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Harnessing the Power of Control Language Programming for IBM i

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Learn how to execute commands in batch using SBMJOB in this excerpt from the MC Press book Control Language Programming for IBM i.

Written by Jim Buck, Bryan Myers, and Dan Riehl

The SBMJOB (Submit Job) CL command lets you submit a batch job to a job queue. This command has many parameters, but in its simplest form it is expressed as follows:

 

SBMJOB CMD(CL-command)

 

Once you have submitted a batch job, you are allowed little or no interaction with the job. For example, a batch job normally does not display a screen on your workstation and wait for your input. You can, however, monitor the progress of your batch job using the WRKSBMJOB (Work with Submitted Jobs) command. Batch processing typically is used for long-running jobs that require no workstation input, such as those that produce printed reports or process many transactions. A batch job is entirely separate from the job that submitted it, with its own call stack and its own main storage requirements.

 

You usually submit a batch job from an interactive workstation. A main advantage of batch processing is that you can continue to do other work on your workstation without waiting for the batch job to finish. Unlike an interactive job, when a batch job is executing, it does not prevent you from using your workstation. Batch processing typically occurs at a lower priority than interactive processing, taking advantage of "lulls in the action" when the computer is not servicing higher-priority work, such as interactive workstation jobs. By running long processes in batch, you can improve overall system throughput and maintain faster interactive response times. Running long processes interactively at a high priority, on the other hand, drags down the interactive performance of the server and can affect every user on the system.

The CMD Parameter of the SBMJOB Command

Let's look at an example of the SBMJOB command:

 

SBMJOB CMD(DSPTAP DEV(TAP01) OUTPUT(*PRINT))

 

This example uses the DSPTAP (Display Tape) command to print a report of a tape's contents. Notice that the entire DSPTAP command, including all its parameters, is enclosed within the parentheses of the CMD parameter keyword. You may also have noticed that this command appears to break some of the rules you are used to for command parameters. At first glance, the value of the CMD parameter appears to be a character string, but it is not presented as a quoted string. Also, because the value is not a quoted string, you might think CL would interpret the values within the parentheses as a list of values instead of a single command.

 

The CMD parameter of the SBMJOB command is a special type of parameter, called a command string (*CMDSTR) parameter. The correct value for a *CMDSTR parameter is any valid CL command, but it cannot be enclosed in apostrophes ('). Because the system expects a CL command as the value for this parameter, it does not require, and will not allow, a quoted string. Instead, the system checks the command within the CMD parameter separately from the SBMJOB command to be sure the specified command is valid. When you key the SBMJOB command into a CL source member, you must be careful to match beginning and ending parentheses, both for command parameters within the CMD parameter value and to enclose the entire command string itself. This task can be particularly complex if you use keyword notation for the command within the CMD parameter, as we did in the example above. The CL compiler (as well as the editor's syntax-checking mechanisms) will reject unmatched parentheses.

 

A *CMDSTR type parameter also offers you "prompting within prompting" so that you can key the command string using the CL command prompter. When you type SBMJOB and then press F4=Prompt to invoke the CL prompter, you can position the cursor on the input line for the CMD parameter value and type a valid command. Then, if you press F4=Prompt again, the CL prompter is invoked a second time, this time for the CL command you typed on the input line. When you fill in the correct parameters for the prompted command, the correct command string is returned within the CMD parameter of the SBMJOB command.

 

What if you want to run a program rather than execute a CL command when you submit a batch job? That's easy to accomplish. On the SBMJOB command, simply specify the CALL command for the value of the CMD parameter:

 

SBMJOB CMD(CALL PGM(UPDCUST) +

PARM('UPDATE' 1357.92))

 

You might be wondering what a batch job's call stack looks like. Normally, when you use SBMJOB to submit a job for batch processing, the System i puts its own command request processing program, QCMD, at the top of the stack. After that, whatever programs are needed are included in the stack, following the customary logic used for program execution.

Other SBMJOB Parameters

The SBMJOB command offers many parameters to help you specify the environment in which you want a batch job to be executed, as well as the job's attributes. Under most circumstances, you will not need to specify these additional parameters, although you may find that using them can make your batch job easier to identify or help you customize the processing of a specific job. We look at only a few of these parameters in this text.

