Successive QMF releases have progressively introduced features which broaden the appeal and utility of QMF across the enterprise users base, while retaining the z/OS-focused functionality that has sustained QMF as the reporting infrastructure of choice for DB2 for z/OS customers. Going back to our slide contrasting QMF with Cognos, we saw the uptake in BA tools such as Cognos within less technical user communities and knew we had to step up our game. Our customers told us their users of QMF liked what it had to offer but they needed more … a lot more. Also, many of our most ardent supporters were asking us to up the ante so they could entice new users to take advantage of QMF’s power and efficiency … well here you are. Now we have added mobile support thus keeping pace with the ever-changing world of end user interfaces and the emerging mobile world.
… and we have seen a parallel evolution of the objects themselves: QMF for TSO/CICS renders queries, reports, and procedures using the productive and well-known 3270-based user interface. QMF for Windows ran the same queries, reports, and procedures presenting the resulting content within a desktop application user interface. Later versions of QMF for Windows also introduced a ‘visual report’ format, capable of augmenting text-based reports with images and lines but the output wasn’t quite as graphical as some other potential solutions. QMF V10 introduces significant enhancements, including interactive dashboards and full-featured graphical reporting. Collectively, this provides all enterprise users with access to QMF queries, reports and procedures in a modern and versatile form that is suitable for all skill levels. Fixpack 5 now offers new graphics and charting capabilities that dramatically extend the ability to produce very elegant and sophisticated output in keeping with today’s BA solutions.
QMF visual reports build upon the features of the traditional text-based QMF reports. In fact, visual reports can be automatically generated from classic QMF forms/reports. Visual reports include the following additional features: A rich graphical palette containing dozens of charts, visual primitives and data presentation elements. Ability to conditionally format data using property expressions to dynamically present information tailored to the privileges of the viewer. Support for reports execution interactively or in batch (scheduled) mode. Reports can be viewed in HTML, Flash or PDF. Reports offer comparable functionality to dashboards only laid out on a page-based canvas.
This is not a comprehensive list of benefits but it does illustrate many of the new features/functions available to you. Keep in mind the majority of the innovations are enabled via the Workstation and WebSphere components. I am repeating myself a bit as I want to heavily emphasize that this is a new QMF. For example, in Fixpack 5 we added a new query object we call an Analytics Query. It provides the ability to define an extremely complex (if need be) series of data access, analysis, transforms, and more as a single object. As most BA requests come in the form of “word problems, this new query provides a means to encapsulate the entire request/problem within a single object. It is unique, it is new, and surpasses the existing BA tools on the market today. Statistical Product and Service Solutions
QMF for Workstation and WebSphere support the creation of: QMF queries – draw data from a given data source (OLAP or relational). Ability to manipulate data in the query results grid, including side groups, top groups, aggregations, sorting, filtering (via parameter prompts – e.g. region=x or date > xyz). Directly export resulting data to Excel, PDF document or generate a QMF report or visual report from it. Now with new analytic queries you can create a self-contained BA solution with complex data access, analysis, and rendering all within a single object. Tabular (text only) or visual reports allow content to be formatted for end user consumption. Visual reports support unlimited queries and data sources per report, bringing together various data sets into one presentation. Reports can be executed interactively or scheduled for execution at periodic intervals. Dashboards present data in an interactive visual form, allowing users to click through information and dynamically apply constraints to the data. Dashboards can concurrently draw data from an unlimited number of relational and multi-dimensional data sources and support a wide variety of presentation options. Dashboards are deployed via the workstation or web environment and can be rendered in HTML, Flash or PDF format.
QMF for WebSphere provides the most effective means of disseminating QMF content across the enterprise, allowing users to access QMF queries, reports or dashboards via an ordinary web browser or mobile devices. Powers users can also use the web interfaces to create, edit or run QMF queries and create or apply reports to the resulting data. Note there are several output formats available thus the end users can specify not only where to route the output but what format to use.
