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ASP.Net and AS/400?

I have a chance to work on a project that will be ASP.Net (and possibly Site Server) against an AS/400 back end (reading and writing)

I know ASP.Net, SQL Server, and Oracle very well, but I've never touched AS/400 - how much of a challenge would it be to "get up to speed" against the AS/400 data store? Is it just another database? Or is it like learning mandarin chinese?

Philo

Philo
Saturday, July 12, 2003

The database for AS/400 is DB/400 - basically DB2 on the AS/400.

There are several ways to access it from Windows, the simplest is via ODBC. With the ODBC driver, the fact that the database is on an AS/400 is totally transparent - it looks the same as a DB/2 database running on Windows.

RocketJeff
Saturday, July 12, 2003

Watch out for ODBC from .NET. It can be quite a bear to work with (very slow, seems to have random errors). My experience was with 2002, so 2003 might have improved it. YMMV.

Someone told me there was an OLEDB driver for AS/400, but I've not seen/touched it myself.

Marc
Saturday, July 12, 2003

Working on a Java and AS/400 application right now.

My experience is that AS/400 definitely has some quirks. For instance, even though you can use JDBC (the Java equivalent of ODBC) to connect to DB/400, IBM ship a Java Toolbox library (aka JT400) and recommend you use their library which provides a different set of APIs to connect to the database as standard JDBC can be sluggish. I'm still not sure why IBM provided a different API instead of creating drivers to connect to DB/400 using the standard interfaces (what ever happened to "write once, run anywhere"?).

Most troubling was that IBM support was less than helpful/knowledgeable (e.g: "Restart the machine?") when it came to discussing these quirks.

Summary: be prepared for the odd bout of head scratching and Googling.

Walter Rumsby
Saturday, July 12, 2003

I finally remembered the driver I used when I was doing AS/400 ODBC work with Windows. My experience is 5 years out-of-date, but the product was excellent then and we received excellent technical support (hopefully it hasn't changed).

We used StarSQL from StarQuest. See http://www.starquest.com/Productfolder/starsql.html for more information.

RocketJeff
Saturday, July 12, 2003

That's odd - I just did a presentation to a company about .NET and all their data was on the AS/400 as well.

A couple tools I found:

http://www.datadirect-technologies.com/products/dotnet/dotnetindex.asp

An AS/400 managed data provider. No ODBC or OLEDB layer at all.

http://www.clientsoft.com

Sells software to expose AS/400 software as web services.

I've never used either, but they at least looked promising.

Chris Tavares
Saturday, July 12, 2003

The AS/400 does have an OLEDB provider, as well as an ODBC one. At one point, they said they were going to stop enhancing the ODBC driver, wanting instead to focus on JDBC, but I believe the reversed that decision.

I've worked with a client-server app against an AS/400 for several years, and have been pretty pleased. In terms of optimization, load-sharing and developer tools, it's a good fast platform. The few problems we have had have occurred when IBM updated the SQL engine and, suddenly, the optimizer worked differently. The fixes for that came pretty fast though  :)

It's also an interesting architecture, based on a single-store design. I don't understand much about that stuff though so I'll stick with the application level  :)

Zahid
Sunday, July 13, 2003

You might want to revist your development strategy....
If your AS/400 is not too old it should be pretty fast. So instead of pulling through JDBC/ODBC etc. you could consider XML over HTTP (or XML over any port you like). The downside: you end up writing DB/2 stored procedures and Java code on the AS/400 (BMC SQL Programmer was always a nice tool).
The upside: Robust and fast.
:-) stw

Stephan H. Wissel
Sunday, July 13, 2003

Philo,

Have you looked around IBM's developer site? It has an incredible array of high quality material. Assuming you're looking at DB2, take a look at the link http://www7b.software.ibm.com/dmdd/ .  It has a lot of material on .NET <--> DB2 connectivity.

Nick
Sunday, July 13, 2003

Mandarin chinese isn't bad, if you don't  have to read and write in it.  AS-400 on the other hand sucks.

Simon Lucy
Sunday, July 13, 2003

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