February Newsletter

Select Business Solutions

NOMAD/UltraQuest Newsletter

Tip of the Month

Creating Cool Web Apps

Would you like to create enterprise web applications that directly interact with your mainframe databases and files? With UltraQuest, you can create new web pages or easily convert mainframe "green screen" applications into modern web pages. Now this is easier than ever by pairing up UltraQuest with JSON!

In a traditional UltraQuest web page, a NOMAD procedure (cgi) delivers the HTML that is displayed in your web browser. This is done very simply with the use of UltraQuest's WEB commands, such as WEB SEND. Other WEB commands allow you to place database values into web page input fields before it is sent. And you can insert the results of a LIST request or PRINT statement into a particular position in the HTML. An advanced user might even dynamically generate HTML code to include in the web page.

Simple! But would you like to develop your web site separately from your back-end database logic? Perhaps you have a staff of web developers that are adept at creating elegant, versatile web sites, but these are not the same people who are skilled in the back-end database technology. Wouldn't it be nice if you could utilize your talent to its fullest potential, using your expert web developers to create the front-end web page (the presentation layer) and your expert NOMAD developers to create the back-end logic (the business layer)? Well now you can!

New WEBJSON commands allow you to format and send simple data to the browser in a format called JSON. This frees the back-end experts from having to dabble in web page design and concerns of where to fit the data in the web page. In fact, most business logic in existing applications can be reused, only requiring slight modifications to redirect results to the browser.

Similarly, front-end experts can develop the web page using standard web technologies such as HTML, JavaScript and CSS, without worrying about the back-end logic for obtaining or updating the data. With JavaScript, web designers can make spiffy pages that dynamically react to the JSON data sent to it through UltraQuest.

And even when a developer can do it all, it can be easier to develop and maintain web pages with separate business and presentation layers. The web page can be created and tested locally on a PC, without requiring server interaction in the early stages of development. And changes to requirements can often be more easily handled in architectures that de-couple the business and presentation logic.

Never heard of JSON before? JSON is a standard format commonly used today for transferring data between servers and client browsers or applications. It stands for JavaScript Object Notation and is easy to use in modern web browsers.

In the next newsletter, we’ll discuss another huge benefit of using JSON data: writing web pages using asynchronous transactions to change the data on a page without re-writing the whole page.

NOMAD/UltraQuest Puzzler
Test your knowledge or learn something new

Suppose you have a table of customer accounts containing detailed transaction data, with items/columns that identify the customer (CUSTNO), the transaction (TRANS_ID), and the amount of the transaction (AMOUNT). How do you produce a report of total transaction amounts for each customer, in order from highest to lowest?

In other words, for this NOMAD MASTER:

  ITEM AMOUNT AS 9,999,999.99;

or UltraQuest Reporter table:

with this detailed data:

--------  --------  ------------
1SMLLFRY  1               500.00
1SMLLFRY  2             1,000.00
1SMLLFRY  3               800.00
2SMLLFRY  1             1,500.00
9BIGFISH  1           100,000.00
9BIGFISH  2            50,000.00

produce this report:

------------  --------
  150,000.00  9BIGFISH
    2,300.00  1SMLLFRY
    1,500.00  2SMLLFRY

so you can see who the big fish really are!

Take a Peek at UltraQuest Reporter 6.0

This new video gives a short overview of UltraQuest Reporter 6.0. If you've never seen Reporter before, this is a great way to see what it can do for you! Click here to watch now.

UltraQuest Demonstration

Sign up now to see a deep dive video of UltraQuest 6.0

Click here to register for a special viewing of UltraQuest 6.0 in action

See our "Peek at Reporter 6.0" plus how to do an extract, joins, job scheduling, the browser-based UltraQuest library for reports and dashboards, and a sample UltraQuest web application. For more information, please contact Sales at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 203-383-4600 ext 2.

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Did you know???

Select Business Solutions has a team of consultants that can help you with anything from NOMAD/UltraQuest application support, configuration, efficiency improvements to systems programming and installs.

If you want to know more, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 203-383-4600 ext 2.

Product Suggestions

Select Business Solutions has always based product development and enhancements on the feedback we get from our customers. Features like the interfaces to Oracle and SQL Server and the UltraQuest Scheduler were based directly on requests from our customer base. We pride ourselves on being responsive to our customers’ needs and the changing IT environment, and we want to hear from you. If there is a product feature you would like to see added, or if you have any suggestions on how to make our products better please email them to us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

January's Puzzler

Last month, we asked readers to send in their responses to the NOMAD Puzzler. Well, we stumped you! Here's the question and answer:

Question: What may be a more efficient alternative to the following expression when ACCOUNT_NUM is a key in a VSAM or NOMAD/BTREE MASTER?

(ACCOUNT_NUM eq 123) or (ACCOUNT_NUM eq 789)

Answer: (ACCOUNT_NUM AMONG (123, 789))

Why? The above is a "smart" expression. With VSAM or BTREE data, we will key directly to the two selected records. Even with NOMAD data, we will stop scanning the data after we find the second selected record. For more information about "smart" expressions, look for "Smart SELECT Technique" in Chapter 8 of the UltraQuest & NOMAD Reference Manual.

Did you try your hand at this month's puzzler?

NOMAD/UltraQuest Puzzler Answer

Question: How do you produce a report sorted in descending order by a sum?

Answer: Create a temporary database that sums the AMOUNT for each customer, then report from the temporary database by the summed amount in descending order. Let's see how this is done, first in NOMAD and then in UltraQuest Reporter...


  1. Create the temporary database that sums the amounts for each customer:
  2. create by custno sum(amount)
  3. View the temporary database description: slist temp
      ITEM AMOUNT AS 9,999,999.99 INT=P15.2
  5. Create the report in descending order of the summarized amount:
  6. from temp list by amount desc custno

UltraQuest Reporter

  1. Create the temporary database by designing a request to build it. Add the CUSTNO and AMOUNT columns to your request, sort the CUSTNO column, and summarize the AMOUNT with the SUM function. On the Run dialog, choose Database for the output type, fill in a database name such as ACCTSUMS, and run the request.

  2. The temporary database request is processed and the ACCTSUMS database is downloaded into Reporter.

  3. Start a new request, picking the temporary database, ACCTSUMS. Add the AMOUNT and CUSTNO columns to your request, sort by the AMOUNT column and click the Descending radio button, and then run the request.

Now you can see who the big fish really are!

Tip - if you'd prefer the column order switched, with customer number on the left, add the NOPRINT option to the AMOUNT and insert a second instance of AMOUNT after CUSTNO. In NOMAD, the final request would be:

from temp list by amount desc noprint custno amount

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