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Going Mobile With DB2 Web Query

DB2 Web Query

When The Who's Pete Townshend penned the lyrics to "Going Mobile" in the early 1970s, he was supposedly referring to life on the road and the flexibility a mobile home provided. While he couldn't possibly have foreseen how our mobile lives would evolve, we can all appreciate the flexibility and expectations we have for being mobile today.

IBM DB2 Web Query for i embraces our modern world's need for mobility. In Web Query, IBM has enabled numerous reporting techniques and implemented several mobile strategies that make data more accessible than ever. Whether users are at the office, on the road or in the air, they can get access to data and, hopefully, knowledge for better decision-making.

Users' need for readily accessible information has always motivated IBM i developers to implement creative solutions. Over time, these solutions have run the gamut from subfiles to Query/400, AFP printing and data transfer, and on to web-based tools. As the latest entry in this now lengthy line of creative solutions, Web Query stands apart because of its flexibility. With it, you might accomplish things that previously required multiple tools. Web Query reports can allow inquiry and drill-down, potentially replacing legacy programs developed with subfiles or Query/400 reports. You can create reports including images, charts and graphs, which might replace something done with AFP.

Express vs. Standard editions

The phrase "write once, run anywhere" is oft-used in technology, but it's especially appropriate for Web Query. This means once you've created a report, you don't have to change anything to make that report usable on a mobile device. Of course you'll have to take some steps to configure Web Query. As always, the particulars depend upon your site's set-up:

For Standard Edition:

  • Configure Web Query to utilize your mail server
  • Configure a schedule (Standard Edition) for any report, to distribute it to specific user email addresses on whatever timetable you select.
  • Instruct users how to utilize a report received via email.

For any Web Query edition:

  • Download the mobile app to user devices
  • Configure the app on each mobile device to access your IBM i server
  • Have users drag the desired report(s) to their Mobile Favorites folder in Web Query
  • Instruct users how to access Web Query reports from their mobile devices.

The above might sound like a lot of work, but it isn't. Again, depending upon your Web Query installation, not all of these steps will even be necessary, but those that are can be performed quickly. Furthermore, users who are already familiar with phones or tablets will take to the Mobile Faves app in short order (see figure 1 and figure 2). To me, some report styles or themes look more attractive on a phone or tablet than others, but that's a personal or corporate preference at design time, and one that can be addressed from a standards perspective.

Your first decision point is usually whether you have the Express or Standard edition of DB2 Web Query for i.

Rick Flagler is an information technology consultant, teacher and mentor.

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