What is it?
Schema Plus is a collection of two programs that run on Windows 95/98/NT computers:
DB Draw is used by DBAs to create IDMS database diagrams, fully linked Windows help files and HTML files.
DB View is deployed to a Local Area Network (LAN) to be used by DBAs, developers, systems analysts and systems architects to view database diagrams and help files that have been created with DB Draw.
Who needs it?
Schema Plus is the ultimate IDMS companion product. It is a fully Windows compliant application that quickly and easily performs the following functions.
Database (Bachman) diagrams can be created with simple drag-and-drop. Records are dragged from a list and dropped onto a "canvas". All sets are connected automatically, and all text for records and sets is automatically generated. Once on the canvas, records, set lines, and set text can be dragged to any desired position on the canvas. Diagrams can consist of any number of images, comprising a "diagram set". Schema sets can span multiple diagrams within the diagram set. With DB Draw, this difficult task (which normally requires many days and is error-prone) is reduced to a simple operation that requires mere minutes per diagram image, and there are no typos! This feature alone offers a very fast payback on the cost of Schema Plus. But there is much more...
Help files are automatically generated. These help files contain area, record, and set information for the schema, all fully cross-referenced with links to each other. Optionally, space information can be included in the help file. With this information, developers and analysts can determine the best navigation path through the database, and DBAs can easily monitor area utilization and optimize area sizing. Also optionally, program and work record information can be included in the help file. Programs are fully linked with work records, and also with areas (ready usage mode), records and sets (activity). With this information, DBAs, architects, analysts and developers can determine the impact of database or work record changes quickly and easily. The development cycle is significantly reduced by this ability, resulting in further savings.
HTML files have the same basic format and all of the functionality of the help files, but in an HTML format. These files can be deployed onto the company intranet for greater availability. All entities are fully cross-referenced, as in the help files, greatly enhancing the analysis, design and development effort. Standard HTML 3.0 is used, so these files can be browsed with any version of Netscape Navigator or Internet Explorer.
Installation is simple. You will need the following:
A copy of Schema Plus. We will E-mail you a self-extracting zip file. Once you receive it, simply double-click to expand the file and run Setup. The standard InstallShield program guides you through the process.
A registration id. You can obtain a temporary evaluation id from ARCH Consulting. A permanent registration id is issued when you purchase the product. The first time you run DB Draw, you will be prompted for a registration id.
The Microsoft Help Compiler Workshop. This can be downloaded free from the Microsoft web site, www.microsoft.com. Look for the "Free Downloads" link and search for "Help Compiler Workshop".
Database Diagram, Help File and/or HTML File Creation
Getting started is simple. Follow these steps:
To begin, run a standard IDMSRPTS schema report on your IDMS platform. Run the report output into a dataset.
Download the report onto the PC that Schema Plus is installed on. Convert EBCDIC to ASCII, and convert line ends to CR/LF. You can optionally truncate spaces at line ends to reduce the size of the file downloaded.
Run DB Draw. Open the downloaded report file (File - Open Schema Report). At this point, you can start drawing diagrams, generate a help file, or generate an HTML file with the appropriate options on the File menu.
It's that simple. There are some optional extras...
Optionally, you can run one or many space reports and include space information in help / HTML files. Space reports can reflect space usage in different environments (i.e. Development, Production), or they can monitor a single environment with snapshots over time (i.e. monthly views of Production). You can combine multiple environments and multiple snapshots as well. Run the space report output into a dataset and download it the same way as the schema report. You can put many space reports in a single dataset, or can download multiple datasets. In DB Draw, you can open one or many space report files, each containing one or many reports.
Optionally, you can also generate program and work record information. To do this, you will need to compile two very small Cobol programs and tailor a job supplied in the install. See the related DB Draw help topic for complete information.
Deploying Database Diagrams
You can deploy database diagrams onto the LAN easily, to be accessed by architects, analysts, developers and other DBAs. These diagrams are stored in a "diagram set" file - one set of diagrams per schema. Simply do the following:
Copy program SHDBVIEW.EXE to a LAN directory.
Copy the database diagram file (myschema.shp) to the same LAN directory.
Copy the generated help file (myschema.hlp) to the same LAN directory.
That's it. Send an e-mail message to the user community telling them to (1) create a shortcut on their PCs to program SHDBVIEW.EXE; and (2), when they are prompted for a file name, they should select your diagram set file (myschema.shp). The help file is automatically assigned if it has the same name (i.e. myschema.hlp) when they open the diagram set. Users can click on any record in the diagrams to browse complete record information in the help file. They can use the "Record List" to list records alphabetically or by area, and can click on any record in this list to display the diagram the record is on.
Deploying HTML files
To deploy generated schema HTML files to your intranet, simply copy the generated file (myschema.htm) to an intranet directory, along with all .JPG files in the c:\shplus\work directory (these are area.jpg, record.jpg, set.jpg, program.jpg, workrec.jpg, and up.jpg). Create a link on your intranet to the myschema.htm file.
When You Change the Schema
When you change the schema (i.e. perform a database change), you will not need to redraw the database diagrams. Simply download a new schema report and open an existing diagram set. The changes will be automatically reflected. You will need to do the following:
Add any new records or records with new sets to the diagrams and save the modified diagram set..
Regenerate the help file.
Regenerate the HTML file.
Copy these files (myschema.shp, myschema.hlp, myschema.htm) to their appropriate LAN directories.
A Few Tips
Here are a few pointers to guide you through the process:
Keep names consistent. If your schema is called "myschema" (as it is called above), call the downloaded schema report "myschema.rpt", the diagram file "myschema.shp", the help project file "myschema.hpj", the help file "myschema.hlp", and the html file "myschema.htm". All prompts will default to this standard. Also, DB View will automatically assign a help file if it has the same name (i.e. for a diagram set called "myschema.shp", the help file should be called "myschema.hlp").
When drawing diagrams, first set the image size. Make this a multiple of the printer page size (either landscape or portrait), minus whatever page borders you wish (default is 1 inch on each side). Also, reset the grid size before you start drawing if you do not want the 4-pixel default. All other Image Attribute settings can be changed anytime with no repercussions whatsoever.
When drawing diagrams, it is not necessary to have space reports or a program/work record file opened. These consume large amounts of PC memory, and are only required if you are generating help or HTML files.
When drawing diagrams, it is advisable to position all records on all diagrams before modifying set lines. T his will get the diagrams drawn in minimal time (this is a DBA writing from his own experience).
Thank you for trying Schema Plus. We think you will find it exceeds your expectations in every way! We also think the payback period for the purchase of Schema Plus will be mere weeks, with savings in database diagram generation, change impact analysis, systems analysis and programmer productivity.
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