Connect navision to AS400 to get item number

Hello everybody,
I’ve been asked to do some research on the following subject:
Our company has multiple divisions, about half of them still running a homemade AS400 ERP, while the other half is running Navision 4.0 SP3.
The item numbers throughout the entire company are centrally stored on the AS400. To create an item in Navision you first have to start Client Access (a AS400 terminal emulator) and create an item to generate a number. This number must then be cut and pasted in Navision. This is an awful lot of work and prone to mistakes.
Does anybody know a way to make a connection between Navision and AS400? I do know that there is a program in our company that can do it somehow by using AS400 Data Queue, but the person that made this possible is no longer in the company.
I hope there is a possibility to somehow, on pushing F3, use a CodeUnit that will send a request to the AS400 server Data Queue and receive the generated item number.
We do have AS400 developers in the house, but they don’t know much about Navision and I can develop in Navision but don’t know AS400.

Any help or info would be very welcome,

thanks in advance.


Connecting to AS400 is not something I have any experience with. But many years ago (back in 1993-94) I worked with a client where we did a connection to a DB2 database on an AS400. We were actually use a very simple but fully custom made solution. It was basically an exe file that was called from NAV and returned the result in a temp file, which then was imported into NAV. The parameters was in the same way exported to a tempfile used by the EXE file. Simple but it worked!

I found out that (if the Client Access software form IBM is installed) I can use Automation in my CodeUnit to connect to de AS400 Dataqueue. It looks like this could be the way to the solution, but since there is very little documentation it will be a trial and error project.

If anyone has some more info on this subject, it will still be very welcome.

You could also use Biztalk as another solutions. Probably it’s a more expensive one but It has a bunch of connector do IBM technologies.

If your AS400 system provides OLEDB access you can use query to database.

Yes Biztalk would also be possible. But as you say EXPENSIVE.

I agree, if they have a OLEDB for the DB2 (I guess thats the database they use), then go with the OLEDB.

In the end we got a fast working and relatively cheap solution. We use a CU with Automation to connect to a AS/400 Dataqueue and exchange messages between the AS400 and Navision. In the message to the AS/400 we send some parameters and the return message has the requested Itemnumber in it.

Once we finally found out how the basic connection to the dataque worked it was not that difficult anymore. Finding out the basics took about a day programmers work (Actually half a day for 2, one Navision programmer and a AS400 programmer to explain things and help in testing)

Thanks for your help all!