[Scottish] Do my homework for me please

Colin McKinnon colin.mckinnon at ntlworld.com
Sat Aug 21 22:51:29 BST 2004

> This email and any files transmitted with it are intended solely for the
> use of the individual or entity to whom they are addressed.

Woohoo a disclaimer at the top of an Email! It's almost sensible!

> I'm applying for a job supporting an office that has an AS400
> file/Database store, PCs using Terminal emulation and Peer to peer
> networking. Queries etc are done purely on the client, perhaps using
> Excel as the client interface
(should you be annoucing this from an email address which appears to be 
provided by your current employer?)

> Now they know they have to replace this stuff, and I'm pretty sure a
> Linux box with Samba would handle the file storage, and I'd investigate
> transferring data to MySQL if possible, with more server side
> processing. The data entry interface would have to be looked at, my
> usual default for that is web based so hello Apache and some form of ASP
> or CGI,
> But any advice on the networking side?

ASP ? That's Microsoft talk! MySQL is probably up to the job (if you implement 
using tables which support transactions and know how to implement locking 
properly over an http interface and can work around the lack of subselects) 
but had you considered DB2 as a half-way house to a completely user-owned 
system? I earn my daily crust writing PHP/MySQL applications so this is 
something I should know about - my biggest concern in rolling out a project 
like this would be the data-input part. IMHO there's (currently) no free 
RAD/4GL tools which are particularly good at fast turnaround compared with MS 
Access, Oracle Forms etc. (contact me off list for more info, or if anyone 
feels different post it here).

Regarding moving the data off the current server - if you've already got 
Microsoft based PCs talking to the host then if you can't get Linux to talk 
directly, you could easily script the database migration (MS Excel could do 
it, but you might find it a lot easier/faster using MS access where it could 
be done just with SQL). My As400 knowledge is a bit rusty, but IIRC it used 
to use it's own protocol with a client-side driver to serve to MS Windows 
machines. Again a piggy-in-the-middle approach might be simplest (but would 
most likely mess up on permissions).

Beyond that...what more do you want to know?



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