 

Job Definition Parameters for SBMJOB

 

The job definition parameters of the SBMJOB command help define the attributes of the submitted job and the job queue through which the job will be submitted. The JOB (Job name) parameter specifies the name of the job to be submitted; this parameter can help you to identify a batch job by name. You can type a simple job name in this parameter or use the default special value *JOBD to indicate that the name will come from the entry in the JOBD parameter.

 

SBMJOB uses the value of the JOBQ (Job queue) parameter to specify the name of the job queue to which the batch job will be submitted. You can type the qualified name of an existing job queue or accept the default special value *JOBD, indicating that you want the system to use the JOBQ associated with the job description in the JOBD parameter.

 

The JOBD (Job description) parameter identifies the job description that will be used for the batch job. This parameter's default value is *USRPRF (to use the job description specified in your user profile), but you can specify the qualified name of another job description, if necessary.

 

Library List Parameters for SBMJOB

 

The library list parameters of the SBMJOB command define the library list a batch job will use to find programs, files, or other objects.

 

The SYSLIBL (System library list) parameter determines which libraries will appear in the system portion of the library list for the batch job. You cannot specify individual library names for this parameter; you must use either the default special value *CURRENT or the other allowable special value, *SYSVAL. *CURRENT tells the system to use the submitting job's current system library list. *SYSVAL indicates that the batch job is to take its system library list from entries in system value QSYSLIBL.

 

The CURLIB (Current library) parameter lets you specify the current library for the batch job. You can specify the name of an existing library, leave the default value of *CURRENT (to use the submitting job's current library), or specify either of the additional special values: *USRPRF (use the current library indicated in your user profile) or *CRTDFT (use the system's default current library, QGPL, for newly created objects).

 

The INLLIBL (Initial library list) parameter lets you specify a list of libraries that will initially be in the user portion of the library list. This is the library list option that gives you the most flexibility in determining the library list. You can list up to 250 library names in this parameter, but you cannot duplicate a name that already appears in any other portion of the library list. You also can use any of the following special values: the default *CURRENT (use the submitting job's user library list), *JOBD (use the library list entries specified in the job description), *SYSVAL (use the library list entries specified in system value QUSRLIBL), or *NONE (the submitted job's user library list will be empty).

 

SBMJOB Output Parameters

 

You use the SBMJOB command's output parameters to determine which printer will be used for reports generated by the batch job. Usually, reports are not printed directly on the printer. Instead, they are stored on an output queue (an object used to hold reports until a printer has time to print them). Usually, the name of the output queue matches the name of the actual printer device.

 

The PRTDEV (Print device) parameter specifies the name of the default printer device for the batch job. You can supply the name of a printer device for this parameter or use any of the allowed special values: *CURRENT (the default) tells the batch job to use the same printer that the submitting job (usually your interactive job) is using; *USRPRF indicates that the batch job is to use the device named in your user profile; *SYSVAL uses the device named in system value QPRTDEV; and *JOBD specifies that the batch job should use the printer device named in the job description.

 

The OUTQ (Output queue) parameter specifies the qualified name of the output queue into which the batch job will place its reports. You can specify the qualified name of an actual output queue or use one of the following special values: *CURRENT (the default) uses the output queue associated with the submitting job; *USRPRF specifies that the batch job will use the output queue specified in your user profile; *DEV tells the batch job to use the output queue that is associated with the printer device named in the PRTDEV parameter; and *JOBD uses the output queue named in the job description.

 

Scheduling Parameters for SBMJOB

 

If you specify the value *YES for the SBMJOB command's HOLD (Hold on job queue) parameter, the batch job will be held on the job queue and will not be processed until someone (usually the system operator) releases it with the RLSJOB (Release Job) command. If you specify HOLD(*NO), the job will not be held on the job queue and will be processed when its turn comes up. You also can use the default HOLD(*JOBD) to indicate that the hold attribute of a job is to be taken from its job description.

 

The SCDDATE (Schedule date) and SCDTIME (Schedule time) parameters let you schedule a batch job to run on a specific date at a specific time. If you use the default values of SCDDATE(*CURRENT) and SCDTIME(*CURRENT), the job will be processed as soon as resources are available. In place of *CURRENT, you can specify a specific date and time for the job to run. For example, you could use the following command to submit a job to run on January 15, 2010, at 2:00 P.M.

