Mainframes 360
The one stop destination for System Z professionals

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Compuware File–aid How to

Q. What is File-Aid?
At home, we maintain our Bills, Receipts, Credit-Card Statements systematically in a File. Likewise, a Computer-File is systematic means of storing Data. To browse the data stored inside a Computer File, to make any additions or deletions, the software Program used is called a File Editor.

File-Aid is an advanced File Editor Program, developed by Compuware, that aids you and assists you storing and retrieving Data from Mainframe Files. File Aid can not only handle Line-Sequential Files, but also VSAM Files.
Q. How to Browse or Edit a File in File-aid?
The File-Aid Main-Menu Screen shows various options. The Browse Menu Option 1, the Edit menu 2, the Utilities Menu Option 3 and the View Menu Option 8 are needed frequently, when working with Files.


The Browse Screen or Edit Screen are used to Open and read Mainframe Files. Browse happens to be Read-Only Mode, whereas Edit allows you to modify or update the contents.

On the Browse Screen, you must enter the Mainframe File-Name. I have entered the Dataset Name VS90626.GINP10SD.DUMP2. You must also specify the Browse Mode. The Character(C) Browse Mode is used to display the Textual-Data in the File as EBCDIC Characters.


Hit Enter, and the Dataset will be opened for Browsing. The below picture shows my Dataset VS90626.GINP0SD.DUMP2. You may scroll left using the PF10 AID Key, and scrolling right is possible using the PF11 AID Key.

Q. How to use Copy-books in File-aid?
While looking at records stored in a Mainframe File, it is very difficult to interprete and understand their meaning, make out what are the Fields or columns. In the snapshot below, its hard to make out, what the text ABG means, what RQ00049R25 stands for and so on. It would be cool, if it had some headings.

Just as on an Excel Spreadsheet, Column-Headings add meaning to the data stored in the File, File-Aid allows you to browse Data, with the Column Headings turned on.

The Data-records stored in a Mainframe File have a Format, a Structure or Layout. This Data-Format or Structure is generally maintained in a Separate Copy-book File, independent from the Data. You can specify a COBOL Copy-book File, while attempting to browse the Data.

Enter the Copy-book Library and the Member name on the Browse Screen. My copy-book member is GINP10SD under the Library CP81000.PSEGMENT.COBOL. You specify either Vertical Format(VFMT) or Horizontal Format(FMT) Browse Modes.


When you press Enter, to open the File, it shows up like this.


Here, the columns are arranged one besides the other vertically. To switch over to the Horizontal Format(FMT) Mode, enter the line command FMT. The columns are now stacked horizontally.


The SHOW Line-Command comes in quite handy, when browsing files. Take a look below.

SHOW OFFSET – Displays the offset(displacement) in Bytes for each column.


SHOW NUMBER – Displays the Column Number.


DISPLAY Command – When you want to display only selected columns and hide others, you can use the DISPLAY Command. For example, if I type display 3 4 10 11 13 14 28 57 58 ONLY, it will exclusively display only these columns.

Q. How to create a new Mainframe Dataset in File-Aid?
On the Mainframe, you use ISPF Menu Option 3.2, to allocate new datasets. Likewise in File-AID, you can used File-AID Menu 3.2, to create new Files. Enter the Dataset name for example, VS90626.TEST.FILE enclosed in single quotes. Enter the Command A to Allocate the Dataset.


On the next screen, enter the Memory Space Requirements. I want my Dataset to be Sequential PS Dataset, 10 Tracks large, with a Fixed Record Length of 80 Bytes. I want them to be grouped in bunches of 10 each, so the
Block-Size = 80 Bytes x 10 = 800 Bytes.


After keying in all the necessary Parameters, hit Enter to create the new Dataset.

To many people who are thrown to work at a mainframe computer on their first job, they feel lost. Mainframe people seem to speak a completely different language and that doesn't make life easy. What's more, the books and manuals are incredibly hard to comprehend.

"What on earth is a Mainframe?" is an absolute beginner's guide to mainframe computers. We'll introduce you to the hardware and peripherals. We'll talk about the operating system, the software installed on a mainframe. We'll also talk about the different people who work on a mainframe. In a nutshell, we'll de-mystify the mainframe.

Readers based in India, can buy the e-book for Rs. 50 only or the print book. International readers based in the US and other countries can click here to purchase the e-book.