Buck,

I work for a company that specializes in the telecom billing and
everything else that goes with it. So I'll suggest you what I thing is a
right way to do it, based on my experience. Of course, no need to
mention that what ever I write is my personal professional opinion, and
is not in any way connected to the company I work for :)))

So, the best way to do that is to convert the invoice into pdf format. I
can send you some samples privately if you are interested. PDF approach
has advantages: doesn't depend on customers choice of browser or
settings, customer can print and mail remittance page. You can put all
the postal bar codes necessary there. Bookmarks can be put to mark parts
of bigger invoice, reports can be separated, company logo inserted ...
one word looks much better and more professional than html.

 I had to deal with a large (huge) invoices that contained over 80 000
pages (big corporate accounts that track call details within hierarchy).
PDF can be split into pieces and provide links between
predecessors/successors (5000 pages looks like a reasonable limit for a
typical PC today).

There are two ways to approach creation of invoice images: real time
through servlets or JSP, or create them as you run your billing. First
approach is possible and has its appeal but second is more efficient as
most customers will come to create/view their invoice anyway, and for
the rest you might want to print them. Either way, I found JAVA based
solutions for PDF creation way better than proprietary iSeries ways (no
flames please :))) my personal favorite is iText library of classes.

Feel free to mail me personally if you think I can be of more help.

Vanja Jovic,

Canada


Buck.Calabro@commsoft.net wrote:

I am the RPG guy, not a Web guy and so my question needs to be viewed in
that light.

Our Web person is struggling with her adaptation to the iSeries.  We have
customers who have multi-million record database files and this is
apparently none too common in the Java/Web universe.  In particular, we're
looking at ways to present a telephone bill on the web.  Most residential
users' bills can fit on two or three printed pages, and that's easy to do.
What's harder is a commercial customer who might have 5,000 toll calls a
month.  Or more.

We started by using the Java toolbox and direct program calls to RPG
programs to fetch the data.  Call the "customer summary" program and get
back the 20 or so data elements that make up the top of the bill.  Call the
"taxes" program and get back the dozen or so data elements that make up the
taxes section.  The ProgramCall class is nice because it has connection
pooling.

Then we get to long distance calls.  First, the direct program call method
has a 35 parameter limitation.  Second, it costs about .3 seconds per call.
Doing the math, it would take 25 minutes to call the "get a toll record"
program 5000 times.  Not a bargain.  By blocking the call records up (that
is, stuffing as many records as we can into a 64kb parameter) we can reduce
the number of calls considerably.  This does not seem terribly promising
from a maintenance standpoint.  Ultimately, there's a limit.  We're
prototyping a JDBC solution now, but data queues have been bandied about
too.

So.  Has anyone tried to routinely display a list that contains five or ten
thousand entries on the web?  What architectural approach did you take?
  --buck
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