PowerHouse 4GL | 4th Generation Programming Languages with UDACentral

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The MBFoster team has worked with the 4th generation programming language PowerHouse® with many sites. We provide both expertise and licenses – PowerHouse® has moved from Cognos to IBM to Unicom over the past decade. MBFoster has helped with migrations of applications written in PowerHouse® (Qschema, Quiz, Quick and QTP) from different operating systems/database combinations.

A powerful fourth generation language the dictionary provides the ability to preformat fields, enforce edits, and get details such as field names and column titles consistent across the application.

If you have a need for help in a PowerHouse® environment we would be pleased to assist.

Our experience in PowerHouse® started in the late 1970’s with Quiz – the report writer from Quasar before it became Cognos. Corporately we have done many projects to produce reports using PowerHouse® and we have built applications to use the full PowerHouse® Suite (QSchema, Quiz, Quick and QTP).

The power of PowerHouse® is in QSchema, the dictionary and its ability to describe the data in a database, or even generate a database from the data descriptions. One of the best features of QSchema is that default column headings, screen prompts field formats (like decimal places, date formats (YYMMDD or MMMDDYYYY for example) and field edits (like ranges, specific values, lowercase, etc.) can be set up in the dictionary and they will be incorporated consistently into every screen, or report.

PowerHouse® was first developed for the HP3000 went on to be moved to DEC VAX, AS400 (now iSeries), HP Unix, Solaris, IBM AIX, Windows and lately to versions of Linux. We have help customers as they changed operating systems and databases and wanted to take their business unique PowerHouse® code to the new environment. PowerHouse® is a gem that provides a programmer with the ability to develop whole systems in weeks instead of months and program on many different environments with a consistent application development environment.

The methodology for a PowerHouse® migration is the same as for any other application migration – first the stakeholders from the business side must be involved. It is the business owners who determine the parameters around how much data must be moved, who are the data stewards and who will be involved in testing the migrated application. Once the business team is chosen it is a good time to review the current screens and reports and determine in all of them are part of the migration, or some are no longer needed and can be dropped from the list of modules to be moved.

The underlying database(s) and files for the source should be compared with the architecture and specific data types in the target. This will identify how the data part of the dictionary will need to change. Sometimes the new database will have “reserved words” which will force some field or table names to change, which will in turn need to be hunted down in the Quiz, Quick and QTP modules and changed there as well.

At MBFoster we use UDACentral to do the high-speed data move between the databases. On small databases it is possible to use a “portable subfile” generated by Quiz or QTP. On of the moves we did involved a database of over 400 million rows which UDACentral took 16 hours to do versus an estimate of a week or more for the subfile method.

The PowerHouse® code needs to be brought into the new development environment and the various components compiled on the new platform. First the modified QSchema or QDD dictionary will be compiled. Then usually we start our testing with displaying data in the Quick Screens to confirm it moved correctly.

Next up is Quiz reports which we run to be sure that they are also working looking at totals and counts to compare with the same reports off the source system. A test plan for QTP routines, and any integrated code written in other languages complete the conversion.

If the is a PowerHouse® application migration coming up you can take your application with you, and the MBFoster team will help.