What is a digital dashboard?
A digital dashboard is an easy-to-read single view that supplies real-time data to the user. The idea behind a dashboard is that, like a cars dashboard, it provides a way to monitor common activity at a glance. The power behind a dashboard is that it allows the designer to consolidate data from a variety of sources and display that information concisely in the form of summaries, graphics, charts and gauges.
With the power of soarchitect we can use RPC (Remote Procedure Calls) to access the IBM s APIs, use ADO\DDM functionality to display a database table or use Web Services to retrieve real time data. This information can then be displayed a variety of ways at the designers discretion. In the following example we will show how one might elegantly display IBM i system statistics via Google Gauge Charts. We will use DDM to display a database table within a Datagrid and show a stocks movement for the week via Googles candle stick chart by consuming web services. The image below shows what is achievable with the listed technologies.
Figure 1: Digital Dashboard within the IDE runtime
RPC: IBM i Statistics:
Figure 2: Remote Procedure Calls
In figure 2, IBM i statistics are retrieved via RPC calls within soarchitect and then displayed to the user using Googles Gauge chart, hosted within an embedded ActiveX IE WebBrowser control. Here is a brief summary of the steps required to retrieve the data.
- Declare a structure using Type and Dim actions.
- Use RPCConnect to connect to the IBM i.
- Use RPCDeclare to specify the API on the IBM i (QWCRSSTS).
- Use RPCCall to pass parameters to this routine and receive outputs.
Figure 3 shows a working example in soarchitects macro editor.
Figure 3 : Macro to retrieve the data via RPC
DDM: IBM i DB2 database:
Figure 4: Datagrid connected to a DDM database
For this part of the digital dashboard we use soarchitects DDM (distributed data management) functionality to display a database table within the Datagrid control. This is done by inserting the Datagrid on the form and populating the ConnectionString and Source properties with a valid connection to an IBM i machine and DB file respectively. When the form loads the DataGrid will be automatically populated with the table data. See figure 5 for an example of the set ConnectionString and Source properties.
Figure 5: Setting of Datagrid properties to connect to the database.
Web Services: Stock movement via Candle Chart
Figure 6: Web service displaying Stock Price data
In this last example we are able to display a stocks movement over a week via Googles candle chart (See Figure 6) where the values are received via a Web Service call. To initially retrieve the data we perform the following:
- Use WebDescription with a URL to the WSDL file, and the name of the routine as it is defined in the WSDL
- Call the WebCall action to run the web service routine and retrieve the stock values
Figure 7: Web Service calls to retrieve stock data
After we have received these values we can then chart them using Googles Candle Chart. This is similar to the RPC IBM i Statistics example above, in that we write out the values to an external file as JSON and then use the Google Candle chart to read them in. Voilà, stock movement information within an soarchitect form.
As we can see, soarchitect provides tools which can be used to create a real-time digital dashboard with powerful, easy-to-understand controls that convey a wealth of information to the user at a glance. Other chart examples can be found on the Google Developers web site at
If you would like a sample of the above digital dashboard please send a request to firstname.lastname@example.org
Or if you would like to read more on web service please view the on-demand webinar on Web Services here.
Thanks for tuning in and feel free to leave some feedback.
Charles Munforte - Software Developer
Software Developer, looksoftware