Today, Oct 11, 2022, IBM announced a new version of Db2 Web Query. Version 2.4.0 continues the on-going evolution of web query, now in its second decade of providing IBM i customers with an end-to-end analytics infrastructure – query/400 modernization, business intelligence reporting, data visualizations and dashboards, a data warehouse/data mart/data motioning tool, and more. Version 2.4.0 should be available by end of the year.
Planned availability for 2.4.0 is in mid December. The new version 2.4.0 offers many new enhancements, some of which include:
- A new “Hub” home page makes it easier for users and developers to navigate to content and functions you work with. Use the toolbar icons to jump right to a specific task, or click on the big purple “+” button to get a menu to create NEW objects.
While I'd encourage you to get to know the new HUB (EZ-Install TEST DRIVE is a great way to learn the new version), rest assured you can always revert back to the previous two versions home page if your not good at handling change!
Enhancements to the new visualization and dashboard builder called DESIGNER. Designer was introduced in 2.3.0 and provides a powerful and easy way to create highly visual interactive dashboards. Enhancements include closing the functionality gap between InfoAssist and Designer. This is NOT to suggest InfoAssist is going away!
New features include support for creating data in an excel table, adding more granularity to date picker prompts, and simplifying the laying out of containers as you’re assembling content into a dashboard.
Be sure to check out Designer video demonstrations at http://ibm.biz/db2wq-230-videos.
- Customized Portals! You now have the ability ability to create customized portals (entry points for content) for different organizations within the business, or even different clients that the business supports. Groups of (or individual) users can sign in directly to their commonly used dashboards and other content.
Note that customized portal function is only available in Standard Edition.
- EZ-Report (available in previous versions) automatically generates a report (and an underlying “synonym” object required for the report) based on an SQL statement or over a file/table. An updated (and re-structured) EZ-Report utility makes it even easier to build a report in seconds and is now available to developers (previously only available to web query admins). A new workspace has been created to store several developer related utilities, including EZ-Report.
- EZ-Install is the recommended installation package to install web query for the first time, or to upgrade from previous versions (we do NOT recommend you install using the ESS DVD images). EZ-Install will be upgraded to support 2.4.0 installations and upgrade in Q1 of 2023. To request EZ-Install, send an email to QU2@us.ibm.com and including company name, serial number, and OS level.
For a more detailed list of 2.4.0 enhancements, you will soon be able to check out the NEW FEATURES GUIDE for 2.4.0. Go to the web query wiki at http://ibm.biz/db2wqwiki, take the DOCUMENTATION link and look for New Features Guide!
Note that version 2.4.0 is only supported on IBM i OS levels 7.4 and 7.5. And as a reminder, Version 2.2.1, that supported OS levels 7.1 through 7.4 will no longer be supported after January of 2023. In addition, IBM also announced that version 2.3.0 will go out of support a year from now (October 2023). Customers on 2.2.1 may want to consider moving directly to 2.4.0 sometime early next year to minimize multiple upgrade processes and get onto the latest version at the same time!
In addition, there are a few things that are outside of the scope of the 2.4.0 announcement but worth mentioning.
- IBM's Lab Services organization re-branded and merged with another IBM organization to become IBM Technology Services. The Db2 for i team within Technology Services offers expert consulting and skills transfer training around all things Db2 Web Query and Db2 for i. Check out standard offerings at http://ibm.biz/Db2TechnologyServices. Customers that want a FAST START to web query or are looking for “how-to” assistance with more gnarly issues can often leverage services vouchers for some no-charge consulting assistance. To find out if you have a voucher, send an email to QU2@us.ibm.com and include your serial number and we'll let you know. Don't leave money on the table!
- Data Motioning - what does that mean? In a soon to come blog post I’ll focus on some interesting things we’re doing to create an automated, repeatable way to get data from Db2 for i into some external (often Cloud) service or database using the Db2 Web Query DataMigrator component. Think “data streaming to the Cloud”, with a low-cost, low-code IBM i centric architecture! Stay Tuned.
- Instant Insights using pre-built Machine Learning models! If you recall, back in 2020 we previewed an ability within web query to leverage pre-built machine learning models for advanced data analysis. While it won’t make the 2.4.0 initial release, IBM plans to provide this function as part of the product some time in 2023. This is COOL STUFF. With the click of a button, send a sample of your data (securely) into a service that runs it through some pre-built ML models to provide insights you would otherwise not glean from reports. Use correlation, time-series, association and outlier type ML models to gain insights into your data in the form of auto generated charts/graphs that you can then easily add to a dashboard. We love data scientists, but…no data scientist required for Instant Insights!