 

SBMJOB CMD(CALL MYPGM) +

SCDDATE(011510) +

SCDTIME(140000)

 

Notice that the time is specified in 24-hour (military) format. It's also worth noting that the date must be in the same format as your job's date format. In the United States, this usually will be month/day/year format, but in other countries it may be different.

 

The SCDDATE parameter also allows some extra flexibility in scheduling. You can specify special values to run a job on a particular day (e.g., *SUN for Sunday, *MON for Monday, *TUE, *WED, *THU, *FRI, or *SAT). In addition, the special values *MONTHSTR and *MONTHEND let you specify that a job should run on the first or last day of the month, respectively. The system also considers the SCDTIME parameter value in determining the date on which to run the job. If, for example, it is Monday morning and you specify the following command, the job will run the same day.

 

SBMJOB CMD(CALL MYPGM) +

SCDDATE(*MON) +

SCDTIME(120100)

 

If, on the other hand, it is Monday evening and you enter this command, the job will run the following Monday because the scheduled time has passed.

The Self-Submitting Program

Submitting long-running jobs to batch enhances your computer's overall performance and should be encouraged wherever it is practical to do so. One way you can enforce the batch processing of a specific program is to have the program submit itself for batch processing. You can do this by taking advantage of one of the job's attributes, the job type, which indicates the environment in which the job is running: interactive or batch. It is possible to retrieve this information within a CL program using the RTVJOBA (Retrieve Job Attributes) command.

 

The following program illustrates a method of enforcing batch processing of a program.

 

MYPGM: PGM PARM(&mode &custnbr)

DCL &mode *CHAR 6

DCL &custnbr *DEC (15 5)

DCL &jobtype *CHAR 1

RTVJOBA TYPE(&jobtype)

IF (&jobtype = '1') DO

SBMJOB CMD(CALL PGM(MYPGM) +

PARM(&mode &custnbr))

RETURN

ENDDO

.

. /* (Continue processing) */

.

ENDPGM

 

This program, MYPGM, receives two parameters and declares a one-character variable called &jobtype, which will be used to store the job's environment (batch or interactive). The RTVJOBA command that follows the declaration of variables retrieves the job attribute TYPE. If the job is interactive, the TYPE attribute placed in the &jobtype variable will be a 1; if the job is running in batch, a 0 is placed in variable &jobtype.

 

Next, the program tests the value of variable &jobtype. If the variable has a value of '1', indicating that it is running interactively, the program executes a SBMJOB command. This command submits a job for batch processing that will CALL the same program and pass the same parameters; it then ends with a RETURN command. If, on the other hand, variable &jobtype has a value of '0', indicating the job already is running in batch, the program skips over the DO/ENDDO group and continues with its processing.

 

If you use this technique, the program will always do the bulk of its processing in batch, even if the user runs the program interactively with the CALL command:

 

CALL PGM(MYPGM) +

PARM('UPDATE' 1357.92)

 

Notice that even after the program executes the SBMJOB command, the program continues to execute. You could follow the SBMJOB command with a message to the user informing him or her that the job was submitted. Remember to follow the SBMJOB command with a RETURN command; otherwise, the program will continue to execute subsequent commands. The submitted job executes independently of the submitting (interactive) job.

 

This article is an excerpt from the MC Press book Control Language Programming for IBM i.

 

Jim Buck
Jim Buck's career in IT has spanned more than 35 years, primarily in the college education, manufacturing, and healthcare industries. Past president (13 years) of the Wisconsin Midrange Computer Professional Association, he has served on several teams developing IBM and COMMON certification tests. Jim has co-authored several IBM i textbooks with Bryan Meyers that are used by many companies and in colleges worldwide. Other accomplishments include: recipient of the 2007 IBM System i Innovation - Education Excellence Award, 2014 COMMON President's Award, and 2013/2016/2017 IBM Champion - Power Systems.

Jim is the president and founder of imPower Technologies, where he provides professional IBM i training and consulting services. He is active in the IBM i community, working to help companies train their employees in the latest IBM technologies and develop the next generation of IBM i professionals.

MC Press books written by Jim Buck available now on the MC Press Bookstore.

