Article

Sequel Versus the Other IBM i Data Access Tools

Go Beyond Tools like Query/400 and SQL/400
IBM i
Posted:
February 1, 2017


IBM i shops have a unique struggle when it comes to data access. They often lack the staff or the tools necessary to keep up with their data access requests. And once IT departments access the data, they don’t have an easy way to analyze or deliver data to users in the formats they need.

Whether IT departments are using other query tools or coding manual programs in RPG or COBOL, the result is the same: wasted time, frustrated users, and weary IT staff.

That’s not the case with Sequel Data Access. Sequel modernizes IBM i data access and eliminates the problems associated with other data access tools. Whether you need to query data from a graphical user interface (GUI), analyze data in modern executive dashboards, or deliver data in Microsoft Excel, Sequel is the right data access tool for you.

 

Take Your Queries to the Next Level: Data Views

Sequel makes it easy to create and use views (otherwise known as queries) to access the data you need. You can run queries in a traditional green screen, or you can use a graphical user interface (GUI) on Windows or any web browser.

Plus, you can use just one tool to pull together IBM i and remote data from databases like Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL, and Oracle. When you have all of your data in one spot, you can be certain you’re looking at one clear version of the truth.

Sequel makes it simple to:

  • Use conditional logic
  • Manipulate dates
  • Add calculations
  • Employ a JOIN function for derived fields
  • Merge data or join files
  • Select records, including selecting records for summarized fields
  • Sequence derived fields
  • Use DB2, Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL, and Microsoft Excel as data sources

With Sequel, you can produce modern queries much more quickly than you can with other query tools or by manually writing programs. You’ll be creating and running queries faster than ever before—plus, you’ll save time.

 

Let the Queries Prompt Your Users (and Lighten Your Load)

Your users can define and change requests at run time with run-time prompts. All you need to do is fill in the values on a prompt screen and users can filter the data any way they need it. Plus, your users can re-run a query to prompt a different data set each time—without asking you for a new query.

Sequel helps you:

  • Set run-time prompts
  • Receive formatted prompts automatically
  • Prompt interactively, then submit to batch
  • Use up to 50 variables per view
  • Create prompt designs (if you’re a programmer)
  • Prompt for any part of a query
  • Create a drop-down list based on database values

When your users can prompt different sets of data from the same query, it takes work off your plate.

 

Modernize Data Analysis and Turn Data into Information

Data means nothing if your users can’t understand it. Users need to be able to hone in on specific details and look at the big picture to spot trends.

Sequel makes it simple to get every facet of data analysis your users need. Users can drill down into the details to see the exact level of information they need. Or you can deliver data to users with visual elements to simplify the decision-making process.

Slice and Dice Data in Tables

Other data access tools leave users at a loss for turning data into information. Sequel, on the other hand, offers two types of pivot tables to help your business users understand the data.

Sequel Host Tables let users:

  • Create rows and columns dynamically or based on conditionals
  • Produce a grand total line
  • Add percentage of totals
  • Add rankings
  • Pivot data interactively

Sequel Client Tables let users analyze large amounts of data:

  • Drag and drop rows and columns
  • Filter, highlight, and summarize data
  • Drill into data for greater understanding
  • Arrange data to create custom layouts
  • Export the table to a PC

Make Decisions with Executive Dashboards

Visualizing data is key to understanding it. While data access tools like Query/400 and SQL/400 don’t give you the ability to visualize data, Sequel makes it easy with executive dashboards.

When executives and business users can visualize data, it’s easy to make informed decisions.

Sequel’s executive dashboards help users:

  • Spot trends with graphs
  • Take the temperature of the business with gauges
  • Compare data in charts
  • Make data-driven decisions
  • Distribute data in one click with action buttons
  • Act on information quickly

Business users and executives can even build their own dashboards using Sequel’s GUI and browser interfaces.

