Tool Release Zeroes in on Errant Dates

Industry analysts predict that the bulk of Year 2000 date glitches will surface in the six-month period beginning in July. For an AS/400 shop managing numerous applications with a variety of date fields, there may be many different moments in time the dreaded millennium bug strikes.

That's why ValiDate/400, LLC (Ellijay, Ga.) recently released a new version of its Year 2000 testing and verification tool which incorporates the ability to predict the exact point when applications will first encounter Y2K-related problems. In doing so, ValiDate joins a new class of monitoring tools, such as HAL Radar2000 from HAL (Markham, Ontario), which helps AS/400 shops discover when and where Y2K dates will impact their business.

The latest version of ValiDate/400 (2.3), which runs against databases, will dynamically update the status of data sets as they are accessed, says Lee Mulder, spokesman for ValiDate/400. "For example, if you're creating invoices from one day to the next, it will show when those particular data sets will hit Year 2000. The chart, in effect, updates itself every time the database is updated." ValiDate also displays information on data that may have already hit Year 2000 glitches, as well as provides a color-coded map of impacts within a 30-day period.

One corporate site is currently installing and testing Year 2000-compliant software on several AS/400 test machines, which it plans to roll out into production later in the year. "We want the software to be crisp and clean when it goes into production, and that's where ValiDate comes in," says the MIS director heading up the process. Another firm which has been addressing the Year 2000 problem since 1996 is deploying ValiDate to review three years' worth of changed software.

The latest release of Validate/400 will run on AS/400 machines which do not have an RPG compiler, but are networked to another AS/400 that does have a compiler. This is practical "for people that want to put ValiDate to work on production machines that don't have RPG compilers," Mulder says. "As long as there is an RPG compiler somewhere within the network, ValiDate will run."

ValiDate/400 is designed to monitor all database activity on the AS/400 and, when a date-related error is detected in data, the operator is alerted. An alert can be by e-mail, by pager, or by batch report. ValiDate/400 shows systems, libraries, files and fields as a Windows Explorer-like tree, in order to point the user to the exact source of the error.