QMF’s graphical reporting and dashboard capabilities are complemented by enhancements to the traditional ad-hoc querying features that QMF customers have heavily relied upon over the decades. QMF provides workstation and web users with three methods by which queries can be developed or edited: Diagram view allows queries to be graphically developed using a table wire diagram. Users can draw from pre-configured Entity Relationship Diagrams (ERDs) or simply drag and drop tables from the database explorer view onto the diagram. This form of query designer will be familiar to users of modern SQL development toolsets. SQL editor with built-in content assist and code completion significantly increase productivity by auto-completing or dynamically suggesting columns and functions as the SQL is typed. Prompted query builder methodically leads the user through the query design process, from the selection of tables to the joins between them, the columns of interest, aggregations, conditions and sorting. As with the diagram view, this allows users to rapidly build queries without SQL knowledge. Users can develop queries using any of the three methods above. Queries can be developed across all three editors – for example, the diagram view could be used to select tables, the prompted view to set conditions and the SQL view to further refine. Any changes made in a given view are automatically reflected in the other two. Thus the user can switch back and forth depending upon which interface they prefer or from which they need to take advantage.
For those with SQL skills or even those who wish to embellish a query with operations not available in the diagram or prompted modes, QMF provides a direct SQL query creation feature. For some usage, the creator wants to exactly specify the SQL statements with no interpretation or clever GUI to mask the statements. It may well be that a customer wishes to accept SQL from another tool and populate a QF query with it for comparison or migration purposes. The SQL supported will be determined by the source database.
Operational Analytics is emerging as a strong requirement for many customers today. With IMS 11 and beyond and QMF’s JDBC support, you can now directly access IMS and extract detailed, transaction level data with speed and confidence. IMS customers do not utilize this to submit large queries to IMS, rather they use the need for immediate and up to date data being effectively queried by QMF. Think of a customer service rep needing to access the latest incidents with all the details and view the results in a report, a chart, or a dashboard.
For clients that connect to IMS DB through ODBM, such as the IMS™ Universal drivers and clients using the Distributed Relational Database Architecture (DRDA), IMS Connect authenticates the user, but does not check the authority of the user to perform any actions. To authenticate a user ID for an IMS DB client, IMS Connect can use the IMS Connect DB Security user exit routine (HWSAUTH0), a security product such as RACF, or both. IMS Connect only calls the HWSAUTH0 user exit when RACF=Y. If RACF support is included in your IMS Connect configuration, IMS Connect calls the HWSAUTH0 user exit before invoking RACF. The HWSAUTH0 user exit routine can override the input user ID with a different user ID and can provide a RACF group ID to be authenticated further by IMS Connect. The HWSAUTH0 user exit routine is a BPE type-1 user exit routine and is refreshable. RACF is enabled in IMS Connect for IMS DB and IMS TM clients by specifying RACF=Y in the IMS Connect configuration member or by issuing the IMS Connect command SETRACF ON. IMS Connect does not support Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) directly for clients that connect to IMS DB. To secure connections to IMS DB with SSL, use IBM® z/OS® Communications Server Application Transparent Transport Layer Security feature (AT-TLS). The use of AT-TLS is transparent to IMS Connect. If IMS Connect is the ODBM client, ODBM extracts the userid from the RACO passed in from IMS Connect If ODBM uses the CCTL DRA interface (ie. RRS=N was specified for ODBM startup), ODBM will pass the RACF userid/groupname to IMS in fields PAPLUSRN and PAPLGRPN. If ODBM uses the ODBA AER interface (ie. RRS=Y was specified for ODBM startup), ODBM will call RACF with RACO to clone an ACEE off the AER Thread TCB. If the ODBM client is using the CSLDMI API and is authorized, the userid will be one of USERID parm, SECTOKEN parm, or the ODBM address space userid specified on the USER= startup JCL if neither USERID nor SECTOKEN are specified. If the ODBM client is using the CSLDMI API and is not authorized, the userid will be the ODBM address space userid specified on the USER= startup JCL.