Report Servers Interface With the Web, Lotus Notes

AS/400 users taking advantage of the Web and Lotus Notes are finding these technologies invaluable for providing clients with interfaces to enterprise data. The availability of two products from RJS Software Systems Inc. (Minneapolis) promises to bring AS/400 Web and Lotus Notes users even closer to their back-end data.

Both WinSpool/400 Lotus Notes Report Server and WinSpool/400 Web Report Server work in conjunction with RJS Software's WinSpool/400 Batch Report Server product to allow text or AFP/IPDS reports to be downloaded to, respectively, either a Lotus Notes/Domino database or a CGI-compatible Web server.

"We've given our customers real savings by taking advantage of existing technologies and lowering the cost of AS/400 reporting says Arnold Blauert, VP of RJS Software Systems.

WinSpool/400 Lotus Notes Report Server is designed to locate AS/400 reports using the Lotus Notes search engine. "It's a totally automated process to pull the AS/400 reports onto the network and store them in the Lotus Notes Knowledge database that we have defined," Blauert says. "The user can also enhance that knowledge database to fit their environment, as long as they don't change the original set up that we put out there. They can add to it but they can't take away."

The WinSpool/400 Batch Report Server is the front-end feed to the Lotus Notes Report Server. "There are two steps to this process -- getting everything off the AS/400 and putting it into Lotus Notes," Blauert explains. "The Batch Report Server provides all the necessary logic and table setting to pull the reports off the AS/400 and convert them into the format the end users want. The Lotus Notes portion provides the logic to take that report, move it into Lotus Notes and set up the indexing within Lotus Notes."

The Lotus Notes Report Server also features: full text indexing; the capability to view/print AS/400 reports on a Lotus Notes Server via a Web browser; the consolidation of reports from multiple AS/400s; the customization of the Lotus Notes database template to conform with individual business environments; automatic conversion from AS/400 reports to PDF, RTF or HTML formats; and the capability to save the Lotus Notes database to CD for permanent archive.

"Most users of Lotus Notes simply use the product as an e-mail system," says Richard Schoen, president of RJS Software Systems. "With the introduction of the Lotus Notes Server software, Lotus Notes/Domino Servers can now be used as a report warehouse for all the report information being generated on an AS/400. When a Notes database becomes too large, it can be burned off to CD-ROM."

Whereas the Notes Report Server takes the approach of making reports available to Lotus Notes, the WinSpool/400 Web Report Server makes the information available to end users accessing data through the Internet. The product will support any Web server that is CGI-compatible, according to Blauert. The Batch Report Server provides the front-end feed to the Web Report Server as well and stores reports out on the network in an area the user specifies. "Together, the Batch Report Server and the Web Report Server provide the link to the end user to point to those reports using their Web browser," he adds.

The Web Report Server also features: an interactive search engine for retrieval of AS/400 reports matching selection criteria; consolidation of reports from multiple AS/400s; automatic conversion of AS/400 reports to PDF, RTF or HTML formats; the option to delete AS/400 reports from the Web server after the reports are viewed; and the capability to work with any Windows 95/98/NT CGI-compatible Web server.