> Buck Calabro:
>...Here's an example.  How many times have we
>seen "How do I get my iSeries database file on Excel?"  As long as the
>answer to that is convoluted, we're losing ground.  There should be a very
>lightweight (not Ops Nav) means to simply drag a DBF onto the Excel icon
>BAM!  It's on the PC.

I agree.  It's embarrassing to have to install a huge chunk of the Client
Access "Express" client to get even ODBC/OLE-DB.  What you're saying (I
think) is that a system's integration within itself is nice, but integration
with users' real world products is of critical importance.

>All the PC software in the world seems to be able
>to import/export comma delimited files.  It's a frequent question as to how
>to get OS400 to do that, and it's rarely successful on the first try.  Why?
>If we wrote a lightweight means to drag/drop and preview the "transfer"
>would go lickety-split!

This one is a slippery slope, I think.  Things have definitely become easier
with the CPYTOIMPF command, but it's fairly new and it doesn't equate to
desktop integration.  Still I think part of the problem is that we think of
our database tables as "files".  No one expresses the same degree of
contempt for Oracle if you have to configure (and secure) third-party layers
to give users safe desktop integration with their database.  It's easy
conceptually to say "if the accountants could just download that file into a
spreadsheet it would save loads of time".  Opening up the database to
external hooks requires that you deal with table, column, and row security
issues -- issues that you've already dealt with on the application side.
Also, once you download the accountants' table the next request is going to
be a join to the cost center descriptions.  Pretty soon you're opening your
database up to ad-hoc query.  Not that there's anything wrong with that...

In the past 15 years I've probably seen twenty or so projects from hell that
started as simple spreadsheet downloads.  I guess I'm saying that I agree
with your ideas as long as the Excel integration is scoped properly.  It's
not just a download or database link.


James P. Damato
Manager - Technical Administration
Dollar General Corporation

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