FAQ: How Does Sequel Data Access Go Beyond SQL/400 Queries?

October 26, 2016

While SQL/400 is powerful and convenient, it doesn’t provide all of the functions necessary to service the business intelligence needs of most organizations.

Sequel Data Access does. With Sequel, you can analyze data to make important business decisions and deliver data to users in seconds.

Have questions? Great—we’ve got answers to the most common questions SQL/400 users ask before upgrading to Sequel Data Access.


We like using SQL/400 for queries. Why should we switch to Sequel?

SQL/400 queries are powerful, but they have limits. Sequel helps you go beyond SQL while still using the power of SQL coding to create queries. All you need to do is use the drag and drop GUI. With Sequel, you can easily query data from IBM i, as well as remote data sources like Microsoft SQL Server and Oracle. As a result, you’ll gain flexibility and ensure you have every piece of the puzzle you need.

Plus, with Sequel, you can use the green screen or you can take advantage of business user-friendly options like the graphical user interface (GUI) or browser interface.


What’s wrong with using the green screen?

Nothing! In fact, Sequel can greatly enhance green screen applications, allowing you to call Sequel from 5250 menus. Plus, you can incorporate Sequel’s ability to present prompting at run time, output to Excel, and email data easily from a green screen menu.

Sequel makes it easier to go beyond the limits of traditional green screen queries. SQL/400 makes it difficult.

Ready to see Sequel for yourself? Request a free demo >


Does Sequel run against the new query engine?

Absolutely! The new query engine—SQL Query Engine (SQE)—helps you access data faster. SQE is especially useful if your organization has larger files and millions of records. You can run Sequel against the SQE to query all of that data fast.


Where do Sequel objects run from? How can we be sure they’re secure?

Sequel objects run from your trusty IBM i! You can view data or results on Windows, a browser, or a green screen, and they are safely stored on IBM i—even when working with Microsoft SQL Server or Oracle. Plus, you don’t need to set up an ODBC connection.

By running Sequel objects from IBM i, your programmers can retain control over what people are viewing, changing, and creating.


Can Sequel run from green screen menus?

Yes. Sequel is command-driven, so it works from command menus. This makes your IBM i data access even more flexible than before.


Speaking of commands… Which types of commands can we use with Sequel?

Whichever commands make your life easier. For example, Sequel allows you to use “execute” commands to email or FTP a file and “display” commands to view a query.


What about run-time prompts—can we add them to our queries?

Yes, with Sequel you can add prompts so that users can choose their own path at run time. Sequel even offers automatic prompting displays that are far less restrictive and much more easy to use than the parameters in SQL/400.


How does the Sequel syntax compare to SQL/400?

It’s easier to work with! Sequel’s syntax includes more built-in functions that make it easier for users to work with their data. Plus, users can flip between a graphical display of their query and the technical detail behind it.


We’re JDE users. Does Sequel work with JDE files?

Yes! Sequel’s built-in JDE logical file command (BLDJDELF) and connecting to a JDE driver makes querying against JDE files so much easier than it is with SQL/400. Plus, Sequel abides by JDE security rules and offers row-level security.


What if we need to convert numeric or character fields to date data fields?

You can—quickly and easily. With Sequel, you can use the CVTDATE function to convert numeric or character data fields to IBM i date data type fields.


How will Sequel help us compare data?

Sequel makes it easy to compare data and slice-and-dice it to meet your business needs. Use Sequel tables to automatically summarize data with rows, columns, and totals. Enhance the table by adding rankings, percent of total, and other calculations. Plus, tabling views organize data into columns for categories like regions and time periods.


Will Sequel help business users understand data?

Of course! With Sequel, you can edit fields—like column headings—and customize them for your business users. This makes it easier for business users to understand what they are looking at.


How will Sequel help us give information to business users?

Three words: access, analyze, deliver.

Sequel makes it easy for business users to access data on their own. All they need is basic Windows skills and the GUI or browser—and then they no longer need to wait for business information.

Taking data and turning it into the usable information that business users need is also a breeze with Sequel. Business users gain the ability to work with the data interactively with drill-down or pivot analysis, graphical visualizations, or an Excel spreadsheet.

Plus, with Sequel, you can deliver the query so that users can simply click and run it when they need it. Or you can deliver the data to users directly via email or FTP and in the exact PC format they want (in just one click).


We don’t want our users to have too much power. Can we control data access levels?

You don’t have to give users the power to use Sequel themselves. Your organization has the option to keep data access securely in the hands of IT or give it to users in controlled levels.

In addition to IBM object-level authority, Sequel offers library-, file-, field-, and row-level security. You can allow users to access at whichever level is the best fit for your organization. And you can rest assured that users won’t see anything outside of their authority.


Our users prefer PC files. Can Sequel export directly to Excel, PDF, and other PC formats?

Definitely—and much faster than what you’re used to. With SQL/400, it can easily take 20 minutes (or more) to copy and paste the data into a PC document. Sequel expedites the process. In just one click, you can deliver your data in an Excel file, a PDF, or however else your users need it. It’s immediate, and it helps you meet your users’ needs quickly.


What about email? Is there an easy way to email results to users?

Absolutely. You don’t even have to leave the Sequel interface. All you have to do is click to email results. You can even automate the process within a daily, weekly, or monthly scheduled job. Plus, you’ll be able to choose how your users receive the data (i.e, an Excel file) and designate who to send the data to. You can’t do that with SQL/400.


How about FTP?

Yes! Sequel makes it simple for you to FTP the file to wherever the user needs it. No additional steps necessary.


What if our users are on the road? How do we deliver data to them?

It’s simple: Sequel’s browser interface option makes it easy for you to deliver data to the users wherever, whenever. And you won’t need to install additional software. SQL/400 won’t let you—you need to have command line access.  


Will Sequel really save us time? How much?

Yes, Sequel can save you significant time throughout the query process!

With SQL/400, you’re constantly modifying SQL to update and run queries again and again. But with Sequel, you can use the same query multiple times—saving you serious time. You can even schedule a job to automatically deliver a report at a certain day/time.

Another key way to save time with Sequel is by taking advantage of scripts. You can combine processes and steps into a single Sequel script. Sequel scripts are powerful and can handle any Sequel or IBM i commands—no compiling necessary. For instance, the script can process and distribute reports. Or it might collect data from several local and remote databases, then consolidate the information before exporting it.


What if we need help using Sequel?

Let us know. The HelpSystems technical support team is ready and waiting to answer your questions on live chat or a call. Whether you’d like advice on best practices or to learn how to use a new feature, you can count on us.


How long does it take to get to ROI? How much will we save?

Not long at all! Sequel is easy to implement and, as a result, offers a rapid return on investment (ROI). You can get up and running in under an hour. Since you have many options to license Sequel—from concurrent user-based options to an unrestricted license—you can find the right fit for your business.

Plus, Sequel protects your budget over the long-term. With Sequel, programmers can decrease the time it takes to get key information to business users and give users the ability to analyze and quickly respond to critical business situations.

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Sequel Data Access can help you go beyond the limits of SQL/400. With Sequel, it’s easy to turn data into useful information and deliver it to users in whatever format it’s needed in.

Get started with Sequel today. Start a free 30-day trial and see for yourself how easy it can be to get more out of your business intelligence.

See how Sequel compares to SQL/400