Tips from Jackie
his month I would like to explore how many companies are taking advantage of the AS/400's unique capabilities as an Internet Server. One unique AS/400 function is the capability to have PCs access existing AS/400 applications using a web browser. For example, the Waseca School Board allows their various schools to exchange books and uses an AS/400 search program to locate books by author or keyword. This AS/400 program is now available to all the schools via the Internet.
Nippon Express's AS/400 application which they use to track and trace cargo shipments is now available via the Internet. Jules Roy in France began the same way. They wanted to get on the Internet quickly and gave their customers access to existing programs for tracking shipments to and from France. Over time Jules Roy have written new Internet programs (CGI-Bin) on the AS/400 to replace the older 5250 programs. Barmish, Inc. sells men's clothing to retailers who can signon to Barmish's AS/400 via the Internet.
Pictures are something that you see a lot of on the Internet. Pictures are used heavily by the tourist industry, for real estate sales, for catalog sales and many other applications. Have a look at the Frankenmuth Bavarian Inn to see how well they use pictures to promote their Inn. You will find many real estate companies and retail companies serving photographs from their AS/400s. Cordes & Graefe from Germany are a wholesaler for plumbings and fittings. They use a query search program to access their product database with 500,000 products and 30,000 pictures. The results are returned in less than 3 seconds.
Another great use customers are putting their AS/400 Internet servers to is using the AS/400 as a mail server. All POP3 mail packages are supported. This includes most mail programs included with Internet browsers such as Netscape mail, also Eudora and cc:Mail for the Internet which is shipped at no charge with Client Access for Windows 95. Users defined to the AS/400 can specify whether they want to access their in-basket via OV/400 or via an Internet mail package. Watch this space in coming months for detailed tips on Internet mail serving.
Many interesting companies can be found using the AS/400 as their Internet server. These include a virtual bookstore, health care organizations, attorneys, construction firms, airlines, government departments and many more. Some examples of banks and stock brokerage firms using the AS/400 as an Internet server are Pacific Brokerage Services, Flanagan Trading Corporation and Ina Banco. Pacific Brokerage increased accounts by 25% and revenues by 20% within the first 4 months of having an Internet presence.
A relatively new technology is using the AS/400 as a virtual reality server. Examples of this can be found on the AS/400 demonstration page.
All AS/400 customer names mentioned in this article were obtained from the monthly survey Netcraft ( www.netcraft.com) runs that identifies web sites and the servers they are using. All sites referenced in this column can be found via a link from TUG's home page at www.tug.on.ca.
Jackie Jansen is an AS/400 Specialist and Consulting SE, providing national technical and marketing support for the AS/400 in Canada. Jackie frequently speaks at AS/400 Technical Conferences and User Group meetings.