Last week we reported the plight of Connie Sellitto, an IT manager at the Cat Fanciers' Association who's the 3000 expert at CFA. The association is just starting a move to Windows and using a contractor who's most comfortable with "wireframe" maps of systems. Sellitto had just a few days to create one of these diagrams that outlined its 3000 databases.
Sellitto got a lot of advice from the 3000 community to help solve her problem, a challenge that began when the Microsoft Visio charting tool wouldn't work with 3000 information. She reported back to us at the end of last week. "I've gotten the Minisoft ODBC driver to work with the 2003 version of Visio. Really a major time saver. When you select 'Load Automatic Masters' in the ODBC definition, Visio even draws the relationship lines. Some tweaking is needed, as for primary indexes, but all in all, this is a good solution."
Wireframes like the one above (click it for detail) are common planning tools for website designers. Sellitto says the contractor's primary business is websites. But just because websites seem like an odd match with enterprise IT doesn't mean that wireframe diagrams are ill-suited to 3000 planning. Sometimes you need that 30,000-foot view to start -- or to sustain.
I was first able to connect to my database using MS Query, so I knew the ODBC part was set up correctly. However, Visio2010 did not recognize the names of the datasets nor data items. Apparently, this is due to its use of unicode, rather than the ASCII names on the HP 3000. Minisoft support was most helpful; they indicated they working on a version of ODBC that will work with Visio2010, and suggested trying an older version of Visio, which the migration company supplied.
Downloaded a copy of Visio2003, connected with the ODBC HP3000 driver, Voila! Worked like a charm! Checking the ‘Load Automatic Masters’ box in the ODBC setup allowed Visio to draw the relationship lines. Data item names and definitions came across accurately.
The results are exactly what I needed, and I believe this will help others who may find themselves in a similar position -- having to provide a diagram of an IMAGE database.
Sustaining a 3000 enterprise still requires this kind of management. That's especially true if the systems were designed by DP managers from another decade, now long-gone from a shop. Both sustaining and migration require more expertise than the diagram above; you need to know IMAGE architecture, or at least have a tool like the database migration tools from MB Foster (UDACentral) or Speedware (DBMotion) or Transoft (DBIntegrate), if you're moving.
But sustaining means, "meeting the needs of an environment that has business changes," too. If nothing else, the wireframes can be part of a documentation package -- an element nobody wants to spend one extra minute creating.