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Tip of the Day
Language: Visual Basic
Expertise: Beginner
Apr 3, 1998

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Mainframe connectivity

Question:
I am looking for a way to use VB to connect and retrieve information from a VAX mainframe. The computer has a windows 95 emulation terminal program, and I was wondering if I need to use it or whether I can communicate with the VAX directly. How would I accomplish either?

Also, the VAX has a number command navigation system (you press 1 to go to menu 1). Is that the way to communicate with the VAX (by sending the vt-100 equivalent of 1), and how would VB handle the fact that there is a waiting time in the VAX, and a list of commands cannot be sent instantly?

Answer:
The easiest way to accomplish these tasks is either to use a tool from Wall Data called Rumba, which is designed to "scrape" data from a terminal emulator and make it available in your VB program. The process can work the other way, also, in that Rumba can send data to the terminal emulator also.

There are also third-party controls that allow you simply to emulate a terminal session, if that's all you need for other parts of your application. It sounds like a screen scraper would be a better idea in this case.

If you're trying to hit data on a database, you may want to check to see if the database has an ODBC driver available to it. ODBC is not limited to the Windows platforms—I've successfully used it when I worked with a UNIX backend.

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