Three tips for using WebFacing

Trying to find your way around IBM's WebFacing? Site expert Jim Mason guides you through three tricky areas:

  • What to do if you change the DDS display file source member after you WebFace an application
  • Alternatives to executing iSeries commands
  • WebFaced app that limits customers' view of data

  • What to do if you change the DDS display file source member after you WebFace an application

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    If you change the DDS display file source member AFTER you've WebFaced an application, Web development expert Jim Mason says you need to do the following:

    1. Reconvert only that specific DDS source file in your WebFacing application.
    2. Export your WebFacing application to a .war file again.
    3. Redeploy the .war file to your application server.

    The communication between the WebFacing Java code and the host 5250 RPG application is based on the DATA BUFFERS for input and output for each record format. Any changes to the buffers in your DDS display file or their contents require you to reconvert that specific display file.

    Alternatives to executing iSeries commands

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    Web development expert Jim Mason says WebFacing doesn't handle system user interface screens in the current release. That means commands such as WRKSPLF won't work in a WebFaced applications. You have several options to handle this situation:

    1. Spend money (maybe lots) to get a different IBM or third-party solution (iSeries Access for Web, HATS, etc.). -- Bad idea
    2. Upgrade to the Advanced edition of WDSC, which has a spool file viewer built in. –- OK, but costs real money to upgrade
    3. Buy or find a spool file to PDF utility to generate PDF files from spool files. -- Not a bad choice
    4. Create your RPG application to select, view spool files and WebFace that. A number of customers have already done this. -- Good choic.
    5. Create simple CL "wrapper" commands with input parms for your key system commands. Then use the Web interaction wizard in WDSC to Web-enable the CL commands. You CAN'T get results from WRKSPLF, BUT for other commands it's great. -- Great where it fits

    WebFaced app that limits customers' view of data

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    Is it possible to place some of WebFaced applications on the Internet for use by customers and make it so each customer views only their information? Web development expert Jim Mason says yes, but it takes some programming.

    Here's the basic model that his team followed:

    1. A customer logs in to a basic security Web application. (We have a simple Web security system.)
    2. During login, we record the user's customer name, account number as the current information in a session variable.
    3. When the WebFacing 5250 application starts, a CL program is passed the session variables as parms. The CL program runs an OPNQRYF using the customer number restricting orders to only those for this customer.
    4. We automatically populated the customer number field on the initial order inquiry screens by modifying the generated screens.

    This was first published in September 2004

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