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ADBC Version 2.1, Web/iX

Advanced Network Systems, Inc.
7 Charles Court, Suite 14
Annandale, NJ 08801

Phone: 908.638.3330
Fax: 908.638.3331
Web: www.advnetsys.com
E-mail: info@advnetsys.com

ADBC is a set of Java classes that gives native access to TurboIMAGE databases on the HP e3000 from any platform that implements Java, without the overhead of IMAGE/SQL and ODBC. Web/iX is a Web and Application server that provides tools to deploy and extend HP e3000 applications to the Web using J2EE standards. Web/iX handles redundant tasks, so developers can concentrate on coding business logic unique to applications.

The server portions of ADBC and Web/iX run on all supported releases of MPE/iX. ADBC classes can be used on any platform that supports Java. The ADBC Developer’s Kit is $4,500 for each server; Web/iX is $1,500. Annual support for ADBC is $1,200 and $200 for Web/iX. A free 90-day evaluation copy of the ADBC Developer’s kit is on the Web.



June 2001

Java access to IMAGE, anywhere, anytime

ADBC and Web/iX: This is really not your father’s HP e3000 anymore

Review by John Burke

OK, I admit it; I barely know how to spell “Java,” let alone write programs or systems in Java. And for some time, I did not see the reason behind the near cult status the language had achieved. However, the prospect of being able to program in a language whose “compiled” output can run on virtually any platform without modification and natively access TurboIMAGE databases, MPE files and XL routines on an HP e3000 makes even an old curmudgeon like myself sit up and take notice. The run-anywhere part is Java. The Adager Data Base Connectivity (ADBC) product from Advanced Network Systems (Advnetsys) provides the native access to the HP e3000 part.

In 1996, intrigued by the possibilities of this new language Java, Alfredo Rego, co-founder of Adager Corp., challenged the HP e3000 community to develop a native interface for Java to TurboIMAGE. He dubbed this interface Adager Data Base Connectivity (ADBC) and proposed to shepherd an evolving standard under the ADBC banner, licensing it to interested parties. By 1997, David Thatcher of Advanced Network Systems had his first ADBC class library written and approved by Adager. Since then, many enhancements have been added — until now the ADBC Development Kit will allow you to access just about anything on the HP e3000 from a Java program (servlet, etc.) running on virtually any platform anywhere from which a TCP/IP connection can be established to the HP e3000.

Web/iX is a Web/application server that provides tools to easily deploy and extend HP e3000 applications to the Web using Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) standards. Web/iX handles all the redundant tasks, allowing developers to concentrate on coding the business logic that is unique to the application. Web/iX separates business logic, presentation and connectivity for easy management.


ADBC is a set of Java classes that gives native access to TurboIMAGE databases on the HP e3000 from any platform that implements Java (MPE/iX, Unix, Linux, Mac, NT, handhelds, etc.) without the overhead of IMAGE/SQL and ODBC. And without any need to know SQL at all. The ADBC Java APIs work well with Enhydra and many other application servers including Advnetsys’ own Web/iX, Weblogics, WebSphere and Orion. ADBC also allows you to connect to MPE, SPOOL and KSAM files, connect to Allbase, and do system intrinsic calls and call existing sub-programs and functions located in XLs. You can use ADBC objects in Active Server Pages (ASP), Java Server Pages (JSP), Java Beans, etc.

Since ADBC version 2.1 supports subroutines, functions and system intrinsic calls from any Java platform that implements Java, there is no need to replicate business logic. ADBC allows you to reuse existing business logic on your HP e3000. Simply use the ADBC intrinsic class to wrap any pre-existing subroutine/function from any XL on your HP e3000, from any remote platform.

Web/iX will work with any other application server (WebLogic, WebSphere, Orion, Apache, Tomcat), including Enhydra. Web/iX comes with the following features: complete J2EE compliance, MPE/iX connectivity, HP e3000 connection pooling, TurboIMAGE database pooling, MPE file pooling and sub-program access and pooling. Pools are started when the server is started. Applications check the connections in and out. Web/iX uses ADBC as the API for connectivity to the HP e3000, TurboIMAGE, MPE files and XL routines. It can use JDBC for other databases such as Oracle, Sybase and PostgreSQL.

Web/iX extensions include easy e-mail hooks and pre-written business Enterprise Java Beans (EJB) components (EJB will only work with J2EE compliant servers) such as purchasing, order entry, stock inquiry and e-shopping. If these objects don’t comply with your particular business needs, you may be able to extend these objects, keeping the standard business practices, but adding your own unique features to rapidly deploy an e-commerce application. From David Thatcher, principal author of ADBC and Web/iX: “Our company is trying to push the J2EE architecture and that is why we offer a J2EE application server in Web/iX. We also provide the source code for Web/iX extensions. We are promoting Web/iX as a one-stop solution for your HP e3000 and e-commerce.”


