AS400 Tutorials

How to Quickly Master the IBM i

September 10th, 2014 by John Andersen

Sometimes I get asked, out of all my offerings: what’s what … and how do the pieces fit together.

So let’s break it down.

If you are new to the AS/400 & IBM i world… maybe you’re an new system administrator, operator, programmer, manager, what have you.

And you need to get up to speed fast. You want to know how to get your system to startup, make sure jobs, printers and backups move smoothly along day after day.

You’ll also want to learn about the object file system, jobs and subsystems, printers and output queues, system messages, and TCP/IP connectivity.

If want help with that, then check out my Power System Jump Start.

That course covers the essential tasks every administrator needs to know.

A little known bonus about the Power System Jump Start course is that I update it from time to time. And your automatically “upgraded” to the latest and greatest version of the course. Pretty cool, huh?

Write Reports the Fast and Easy Way

Now, let’s talk about data and reports.

An IBM i is built around a database system … so at some point you’ll want to get at that data.

It might be a report, just to look at data, or you might want to change data in tables … modify tables, or create your own tables.

For that, I think the best tool is SQL.

But here’s what makes learning SQL many times more valuable: it’s portable.

You can take your SQL skills on the IBM i and, with small tweaks, use it on other platforms like MySQL, SQL Server, Oracle … or basically any other database system.

To get started with SQL today, you’ll want to check this site out: http://www.ibmisql.com

Now, that leaves custom reports.

At some point you’ll HAVE to write a custom report. And if you don’t have a reporting program already, two good alternatives exist.

Here’s what I hate about third party reporting packages: they’re usually not made for power users … so they are larded up with “features” and a bunch of screens that actually slow you down.

But for quick reports and queries, SQL alone will get the job done probably 60% of the time. You just start up an interactive SQL session and change the output to a spool file … run the SQL statement … and you’re done.

If you have SQL statements you run often, store them in a Source Physical File and then you can call them up quickly with the RUNSQLSTM command.

But, for the other 40% of the time when you need reports with totals or a lot of polish and shine Query/400 and Query Manager are good choices.

Query/400 is a bit “old school” but it works really well. Query Manager is not as well known, but you probably already have it installed and licensed on your system. Many people do and don’t even realize it.

A HUGE difference between them is the use of SQL. Query/400 doesn’t use SQL, and Query Manager does … that means Query Manager can faster because it uses the modern SQL engine on the system.

For more about writing Query/400 and IBM i Query reports, go here: http://www.queryinaflash.com

To get started with Query Manager, you’ll want to check this out: http://www.qmquery.com

And at just $33, my Query Manager course is the bargain of the century!

A note about those courses … I’m going to merge them together into one big “report writing” course very soon … and the price will very probably go up. So get it NOW while it’s a bargain deal.

How to Write Your Own Custom Programs

Finally: writing programs.

Writing custom RPG programs is when my knowledge of the system really took off.

When coding, you start to learn more about the DB2 database, the system, how it’s structured and just commands in general.

Most folks write native programs on the platform with the RPG and CL languages.

CL, or Control Language, really creates “programs” using commands. But it does have features for logic, variables, looping and control … like you’d expect in a programming language.

When you want to start automating tasks on your system, CL is a good place to start.

RPG is a natural step if you want to write “native” type programs. It’s really good for making detailed reports that need lots of logic.

And if you want to write “green-screen” programs, RPG (along with DDS) is the way to go.

If your into web apps, then PHP is available.

I don’t yet have any programming courses … but I keep hearing from you that you’d like one.

So watch this space. I’ll probably start with a CL course and go from there based on your feedback.

Until then, I’ll recommend Bryan Meyers and Judi Yeager’s book “Programming in RPG IV.” It’s how I learned RPG III and RPG IV. And I spent many late nights at work after hours, going through that book to learn RPG IV.

And you can find copies of that book on Amazon.

How IBM i Skills Become Second Nature

When you pick up one of my courses you’ll discover they are accelerated training.

As an IT professional, I get that you’re busy.

You don’t have time to wade through a thousand page manual to find a command. And forget about trying to follow a BORING audio recording — an audio might work for a Dr. Deyer self-help program — but audio is not for hands on technical tasks where you learn best by doing.

My courses shortcut the process.

They make use of “live video” tasks being done on an actual AS/400 and IBM i system.

Don’t you just HATE it when you read something in a book, try to repeat what the author did, and discover there’s a mistake or typo… and it doesn’t work.

You’re left scratching your head, and completely frustrated. And it’s not like the publisher sends you a revised copy. In fact, your lucky if they even have a forum where the author — might — might possibly poke in to fix publishing or editing mistakes.

I’ve eliminated all that hassle and frustration — with the step by step videos (and you see this especially in the SQL Course where being precise matters!) you see how it’s done. Nothing is left out.

You can trust what you’re learning works, and you can prove that it works by repeating the same EXACT SAME thing on your own system.

My Best,

-John Andersen

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