Control Language Programming for IBM i Control Language Programming for IBM i
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    Watch this recorded webinar with IBM i Chief Architect Steve Will and IBM Power Champion Tom Huntington to gain a unique perspective on the direction of this platform, including:

    • IBM i development strategies in progress at IBM
    • Ways that Watson will shake hands with IBM i
    • Key takeaways from the AS/400 days

     

  • Ask the RDi Experts

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericWatch this recording where Jim Buck, Susan Gantner, and Charlie Guarino answered your questions, including:

    • What are the “hidden gems” in RDi that can make me more productive?
    • What makes RDi Debug better than the STRDBG green screen debugger?
    • How can RDi help me find out if I’ve tested all lines of a program?
    • What’s the best way to transition from PDM to RDi?
    • How do I convince my long-term developers to use RDi?

    This is a unique, online opportunity to hear how you can get more out of RDi.

     

  • Node.js on IBM i Webinar Series Pt. 2: Setting Up Your Development Tools

    Profound Logic Software, Inc.Have you been wondering about Node.js? Our free Node.js Webinar Series takes you from total beginner to creating a fully-functional IBM i Node.js business application. In Part 2, Brian May teaches you the different tooling options available for writing code, debugging, and using Git for version control. Attend this webinar to learn:

    • Different tools to develop Node.js applications on IBM i
    • Debugging Node.js
    • The basics of Git and tools to help those new to it
    • Using NodeRun.com as a pre-built development environment

     

     

  • Inside the Integrated File System (IFS)

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericDuring this webinar, you’ll learn basic tips, helpful tools, and integrated file system commands—including WRKLNK—for managing your IFS directories and Access Client Solutions (ACS). We’ll answer your most pressing IFS questions, including:

    • What is stored inside my IFS directories?
    • How do I monitor the IFS?
    • How do I replicate the IFS or back it up?
    • How do I secure the IFS?

    Understanding what the integrated file system is and how to work with it must be a critical part of your systems management plans for IBM i.

     

  • Expert Tips for IBM i Security: Beyond the Basics

    SB PowerTech WC GenericIn this session, IBM i security expert Robin Tatam provides a quick recap of IBM i security basics and guides you through some advanced cybersecurity techniques that can help you take data protection to the next level. Robin will cover:

    • Reducing the risk posed by special authorities
    • Establishing object-level security
    • Overseeing user actions and data access

    Don't miss this chance to take your knowledge of IBM i security beyond the basics.

     

     

  • 5 IBM i Security Quick Wins

    SB PowerTech WC GenericIn today’s threat landscape, upper management is laser-focused on cybersecurity. You need to make progress in securing your systems—and make it fast.
    There’s no shortage of actions you could take, but what tactics will actually deliver the results you need? And how can you find a security strategy that fits your budget and time constraints?
    Join top IBM i security expert Robin Tatam as he outlines the five fastest and most impactful changes you can make to strengthen IBM i security this year.
    Your system didn’t become unsecure overnight and you won’t be able to turn it around overnight either. But quick wins are possible with IBM i security, and Robin Tatam will show you how to achieve them.

  • How to Meet the Newest Encryption Requirements on IBM i

    SB PowerTech WC GenericA growing number of compliance mandates require sensitive data to be encrypted. But what kind of encryption solution will satisfy an auditor and how can you implement encryption on IBM i? Watch this on-demand webinar to find out how to meet today’s most common encryption requirements on IBM i. You’ll also learn:

    • Why disk encryption isn’t enough
    • What sets strong encryption apart from other solutions
    • Important considerations before implementing encryption

     

     

  • Security Bulletin: Malware Infection Discovered on IBM i Server!

    SB PowerTech WC GenericMalicious programs can bring entire businesses to their knees—and IBM i shops are not immune. It’s critical to grasp the true impact malware can have on IBM i and the network that connects to it. Attend this webinar to gain a thorough understanding of the relationships between:

    • Viruses, native objects, and the integrated file system (IFS)
    • Power Systems and Windows-based viruses and malware
    • PC-based anti-virus scanning versus native IBM i scanning

    There are a number of ways you can minimize your exposure to viruses. IBM i security expert Sandi Moore explains the facts, including how to ensure you're fully protected and compliant with regulations such as PCI.

