New Tool Sets AS/400 On Course for EuroLand

Year 2000 glitches may, in many cases, cause traceable system failures, which are bound to show up in testing. However, no errors will be evident in systems not ready for the Euro currency conversion -- errant calculations will sail through undetected.

That's why in preparing and testing for Euro compliance, "there's no time for scan and guess," relates Steven Sroczynski, director of channel sales and marketing for Visionet Systems (Princeton, NJ.). "You'll still get an answer, it just won't be the right one."

Visionet is now beta-testing a Euro compliance kit for AS/400s that borrows technology from its Year 2000 toolset. EMU/400 will begin shipping later this year, according to Sroczynski. Visionet intends to market the product to European AS/400 sites, as well as U.S.-based multinational companies.

EMU/400 consists of three components similar to the Year 2000 process -- starting with currency field identification in existing databases, followed by actual code modification and testing.

The tool supports both twin currency and multi-currency formats. Twin-currency formats -- the simpler approach -- introduces one currency identification flag for each currency field in the database. In multi-currency formats, each currency field inside the database is duplicated, and duplicated fields are assigned an associated composite flag. This is instrumental in cases where reports are required for local, EMU and both currencies. Currency values are stored with up to eight decimal digits to avoid rounding errors, according to Visionet.

Fixing and testing for Euro compliance is far more complex than Year 2000 remediation, and typically requires addition customization along with tool usage, Sroczynski points out. "Unlike Y2K renovation, there are interim steps. Virtually every given European currency project will by definition include custom work or project work that is client-specific."

Visionet's inventory tool -- part of its Millennium/400 toolset -- runs with EMU/400 to uncover currency-related fields and data, as well as identify potential source code mismatches. EMU/400 runs against both RPG and Cobol code.