In a previous blog post, we discussed configuring 5250 sessions in IBM i Access Client Solutions, but we did not touch on the multiple ways the sessions can be launched. IBM has provided startup programs that allow you to create shortcuts and launch a session in a single step. You can even create a .bat file that will execute an SQL statement to retrieve information from IBM i tables and place the results in a .xlsx spreadsheet file.
Copy and Paste Functions
The new software has some differences in the copy/paste function. In the old product for Windows, if you copied some text and pasted it into an input field, it would always overlay the existing text. Now if you press Insert first, it will move the existing text inserting the pasted value. This only works if your inserted value does not go beyond the last position on the line, so there are some “gotchas” if you are not careful.
Another thing I noticed is that if you want to copy a value from a screen, say a customer number as an example, you can now just point to the number and double-click. A single value will now be selected and you can just copy and paste. This appears to work the same way that it would in a Word document, on a web page, etc., as it stops the selection if it encounters a space, period, quote, or another special character.
Another change that occurred was with macro execution. In the old interface, I had several recorded macros that were tied to a certain key sequence. An example is that Alt-E was setup to run a macro called Email that keyed in my email address at the cursor. This was to save me from keying that value in over and over again. I set the same macro up in the new version also, and what I found is that the keystrokes are entered instantly (< 1 sec.), instead of appearing slowly on the screen.
Additional changes are found in the printer definition in the new software. There is a graphic screen that displays when the printer is activated instead of the text-based screen with the pop-up control window. It is also much smaller than the previous version, so it takes up a lot less space on your screen. There are also several more configuration options to allow you more flexibility to match your PC or network.
ODBC for Windows and Linux
There is also a new Open Database Connectivity for Windows and Linux for those who require a connection from another application. Unlike the emulator, there are different versions for Windows and Linux, and you have to install the functionality. When I tried to install ODBC for Windows, I got a notification that it was already installed. Perhaps this new separate package exactly matches what was installed with IBM i Access for Windows.
This package also contains the .net provider that was IBM i Access for Windows. I have an Excel macro, that was created in Visual Basic, that allows me to key in an SQL statement and retrieve data from files on the IBM i, placing the results in a new worksheet. After I uninstalled IBM i Access for Windows and installed the new package, the application still worked.
Have you started using IBM i Access Client Solutions? What changes from its predecessor have you noticed?