     

     

  • Fight Cyber Threats with IBM i Encryption

    SB PowerTech WC GenericCyber attacks often target mission-critical servers, and those attack strategies are constantly changing. To stay on top of these threats, your cybersecurity strategies must evolve, too. In this session, IBM i security expert Robin Tatam provides a quick recap of IBM i security basics and guides you through some advanced cybersecurity techniques that can help you take data protection to the next level. Robin will cover:

    • Reducing the risk posed by special authorities
    • Establishing object-level security
    • Overseeing user actions and data access

     

     

     

  • 10 Practical IBM i Security Tips for Surviving Covid-19 and Working From Home

    SB PowerTech WC GenericNow that many organizations have moved to a work from home model, security concerns have risen.

    During this session Carol Woodbury will discuss the issues that the world is currently seeing such as increased malware attacks and then provide practical actions you can take to both monitor and protect your IBM i during this challenging time.

     

  • How to Transfer IBM i Data to Microsoft Excel

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_Generic3 easy ways to get IBM i data into Excel every time
    There’s an easy, more reliable way to import your IBM i data to Excel? It’s called Sequel. During this webinar, our data access experts demonstrate how you can simplify the process of getting data from multiple sources—including Db2 for i—into Excel. Watch to learn how to:

    • Download your IBM i data to Excel in a single step
    • Deliver data to business users in Excel via email or a scheduled job
    • Access IBM i data directly using the Excel add-in in Sequel

    Make 2020 the year you finally see your data clearly, quickly, and securely. Start by giving business users the ability to access crucial business data from IBM i the way they want it—in Microsoft Excel.

     

     

  • HA Alternatives: MIMIX Is Not Your Only Option on IBM i

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericIn this recorded webinar, our experts introduce you to the new HA transition technology available with our Robot HA software. You’ll learn how to:

    • Transition your rules from MIMIX (if you’re happy with them)
    • Simplify your day-to-day activities around high availability
    • Gain back time in your work week
    • Make your CEO happy about reducing IT costs

    Don’t stick with a legacy high availability solution that makes you uncomfortable when transitioning to something better can be simple, safe, and cost-effective.

     

     

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  • Backup and Recovery on IBM i: Your Strategy for the Unexpected

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413Robot automates the routine tasks of iSeries backup and recovery, saving you time and money and making the process safer and more reliable. Automate your backups with the Robot Backup and Recovery Solution. Key features include:
    - Simplified backup procedures
    - Easy data encryption
    - Save media management
    - Guided restoration
    - Seamless product integration
    Make sure your data survives when catastrophe hits. Try the Robot Backup and Recovery Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • Manage IBM i Messages by Exception with Robot

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413Managing messages on your IBM i can be more than a full-time job if you have to do it manually. How can you be sure you won’t miss important system events?
    Automate your message center with the Robot Message Management Solution. Key features include:
    - Automated message management
    - Tailored notifications and automatic escalation
    - System-wide control of your IBM i partitions
    - Two-way system notifications from your mobile device
    - Seamless product integration
    Try the Robot Message Management Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • Easiest Way to Save Money? Stop Printing IBM i Reports

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413Robot automates report bursting, distribution, bundling, and archiving, and offers secure, selective online report viewing.
    Manage your reports with the Robot Report Management Solution. Key features include:

    - Automated report distribution
    - View online without delay
    - Browser interface to make notes
    - Custom retention capabilities
    - Seamless product integration
    Rerun another report? Never again. Try the Robot Report Management Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • Hassle-Free IBM i Operations around the Clock

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413For over 30 years, Robot has been a leader in systems management for IBM i.
    Manage your job schedule with the Robot Job Scheduling Solution. Key features include:
    - Automated batch, interactive, and cross-platform scheduling
    - Event-driven dependency processing
    - Centralized monitoring and reporting
    - Audit log and ready-to-use reports
    - Seamless product integration
    Scale your software, not your staff. Try the Robot Job Scheduling Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • ACO MONITOR Manages your IBM i 24/7 and Notifies You When Your IBM i Needs Assistance!

    SB DDL Systems 5429More than a paging system - ACO MONITOR is a complete systems management solution for your Power Systems running IBM i. ACO MONITOR manages your Power System 24/7, uses advanced technology (like two-way messaging) to notify on-duty support personnel, and responds to complex problems before they reach critical status.

    ACO MONITOR is proven technology and is capable of processing thousands of mission-critical events daily. The software is pre-configured, easy to install, scalable, and greatly improves data center efficiency.