In keeping with the times, the ADBC Developer’s Kit and Web/iX can be downloaded from the Internet. In the case of ADBC, it is a single “zip” file that you expand on your PC. Four files then have to be uploaded to your 3000 (several formats are provided, but Reflection “labels” is the easiest), the job card modified as necessary and the listener job streamed. Assuming you have JDK1.2 on your PC and a network connection to your HP e3000, you are ready to go. Note that it is not necessary to have Java installed on the HP e3000 unless you want to develop/run Java programs on the HP e3000.


The ADBC Developer’s Kit comes with a 39-page manual, “Accessing Data From Your HP 3000 Using Java and ADBC” that is chock full of examples. The classes and methods of ADBC are thoroughly documented using standard javadoc (see Figure 1 and Figure 2). Everything assumes, naturally, that you have a general understanding of Java. However, having ADBC with the familiar frame of reference of the HP e3000, MPE/iX and TurboIMAGE, would probably shorten the Java learning curve.

Let’s take it out for a spin

Because everyone can relate to it, I used the music.sampledb.sys database and modified some sample Java code that came with ADBC just to see how it would all work. Figure 3 shows a simple Java program that connects to an HP e3000 and displays the names of the datasets in the music database. Figure 4 is the result of running this program on a WinNT machine. Figure 5 shows a Java program that is a little more complex. It connects to the HP e3000 music database and displays the contents of the SELECTIONS dataset. Figure 6 shows the results, again on a WinNT machine.

So, big deal you say? Both these things can be done in QUERY (“form sets” and “report all” on the SELECTIONS dataset)? True enough. However, the byte-code compiled version of the programs of Figure 3 and Figure 5 run without modification, accessing the same TurboIMAGE database:

• on the HP e3000 system with the database

• another HP e3000 on the LAN

• a WinNT desktop system on another LAN segment

• a WinNT system at my home connected via a VPN over the Internet.

This is where the big payoff comes in.

Testimonials (See Sidebar)

ADBC and Web/iX are used to create the infrastructure for applications. Even if I were a Java expert, it would be difficult to create anything meaningful in a few days part time; hence, the rather trivial examples above. Fortunately, ADBC in particular has been around long enough now that real people have created real applications.

From a publishing company: “We are using ADBC to connect to our HP e3000. We use Visual Age for Java for development and WebSphere for our application server. We have implemented two Web-based systems. In one, we allow our customers to pay their bills. In the other, we allow our customers to view their orders/balances and make changes to their account (i.e. address changes, opt-in options, email address, credit card, etc.). We are in the process of writing an IVR system that will rely heavily on ADBC.

“ADBC is very easy to use. Advnetsys has been very helpful when we’ve had questions. We strongly recommend the product. We haven’t had any problems with connectivity — we are a fairly large MACS installation with approximately 19 million orders (we archive every two years) and 18 million customers.”

From Ramu Reddy of Balboa Insurance: “We are developing an Online Insurance Quote system in Java and need to be able to invoke the existing business logic from our COBOL premium-rating application. ADBC has been much faster and easier to use than asynchronous message queues. And the support from Advnetsys has been great.”

From a supplier of imaging products: “We use ADBC, JSP and Web/iX in place of VPLUS for any new development. We also like ADBC’s ability to call existing sub-programs. The performance is excellent! Web/iX is a complete J2EE application server that is very easy to install and maintain.”

From a consultant: “I’m avoiding the JDBC/ODBC route because ADBC performance is much better.”

From another user: “We evaluated a number of packages to help us web-enable one of our existing applications. We chose Java and ADBC. ADBC not only allowed us to access our TurboIMAGE database and MPE files very quickly, but we were able to reuse most of our FORTRAN logic by using the ADBC intrinsic class. This was a very big timesaver, allowing us to complete our project in record time. ADBC was cost-effective and very easy to use. The ADBC objects handle a lot of the programming details for you.”

From another consultant: “I have used the ADBC drivers to create several Java applications. The first was a series of CA-MANMAN classes that were front-ended by a third-party Shop Floor Control System. The second was a standalone executable that retrieved data from the CA-MANMAN Quote System and produced a Microsoft Word document, which could then be printed, faxed or e-mailed to the prospective customer. The ADBC drivers were designed with simplicity in mind. With the examples provided, an experienced Java programmer can be accessing HP e3000 data very quickly.”


If you can get an old curmudgeon like me to take notice, then you’ve got something. The combination of ADBC and Web/iX makes webifying existing applications in a reasonable length of time and at reasonable cost more than just a pipe dream.



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