Mainframes 360
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Saturday, October 30, 2010

TSO/ISPF Commands

Q. What is the ISPF Text-Editor?
The ISPF Text-Editor is the free IBM Software, used to enter and store data in Mainframe Files. The ISPF Text-Editor is a power-packed word-processor with a plethora of advanced features, that save several key-strokes and time. Although there are other proprietary products such as File-Aid, ISPF Text-Editor is free, light-weight software.

ISPF Text-Editor supports Primary-Commands and In-line Commands. Primary-Commands are global, and affect the entire data-set such as FIND, CHANGE, SAVE, REPL, UNDO etc. You enter Primary-Commands on the command-line. Take a sneak-peek below, at how I entered the SAVE Primary-Command.


Line Commands apply to the current-line or Block-of-lines. You position the cursor against a Line as shown in the glimpse below, type a Line-Command like I, R, M, C, D, ( etc. and press <Enter>. Check-out, how I entered  I-Insert Command against the second-line.

Q. What Line-Commands can I enter in the ISPF Text-Editor?
If you are a Windows or Linux user, beware! There are differences between ISPF Text-Editor and its counterparts – Notepad, vi, e-macs etc. Unlike other word-processors, ISPF Text-editor doesn’t allow you to type continuous-text, which will auto-flow on to the next-line. If you want to type some more text on the Next-line, you must first insert a new blank-line manually. That's why you’ve got a whole bunch of Line-Commands. Life ain't easy on Mainframes.

You can use the following Line-Commands in the ISPF Text-Editor :
I – To insert a Blank new-line underneath(the current-line).
D – To delete the current-line.
M – To move/shift the current-line from one position to another(This is also called Cut-Paste)
C – To create a second-copy of the current-line(This is also called Copy-paste)
R – To replicate the current-line.

This short animated-clip demonstrates how to use Insert Line-Command to insert new lines.

Inserting Lines 
The next video-snip shows, how lines-of-text can be deleted, and removed using the Delete(D) Line-Command.

Deleting Lines

The Move(M) and Copy(C) Commands are the most useful commands from the lot. Accompanied with Move and Copy, you also need to tell, the position or destination, where the Line is to be Moved-to or Copied-to. Use a second-command to tell where to place the line-of-text – Before(B) or After(A) a destination line-no.

Moving and Copying Lines

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.

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