Going From Spool File to HTML

Dynamic Systems Solutions Inc. (DSS, Pompano Beach, Fla.) has released the Web Report Creator, which is designed to facilitate the conversion of AS/400 spooled files to HTML format for automatic transport to the Web and with the claim that it eases the flow of information transfer and distribution, allowing organizations to increase user productivity.

To use the Web Report Creator, users complete the setup information, which includes defining background, fonts, images, etc., and the product does the rest.
The application is equipped with an AS/400 Internet Server and LAN-based capability, as well as automatic update of Web report postings, to provide a method for remote user access to information via the Internet.

“If a business is using an Intranet or Virtual Private Network (VPN) to distribute information to its staff or outside the company, they can simply put them into a queue on the AS/400. Those reports will then automatically trigger the Web Report Creator to access and download them—either to a Web hosting AS/400 or a LAN-based Web hosting system,” says Rob Kirkwood, DSS VP. “They will be delivered in HTML format with minimal effort; you just need to set it up and forget it. Later, whenever you run that specified report, the Web Report Creator will refresh your Intranet content with the new data.”

Kirkwood says companies can save time by delivering updated AS/400 reports via e-mail to selected groups, rather than sending out individual messages. “Before, users had to find the most current version of a report, download it and attach it to several e-mails for different departments in the company. Now, when users log onto the company Intranet, they can view specific pages for various departments, or they can all look at the same Web pages—whatever you decide.”

To use the Web Report Creator, users complete the setup information, which includes defining background, fonts, images, etc., and the product does the rest. Users also have the capability of going into further definitions. For example, if two people run the same report, that report can be defined by individual user, by job name, by user data, or by whatever target is necessary to identify it on the Web server—which is all generated into the spool file. Web Report Creator will convert the specified spooled file into HTML format and dynamically transport it to the specified Web page where the appropriate users can access the desired information from any location.

Reports can also be reformatted in HTML, so when data is printed off the Web, it will appear with the same characteristics. Web Report Creator can increase or decrease the font size, and handles reports from 132 to 240 characters wide. Kirkwood claims it is a simple matter to turn a very bland AS/400 character-controlled type of report into a customized format.

The Web Report Creator is not targeted at any specific industry, but rather toward any company that uses the Internet as part of its information solution. Users of the product range from small companies that need store managers to review P&L reports from their intranet, up to multimillion dollar firms that want to transport financial statements or sales/marketing information out to their sales staff around the country.DSS reports there is no limitation on the number of spool files that can be processed at once—as many report files as users want to set up in the table, that’s how many the Web Report Creator will try to process.The length of time for data processing is a direct function of the size of the spool file. “We once had a 10-page report file—to translate it, do all the coding, then transfer it to the LAN, only took about 20 seconds,” says Kirkwood. “This is a very efficient application that does not require resizing machines or keeping disk considerations in mind when using the Web Report Creator.”

In addition to the Web Report Creator, DSS offers software solutions for transition to electronic report distribution across multiple platforms. The DSS Report Distribution suite includes the AS/400 Document Routing System to facilitate the transfer and distribution of AS/400 spooled files via e-mail. The product includes report splitting, multiple copy distribution and automatic transfer capabilities.Pricing for the Web Report Creator is serial-number based per AS/400 and begins at $1,200.

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