IBM i > TRENDS > OPEN SOURCE

Two New Open-Source Database Tools

A quick look at CGI_WRKDBF and Xataface


 

In December 2008, we introduced you to the open-source PHP framework ATK. This month we thought we’d introduce you to two more tools that have recently caught our attention. 

CGI_WRKDBF

The first is CGI_WRKDBF, the latest open-source offering from our friend Giovanni Perotti of CGIDEV2 fame.

Many will be familiar with the original green-screen WRKDBF utility, which for years was the tool of choice for IBM i programmers who needed a simple, powerful method for updating and querying databases. Of course, other than its utility, one of the primary advantages of the tool was its price—free! But it was always offered as freeware and not open source—in other words, the source code was unavailable. When IBM i 6.1 came along, the program couldn’t be recreated due to its use of features no longer supported for user state programs. Faced with this problem, the developer initially decided to simply stop distributing the program but, after many pleas from his users, he relented and once again offered the program—but this time as shareware for $449.

Seeing the user-community panic when WRKDBF was unavailable, Giovanni decided to build an open-source, Web-based equivalent and so CGI_WRKDBF was born.

The first public release of the new tool came on Aug. 4, and along with the kudos that poured in from many happy users came the requests for an update facility. This enhancement was released Aug. 15, much to the delight of its users who now have a complete solution. As you might expect, the tool is based on the CGIDEV2 library and all source code is included in the distribution—so if you don’t like a feature, you can change it!

Since you can freely download the source code, and because Giovanni has included some screen captures on the Web site, we won’t go into any more detail here. We’ll just say thanks to Giovanni for another great contribution to the community.

As good as Giovanni’s new utility is, it’s not a tool you’d want to place in an end-user’s hands. Of course, the underlying code of CGI_WRKDBF could be used to create an end-user tool, but why reinvent the wheel?

 

Jon Paris is a technical editor with IBM Systems Magazine and co-owner of Partner400.

Susan Gantner is a technical editor with IBM Systems Magazine and co-owner of Partner400.


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