Sunday, February 19, 2012

XML to DB2 Exciting and Mind Numbing....

The past two weeks have been an exciting and mind numbing. My current task is to create interface programs that create and decompose pipe delimited text and XML documents between an iSeries @ V6R1 and a MS Windows 2008 application server application.  I will be using  the iSeries IFS /QNTC directory which is a share on the Microsoft 2008 application server to move documents between systems.

The iSeries data is created and used by an old unsupported version of Island Pacific ERP (IP). The MS application is Mid-Retail (MR). MR is providing the API’s to access their data.

After two weeks I was able to come up with an idea of how long it will take to get MR in the users hands. I have created some programs that can read and write XML based on the requirements. I spent the past couple of days putting my spreadsheets and documentation together to create a PowerPoint presentation. Friday the Project Lead (PL) and I presented our plan to the Director of Application Programming. After two hours we received the go ahead and approved my contract to the end of March. :)

The director did catch me a little off guard. In going over the possibilities for XML transformation I mentioned DB2 to XML Extender and RPGLE OAR. He showed great interest in using RPGLE OAR. After discussing the option further it was decided that was the direction we want to take.

I believe the right way to accomplish this goal is to
use RPGLE OAR and write the Handler program. Unfortunately I have never created a handler and my programming skills may not be enough to create one in the time frame needed. I have already created programs that create and read XML using RPGLE XML-SAX, IFS API, External Data Structures, Procedures/Sub Procedures and Copy source files and I am comfortable with the current time frame for the project.

I explained my concerns about my current skills and the deadline for the project. They had no problem and are willing to let me spend some time getting up to speed. I am impressed that they are willing to help me increase my skill set and are comfortable with me proceeding with the project.

After my last employer spent a year destroying my self confidence I am finely returning to normal. I have increased my skills with every step in my career and turned negative into positive. What has made me successful is, while I may not know the details of everything I know how to find and learn what I need to accomplish any task at hand.

I have never really wanted to be a full time programmer and I get a bigger sense of accomplishment being in operations helping users, managers, customers with day to day technology and data issues. But I may be changing my mind, figuring out the XML to DB2 is a big challenge and so far is fulfilling my appetite for accomplishment.

All that I needed is available on the Internet. Below are a few of the sites I gleaned information from:

The Ins and outs of XML and DB2 for i5/OS
RGPLE XML Parser example code
Working with the IFS RPG IV
IBM Rational Open Access: RPG Edtion V1.1
IBM Systems Magazine - Getting a Handle on RPG Open Access
iSeries read IFS file
DB2 XML Extender Hints and Tips

A special thanks to the following people, without them there would be no Milk Bones for the dogs.


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