Free programming tools on the Web

You read it here folks! How can I get lazier? As I was looking for programs on the Web to solve my office dilemma of the day -- my quest for a file editor -- I discovered some very good free software. How did I do that? It was as simple as going to Google and typing, "FREE AS/400 SOFTWARE".

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First on the results page was www.freeas400software.com. This site has links to many sites that offer free AS/400-iSeries software. (Stop laughing. I DID get that lucky on my first try.) Fortunately, we live in a world where hundreds of programmers give their time -- and their programs -- so you don't have to pull your hair out. What did I find? Here's a sample: free file editors, free XML utilities, free iSeries security assessment tool, free source highlighter, free spool file conversion tool and much more.

Many tools offered on the site are either free or have a free trial, so you can really get a good idea of how the software functions before you buy it.

I found a REALLY neat GUI SQL front end called F.R.O.G., which allowed me to send SQL commands to the AS/400 rather easily. It's well-written, and as an aside, the owner -- Jonas Temple -- has a "re-name F.R.O.G. contest" going on where the winner will receive a FREE license! (Wait a second. Isn't F.R.O.G. already free? Never mind.)

This GUI allowed me to send SQL updates to my database and update items on my Web site, www.4hotshots.com, within moments.

I added the 2007 performance using the SQL command "INSERT INTO" and corrected the 04/01/2006 performance using the SQL command "UPDATE" command.

There are plenty of prolific authors out there who write amazing examples of programs and some really worthwhile tools. One of my colleagues in the iSeries world sells his tools for VERY reasonable prices. Imagine walking into your boss' office and telling him the tool you just found to satisfy the current business need cost less than $400 -- and that's for a system that cost the company much more than even 100 times that amount! Brad Stone has many solutions listed on his web site -- http://www.bvstools.com.

There's a lot to be said about the things I've found on the web. Saving time, saving money and saving face being the three I can think of off the top of my head.

And now, for my next trick as a Lazy Programmer: Returning from lunch with my job done because I found some neat new FREE tools to do my job for me!

About the author: Andrew Borts is webmaster at United Auto Insurance Group in North Miami, Fla. He is often a frequent speaker at COMMON and is past president of The Southern National Users Group, an iSeries-AS/400 user group based in Deerfield Beach, Fla.

This was first published in October 2005

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