See Your IBM i Data in Microsoft Excel

Business users love Microsoft Excel, and they prefer to see and work with their data in Excel. Sequel helps you take data access beyond the limits of Query/400 and SQL/400 with diverse Excel functionality.

There are four easy ways that you can use Sequel with Excel:

  1. Use Excel as a data source
  2. Access data in Excel itself
  3. View data results in Excel
  4. Deliver data results in Excel

When you choose a modern IBM i data access tool like Sequel, your users get what they want—IBM i data in Excel—and you’ll be able to deliver it faster than ever before.

Create Sophisticated Reports

Creating a report using other data access tools (like Query/400) is tedious, time-consuming, and difficult. With Sequel, it’s a breeze. You gain two options for creating sophisticated reports. Use Sequel Report Writer to meet your basic reporting needs or take your reports to the next level with Sequel Client Reports module. You can even create reports that normally require programming!

Sequel Report Writer makes it easy for anyone to:

  • Utilize a graphical report design layout
  • Add conditional calculation sat detail time and total time
  • Add calculations at level breaks (total time)
  • Add calculations before and after records are read
  • Employ multi-line formatting
  • Use block moves for fields and text
  • Utilize total line spacing and skipping control

Sequel Client Reports offer total control over reports by enabling you to:

  • Control font, shading, and graphics completely
  • Enhance the appearance of reports
  • Create professional high-quality reports

 

Deliver Data in One Click

There’s no need to exert extra effort to deliver data to those who need it. With Sequel, it’s a matter of clicks. You can deliver data as it’s needed, or you can set up jobs to automatically deliver regular data results (i.e., month-end reports).

With Sequel, you can click to:

  • Create spooled files
  • Save as PC files (i.e., Microsoft Excel)
  • Save to Integrated File System (IFS), a local drive, or a network drive
  • Email as a PC file or spooled file
  • FTP to other systems or platforms
  • Print data results

 

Empower Users with a Graphical User Interface

Make it easy for business users to access data with Sequel’s graphical user interface, Sequel Viewpoint. With Sequel Viewpoint, your users don’t need to be technical experts or understand languages like SQL in order to get the data they need.

Sequel Viewpoint empowers users to:

  • Build their own views with helpful templates
  • Streamline the design process with a wizard
  • Take advantage of user-friendly graphical file layouts with complete field attributes
  • Navigate prompts for fields, calculations, and functions
  • Drag and drop files and fields to build views and reports quickly

 

Retain Control for Programmers

There’s no need to be nervous about giving users too much access to IBM i data. Sequel ensures that IT retain control over who can access what and where.

Sequel offers added benefits for your programming team. For instance, Sequel’s file maintenance commands allow programmers to make updates or deletions based on joins without writing the program. Plus, the open Sequel file command (OPNSQLF) is an easy alternative to other query tools—like Query/400. On top of that, programmers can restrict any Sequel command with IBM i object authority.

Programmers especially enjoy the ability to:

  • Keep data secure by controlling user defaults
  • Use file maintenance commands
  • Use the OPNSQLF command
  • Make use of Sequel from a command line
  • Take advantage of Sequel commands in programs
  • Maximize queries with UNION and subquery functions

Save Time with Sequel Scripting

With Sequel’s scripting capabilities, your programmers can perform multiple Sequel (or non-Sequel) steps without writing a CL program.

Sequel scripts make it easy to:

  • Perform multiple steps without compiling
  • Run or modify scripts form a menu or command line
  • Pass variables to multiple steps without CL programming
  • Import CL source into a script definition
  • Analyze each step
  • Create scripts using an interactive script editor
  • Run scripts interactively or in a batch
  • Save a script as one Sequel user space object

Plus, Sequel Script Views combine the multi-step processing capabilities of standard scripts with the output options of a view.

Let’s Get Started

Sequel Data Access relieves pressure on IT and makes it easy for business users and executives to get the information they need quickly. Plus, Sequel offers world-class technical support who are ready and waiting to answer your questions and help you make the most of Sequel.