliver output to your PCs, NT servers, UNIX boxes, even to servers across the world. You you can pick up useful software utilities for your e3000 off FTP sites, such as Telamon's site. And you can install some e3000 software from your PC workstation.

There are two simple steps to install FTP. If you want to try it, read the full text of Paul Gobes' article at the permanent location.


"Hit" Statistics for e3000 Web Server

The most widely used web statistics package is Steven Turner's Analog, and now you can use it with your HP e3000 Apache web server. Free. Analog was ported to the e3000 by Andreas Schmidt and is available on his web site. Analog tells you how many "hits" you are getting on your web site, which pages are the most popular, how the hits are distributed over the day, and much more. This tip on Analog came via the 3000 Newswire. For more tips, visit the permanent home of this story.


Consultants: IT Consulting Consortium

We continue our review of consultants that may be of use to Robelle customers. The It Consulting Consortium is the most unusual so far, because it actually represents a growing group of consultants with expertise in a wide range of e3000 topics:

It is commonly known that "The Whole is Greater than the Sum of Its Parts". The IT Consulting Consortium is founded on that principle. By bringing together premier IT consultants into one group, one consortium, that you, the customer benefit by the sum of their experience, their education and their commitment to doing the project right the first time.

Company Name: IT Consulting Consortium
Speciality:e3000 - Ecometry - Amisys - Summit & Performance Consulting
Description: The IT Consulting Consortium is a unique alliance of highly experienced, prescreened independent Information Technology consultants
Contact:Craig L. Solomon
Location:Albany, Oregon
Web site:www.craigs.com
Links:Selected links
References: Affiliated Computer Services, Dallas Texas
Anthem, Blue Cross & Blue Shield - Denver, Colorado
Global Analysts - San Diego, California
Beaumont Hospital - Dublin, Eire
Pinecrest Private Schools Corporate - Granada Hills, California
Open-Seas, Headington, Oxford England.
Amos & Associates


Searchable 3000 FAQ

FAQ stands for Frequently Asked Questions and if you are new to the HP e3000, you probably are asking many of them right now. QSS has taken the 3000 FAQ and put a search engine on top of it. Very nice, give it a try on their HP 3000 web server and search for all references to Robelle.


Reaction to N-Class Servers

The new N-class servers get a boost from this article at searchHP.com. Debbie Goode, Director of Information Technology Services, at Cameron University in Lawton, Okla., is quoted extensively on the value of their new N-class e3000 server, especially as it applies to education:

"The day we did testing, we hit it with the Web applications," said Goode, who joined the university in 1976 as an analyst and programmer. "You could easily bring down the 979 if you overburden it. The N-class kept going; we never did have to reboot it. It kept responding. Cameron bought its first 3000 in 1975. I came aboard here in 1976 and we are still using programs we wrote in the mid-1970s. And with all the upgrades we've had to do, there's was only one time we had to recompile every program," Goode said. "It's always just been a matter of doing a full backup, installing the new system and reloading. We've always been able to get up and going in a weekend. We've always been extremely pleased with its upward compatibility. It's given us a lot of value and where we are a state-funded college, we don't have a lot of money. (The e3000s) just don't break." .

We found this article through a link at 3kworld.com


Windows Tips: Hidden File Extensions

A number of viruses (virii?) masquerade as normal files by adding an extra, super-hidden file extension to the filename of an e-mail attachment. For example, the AnnaKournikova virus that recently made the rounds had an attachment named "AnnaKournikova.jpg.vbs", but because of Windows' habit of always hiding certain file extensions, appeared to be named "AnnaKournikova.jpg", a seemingly-innocent graphic file. The vbs extension is hidden, even when you have instructed Windows Explorer to show all filename extensions.

A free Windows utility called X-Setup gives you full control over showing filename extensions for the super-hidden types. The utility is available at http://www.xteq.com/products/xset/index.html on the web.

This tip is courtesy of the very useful Woody's Office Watch e-newsletter, available by sending e-mail to wow@wopr.com . For more Windows tips, visit the permanent location of this story.


TurboIMAGE Casserole

The full title of this tutorial is "TurboIMAGE Casserole: A Careful Mix of Design and Maintenance". Author Brian Duncombe of Triolet Systems has created a good introduction to IMAGE database design and performance improvement, including sample output from Robelle's HowMessy utility. The target is users who may not have the ability to change the application source code or the database design. Read the paper in PDF format on his web site. You need the Adobe Acrobat Viewer.


New Suprtool Brochure

Do you have a friend that you have been trying to convince to use Suprtool? We have a new product brochure for you, the best one we have ever done, and it is available in PDF format on our web site. From the new brochure:

There are few software solutions in the market today that can boast a twenty-year track record of unparalleled performance and still remain on the cutting edge of current technology. Suprtool by Robelle can.

Of course you will need the Adobe Acrobat Viewer, or you can email solutions@robelle.com and request a printed copy by slow mail.


Replace Quiz Links With Faster Suprtool

To select the intersection of two files, standard reporting programs rely on linking the two files together. For example, to report sales generated by California customers, your Quiz code would look like this:
   > access m-customer link to d-sales
   > select m-customer if state-code = "CA"
   > report product-no sales-qty ....
   > ....etc
The customer file is accessed only for purposes of qualifying which sales records should be selected. Quiz retrieves the D-Sales records via keyed reads for each Cust-Account value, so D-Sales records are grouped by Cust-Account, though not necessarily in Cust-Account sequence. If the report should be in Cust-Account sequence, you need to add a sort to the above commands.

This could be done more efficiently by using Suprtool's special scan and search features. To find out how, read the rest of Hans Hendriks' article.


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HP 3000 Book

HP 3000 Evolution:

Edited by Bob Green of Robelle, from articles written by Robelle, by The 3000 Newswire, and by other experts in the HP 3000 field.

This 300-page book contains the latest information on three important topics:
HP 3000 Tune Up
Migrating a 3000 application.

An essential reference for every desk! Order your copy on-line for US$25.