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Untangling Web Query

How metadata can reduce query and report complexity

How metadata can reduce query and report complexity
Illustration by Randy Lyhus

Since DB2* Web Query was announced in March 2007, I’ve delivered countless webcasts, presentations, workshops and labs to educate the IBM i community about this new technology. I’m constantly asked about Web Query’s metadata requirement. Many i customers are simply not accustomed to working with a product that requires metadata and consequently view it as an extra layer of complexity they must create and maintain.

In this article, I’ll provide answers to the questions I’ve been hearing about what metadata is, why i customers need it and what happens if they change the structure of the underlying files. Metadata is a good thing. It can actually reduce the complexity of your query and reporting environment and make life easier for your report developers.

Benefits of Metadata

The metadata layer’s primary objective is to improve DB2 Web Query report developers’ productivity by providing an abstraction layer and burying the database complexity. Report developers can be more productive if you keep the data model simple. A simple and intuitive data model also means you can extend the report developer community because it doesn’t require intimate knowledge of the database. By empowering more of your users, you can reduce their dependence on IT and the number of backlogged reporting requests.

But before this can happen, you’ll need to build up this abstraction layer, which requires the DB2 Web Query Developer Workbench tool. This Windows* PC-based tool offers several powerful components, one of which is the Synonym Editor. The Synonym Editor contains graphical interfaces that let you:

  • Define database joins
  • Build virtual columns to centralize business logic
  • Standardize column formats
  • Convert and standardize date fields
  • Create filters
  • Create business views
  • Define online analytical processing (OLAP) dimensions
By empowering more of your users, you can reduce their dependence on IT.

Gene Cobb is a DB2 for i technology specialist in the IBM i ERP development team.



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2017 Solutions Edition

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Untangling Web Query

How metadata can reduce query and report complexity

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