how to explore a new AS/400 application?

625 pts.
AS/400 applications
Dear esteemed AS/400 Gurus! I am faced with a new problem. I have been put on a new AS/400 application(Banking related) & am expected  to deliver results within very short time(of about 15-days). Hence I request you to let me know How to learn any new AS/400 application fast/quickly & explore it. (NOTE: I don't have any knowledge on this application & all the Guys who were experts on this application have quit the company) . Now Iam left with the only option of exploring myself all alone. I can Analyze, Write, Test; do all that is technical; BUT.... to Explore & Learn/Understanding an application, that is developed on AS/400, requires an altogether a different APPROACH & ATTITUDE as you all will agree. Please! I welcome all of your esteemed suggestions, ideas, approaches, experiences. Thanks in advance, Svanky

Software/Hardware used:
AS/400, RPG/400, RPGILE, COBOL/400

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Is there any documentation for this process?
Is it home grown or a package?

Can you define the specific results that you are to provide in 15 days?
Without a definite goal, we can set no path.

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  • Yorkshireman
    first, you need to define what the deliverables are supposed to be. Then establish some metrics for the application How many functions how many screens how many files. If you have source code, you can analyse how many funcions use WRKSTN files, how much JCL is used to control process flows, how many meny points there are, how many physical files (data) and access paths (retrieval of data) exists How many lines of code? That would make up the start point of a report whatever else happens but mostly you need to know what's expected. If you have 2000 physical files (tables) in there its a bet you won't get much detailed sense in 3 weeks, though you could pull off some meaningful stats, identify the relatively few core processes and interactive panels. Bonne chance
    6,085 pointsBadges:
  • philpl1jb
    Svanky Can you get a knowledeable user on "your team"? Have them show you some general stuff, then as questions come up, go back to that person to see what the current processes, screens, reports, etc. are. Phil
    54,090 pointsBadges:
  • deepu9321
    Hi Svanky, Looks like you are in very critical position for taking a decision as you have very less time for execution of new project. I suggest, you to go through the Requirements(Understanding) Document fully and understand it in business perspective. Parallally, Recruit the AS/400 guys to your team and set the clear expectations from them. In this case, you acting as lead of the project, have the basic knowledge on Testing(or Reviewing) the application with respect to business requirements. Pradeep.
    4,980 pointsBadges:
    Check the Internet for user groups for this application. Call the vendor for help. If its home grown, good luck.
    3,175 pointsBadges:
  • NullFields
    If you have the budget, I can recommend X-Analysis as a tool that will help you. We use it at our site with great results. Although you probably don't have time for a local server install, (like what we have), the company offers services where you basically give them your source and objects, then they load it on their servers for analysis and return to you the results. Their website is
    880 pointsBadges:
  • TomLiotta expected to deliver results within very short time(of about 15-days). Results of what? That is, were you told to take a couple weeks to become familiar before anyone asks you to begin productive work? Or were you told what needs to be done and given 15 days to deliver the results? I would start by finding real examples of the tasks that will be done. Ideally, they would be actual business problems that will need to be solved. And I would use those to guide my exploration of the applications. Does a file definition need to be changed? Find the file, find objects that refer to the file. Does a screen layout need to be changed? Find it and find any program that displays it. Find users who use it; ask them what it does for them. Does a new feature need to be added? Find those who have a stake in the feature and have them show you how it relates to them. Three examples like those should let you create some notes in just a couple of days. With the most basic notes, you should be able to branch in most directions fairly easily. Without knowing what standards might have been used to construct whatever you are looking at (much less what the app consists of, what tools you have, what authorities, etc.), it's hard to know what to do. For me, the best thing is simply to begin trying to do things. Tom
    125,585 pointsBadges:
  • Featured Member: NullFields - ITKE Community Blog
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